5 Outdoor Craft Ideas for Kids


Bird Feeders

Rolling a sticky bird feeder in seed can be messy, so make sure you have an appropriate work area. ©iStockphoto/Thinkstock
Rolling a sticky bird feeder in seed can be messy, so make sure you have an appropriate work area. ŠiStockphoto/Thinkstock

Making bird feeders is part craft and part nature show, and they only require simple household items plus seed or other edibles.

One of the easiest bird feeder crafts is smearing a cardboard core from a toilet paper roll with peanut butter or honey, rolling it in birdseed and hanging it on a branch. Another basic method is to take a pinecone, spread peanut butter into the crevices, sprinkle it with (or roll it in) seed, tie a string around it and hang it. Shortening, lard or suet can be used in place of peanut butter, especially if anyone doing the craft has a peanut allergy. You can also mix in other food items such as oatmeal, corn meal, millet, dried fruit, chopped nuts and sunflower seeds.

Another fun type is a cookie-cutter bird feeder. Make unflavored gelatin according to the packet directions, let it cool briefly, and then mix in birdseed. Pour or push the mixture into cookie cutters, jar tops or other shallow, suitably shaped molds, and either insert some knotted string or a cylindrical object like a straw to make a hole before they harden. You can hang them outside the next day when they are solid.

If you or the kids want to do heavier construction, you can make bird feeders out of soda bottles or milk or juice cartons. Cut small holes through both sides near the bottom of the desired container and poke a dowel, stick, wooden spoon or other sturdy perch through both holes. Then cut larger openings above the perch so that the birds can get to the food. Add birdseed and suspend it with string, fishing line or wire. A simpler alternative is to take an egg carton, remove the top, run string through each of the four corners of the carton bottom and fill the egg divots with birdseed. For added enjoyment, you can let the kids decorate the feeder with paint, construction paper or other crafting materials.

Birds will also eat other grainy foods like breads and cereal. You can string an "O" shaped cereal onto string, yarn or pipe cleaners, tie the ends and hang it, or fill your egg carton or other feeder with cereal. You can also coat a bagel with a sticky substance like shortening or lard and coat it with birdseed, or use cookie cutters to simply cut bread into shapes, poke a string through and hang it out all by itself.

To prevent squirrels from hijacking your handiwork, you might want to use enough line to make sure the bird feeder isn't too close to a branch. But once your feeder is fastened outside, just wait and watch as nature's feathered friends show up to feast.