Kid's Activity: Let's Make Bird Houses and Feeders!

by Carol Jordan

Bird and gardens belong together! Not only are the little feathered fellows interesting to watch and lovely to hear, but they help to control many insect with a taste for your vegetables and flowers. Attract birds with your own birdfeeders and homes! These simple to make bird feeders and homes will be the source of enjoyment for months as you and your children delight over the little friends who visit!

Bird House 1
Simple enough for older children. Younger will require help with hot glue gun.

Materials:

  • Scissors
  • Clean coffee can with lid
  • Hanner
  • 1 large nail
  • Wire clothes hanger
  • Hot glue gun
  • Small twigs (longer than the coffee can is tall)

Directions:

  • Cut a hole in the lid of the coffee can approximately 2 inches in diameter and near the edge
  • Using hammer and nail punch a hole in the bottom of the coffee can near the edge
  • Place the lid on the can lining up the hole in the lid with the hole in the can
  • Thread the hanger through the holes in the lid and the can; bend the ends and twist together so that a "loop" is formed that will fit over the branch of a tree allowing the can to hang down.
  • Use hot glue gun to attach twigs to the can lengthwise so that the entire can is covered
  • Hang from your favorite tree!

Bird House 2
Adult help required; it takes a while to make, but can be used year after year.

Materials:

  • 1 large dried gourd
  • Bleach / water solution
  • Drill with small bit
  • Sharp knife (craft knife will work)
  • Paraffin wax
  • Large pot on the stove
  • Wire clothing hanger

Directions:

  • Using the drill carefully make 3 small holes in the bottom of the gourd (this will allow water to drain when it rains) and 2 small holes parallel to each other in the top of the gourd
  • Using the sharp knife cut a small hole (bout 2 inches in diameter) in one side of the gourd
  • Wash and clean the gourd using the beach/water solution and allow it to dry overnight
  • Melt the paraffin wax in a large pot on the stove and completely submerge the gourd into the wax then lift out and pour back all excess wax allowing the excess to drip off; lay the gourd out to dry overnight
  • Thread the wire hanger through the holes in the top of the gourd to create a hanger for your bird house.

If you wanted, you could use outdoor paint to decorate the gourds before dipping in the wax to create a colorful design on your birdhouse.

My father has been growing his own gourds for years and makes these simple bird houses annually. They hang all over his farm and attract a wonderful variety of birds -- blue birds, cardinals, purple martins to name a few. Each fall he takes the gourds down and cleans them out, then dips them again in the wax. The wax helps to kill any germs that might be living in the house so that the birds will not get sick; it also helps the gourds to last longer since they are in the weather constantly.

Bird Feeder 1
Lay slices of bread out overnight so that they harden slightly. Spread bread slices with peanut butter on one side and then dip in birdseed so that seed sticks to the peanut butter. Thread string through the bread slice and hang from a tree.

Bird Feeder 2
Spread a pinecone with peanut butter and then roll in birdseed. Tie a string around the top of the pinecone and hang from a tree branch.

Bird Feeder 3
Punch two parallel holes in the sides of a plastic (not styrofoam) cup near the bottom and thread a string through the holes tying them together to create a loop from which to hang the cup. Spread the plastic cup with peanut butter and then roll in birdseed; hang from a tree branch.

Bird Feeder 4
Punch two parallel holes in a plastic (not styrofoam) cup near the top of the cup and thread a string through the holes. Tie ends together to create a loop from which to hang the cup. Fill the cup with birdseed and hang from a tree branch.