How to Make Bird Feeders for Kids

How to Make Bird Feeders for Kids
Let nature draw your children away from the television and back into the pleasure of quiet enjoyments. Bird watching is one of the best ways to get kids interested in nature because of the color and variety of birds which can be attracted to their own back yard.

Offering feed for birds can encourage them to come close enough and remain long enough to allow your family time to identify each species, take photos or make a sketch. Observation can teach children about aspects of bird behavior. Kids may even want to get an early start on a life list.


Difficulty: Moderately Easy

Simple Feeder

Things You’ll Need:
  • Pine cones String Scissors Several sheets of newspaper Spoon or butter knife Nut butter Birdseed mix Aluminum pie pan Milk cartons Ice pick 4-inch stick, pencil width
  • Pine cones
  • String
  • Scissors
  • Several sheets of newspaper
  • Spoon or butter knife
  • Nut butter
  • Birdseed mix
  • Aluminum pie pan
  • Milk cartons
  • Ice pick
  • 4-inch stick, pencil width
Step 1
Pine cone feeders are the simplest feeders, appropriate for any age. Have your children take a nature walk to gather pine cones. Look for cones that have opened to release their seeds and which are at least two inches across. Larger cones are easier for smaller hands to work with.
Step 2
Cut 6-inch pieces of string, one per cone. Tie the string around the cone (top or bottom) and then tie a knot in the top, forming a loop. Parents may need to tie the strings for younger children.
Step 3
Spread a layer of newspaper to catch smears and for simple cleanup after your project. Have the children generously spread nut butter onto the surface of the pine cone.
Step 4
Fill the aluminum pan about half way with seed mixture. Roll the cones in the seed until they are coated evenly on all sides.
Step 5
Take the cones outside and hang them in a tree or along a deck or porch near a window. Choose a location where kids can sit and watch comfortably, one with a small workspace if they intend to sketch, research or take notes as they watch.

Carton Feeders

Step 1
Wash and rinse an empty milk carton (or similar carton). A larger size may be easier for smaller children to handle.
Step 2
Cut wide holes in the sides of the carton to allow birds to enter the feeder. You may cut any number of sides. Leave one-fourth to one-half inch around the upright corner edges for added strength.
Step 3
Make a wide hole underneath the seam at the top of the carton using the ice pick. Poke several small holes in the bottom of the carton to allow water to drain away.

Cut a 6-inch length of string. You may either run the string through the hole by itself and knot the top to form a loop or insert a stick into the hole and tie the string to each end of the stick to hang the feeder.
Step 4
Add seed to the bottom of the carton. If you made cone feeders, you could use the remainder of the seed from that project to fill your carton.
Step 5
Hang the feeder outside. Try to choose a location out of reach of cats or dogs. Add different types of nuts and seeds to the feeder and see what new birds you attract.

Tips & Warnings

If peanut allergies are an issue, substitute another nut butter.

Article Written By Alice Moon

Alice Moon is a freelance writer with more than 10 years of experience. She was chosen as a Smithsonian Institute intern, working for the National Zoo in Washington, D.C., and has traveled throughout Asia. Moon holds a Bachelor of Science in political science from Ball State University.

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