Maker Monday: Kids can make a pinecone bird feeder
As many of our feathered friends head south, it’s a great time to consider feeding birds who stay with us all winter long. This week’s Maker Monday — a pine cone Birdfeeder — is a simple activity that will provide lots of opportunities for lessons in natural science.
As birds come to feed, you can identify them through the Audubon Society’s Guide to North American Birds or download the Audubon Bird Guide app. Keep a journal handy to track the kind of birds who visit your feeder. And watch for creatures like squirrels who might like to steal the food for themselves. They can be pretty tricky!
You can make several pinecone bird feeders, then experiment with where to hang them. Do they attract more birds under cover of pine branches? Or do birds prefer feeding out in the open? A pan of water might be an attraction, too.
It’s amazing what kids can discover once they’ve created a few pinecone bird feeders and hung them outside.
As with all Maker Monday projects, kids can do this with items you may have around the house or can pick up at a dollar store or grocery store. Just follow the step-by-step instructions below.
A note to kid makers: Please work with a parent or caregiver on Maker Monday projects. Though this project doesn’t involve any tools (unless you need to cut your string or ribbon to the proper length), but it’s always good to have grownups check in to make sure you’re working safely.
Maker Monday materials:
- a few pine cones collected from outside (Try to choose pinecones with a bit of space between the scales, or “petals.” If your pine cones are tightly closed, place them in a 300-degree oven for about 10 minutes to open them up.)
- 1/2 cup of peanut butter
- 1/2 cup of oatmeal or cornmeal
- wild birdseed
- string or ribbon
Step 1: Mix 1/2 cup peanut butter with 1/2 cup oatmeal or cornmeal.
Step 2: Tie a length of string or ribbon just below the top two or three scales of the pinecone. You’ll want to have enough string or ribbon to hang the bird feeder so it dangles from a tree branch.
Step 3: Push the peanut butter mixture in between the pine cone scales. Your pinecone should be mostly coated with the mixture.
Step 4: Pour your birdseed into a shallow pan. Then roll the pinecone in the birdseed until it is completely covered.
Step 5: Take your pinecone outside and tie it onto a tree branch or shrub. If you can, choose a spot near a window so you can watch the progress of the birds who arrive to have a meal.
Want more at-home fun creating cool (and delicious!) stuff and making beautiful things? Check out more Maker Monday projects right here. Do you have an idea for a Maker Monday craft project? If so, please share it with Kidsburgh! Send your maker activity ideas to email@example.com.