We're all about making the most of any outdoor space you've got at home and have plenty of ideas of different things you can do in your garden. One DIY project that works brilliantly no matter how much outdoor space you have is bird feeders! Whether you just have a windowsill or a lawn and some trees, they're a great way to get a bit closer to nature and interact with wildlife. Bird feeders are easy and cheap to make, perfect for spring and a chance to teach your kids a bit about our flying friends. These feeders all use standard birdseed but if you can't find any, a mixture of any seeds, small nuts, oats, breadcrumbs, currants and raisins will work just as well.
Wooden Spoon Feeder
You'll need: A large plastic bottle, a wooden spoon, bird seeds, string
Make a hole about the size of your wooden spoon handle in one side of the bottle and another directly opposite but slightly lower down and slightly bigger. Poke the wooden spoon through the holes, making sure the end with the spoon on is coming out of the lower hole. This is so the birdseed can trickle out of the hole and onto the spoon. If your bottle is big enough feel free to poke a few spoons through it. Get the kids to help you fill the bottle with birdseed and put the lid back on. Tie some string around the bottleneck and use the other end to tie it to a tree or just rest it on a window sill. This DIY bottle bird feeder is a great one to watch the birds enjoy as they should rest on the end of the spoon!
You'll need: An apple, two short sticks, seeds, string
The first thing to do is core the apple, without cutting it into pieces, so you get a hole in the middle. Make an X shape with your sticks and tie the string to them, thread the string through the hole in the apple so it sits on top of the X. Now your child can press the seeds into the apple skin until it's covered and ready to hang in the garden.
You'll need: Washed out old tins or paint cans, paint, sticks, sellotape, string
Once your tins are rinsed out and clean, it might be a good idea to stick some sellotape over any sharp edges. If you want to, now is the time to paint your tins! Once they're dry, use the sellotape to attach the stick to the inside of the tin, you want it to stick out so the birds can use it to perch on. Tie the string around the tin so it'll hang horizontally, fill it with seeds and attach it to a branch.
You'll need: Pinecones, string, peanut butter, bird seeds
One of the easiest and most straightforward bird feeders to make is just by using a pinecone! Collect a few on your daily walk and if they need it, give them a quick rinse when you get home. Cut your string to about 30cm and tie one end to the top part of the pine cone. Using a spatula, spread the peanut butter all over the pinecone, a little goes a long way with this and it can get pretty sticky. Pour some birdseed into a bowl big enough to fit the pinecone in and roll it in the seeds. Make sure it's well covered by sprinkling a few more seeds directly on. Once your pinecones have dried slightly, use the other end of the string to tie them to some branches in your garden.
Toilet Roll Tubes
You'll need: Toilet roll tubes, peanut butter, bird seeds
These DIY feeders are really similar to the pinecones, just cover the outside in the nutty spread, roll it in bird seeds and pop the tube on the end of a branch.
You'll need: An orange, string, bird seeds
Next time you have an orange, slice it in half and take out the fruit. Make a small hole either side of the skin to tie a loop of string around. You want the inside of the orange skin to be facing up like a little basin. Hang the loop over the end of a tree branch and fill it with birdseed. These feeders are a great option, they're really easy, you get two per orange and they smell lovely!
You'll need: Egg carton, bird seeds, string
This DIY feeder works very similarly to the orange cup. Simply cut your egg carton in half and make a hole in each corner. Tie some string through opposite corners so you end up with two loops over the carton that you can use to hook it onto a tree. Once it's on a tree branch, fill the egg cups with seeds and you're all done.
You'll need: Bagels, peanut butter, bird seeds, string
Use up any old bagels by giving them to the birds! Making bird feeders can be so simple and these are a prime example. Just like the pinecones, spread some peanut butter all over the outside of the bagel, cover it in seeds, loop some string through the middle and you're done!
You'll need: Lard, bird seeds, baking tray, biscuit cutters, a baking tray, straws, string
Melt down your lard and mix it in with the bird seeds, a ratio of two parts dry mix to one part fat tends to work best but it's easy to adjust as you go. Let the mixture cool a bit then the kids can choose their favourite biscuit cutter shapes and line them out on a tray. You can also use this time to cut the straws up, you want each piece of straw to be a bit thicker than the depth of the biscuit shapes. Fill the shapes with the bird feed mix and poke a straw through each one, towards the top in the centre tends to work best. Store them in the fridge to set for a few hours then carefully take them off the tray and remove the biscuit cutters. Now you can easily thread the string through the straw and hang them in prime position, these bird feeders make great garden decorations too.
You'll need: Kebab sticks, cheerios, apples, grapes, raisins, string
This feeder is one of the easiest ideas but great fun to make. Create something tasty for the birds by feeding cheerios, fruit and raisins onto a kebab stick. It's best to start with a raisin to stop it all sliding off the bottom of the stick. When you're done, get some string to tie to either end and hang it from a tree.
Bottle Bird Feeder
You'll need: Plastic bottle or milk carton, bird seeds, string
Cut a hole big enough for small birds to get through about halfway up your bottle. Poke some small holes in the bottom to allow any water to drain out. Fill the bottle with seeds to just below the bird hole, pop the lid back on and use some string to tie it to a tree.
You'll need: Old crockery (teacups, mugs, teapots), lard, bird seeds, string
This is one of the most creative and easiest ideas, it's perfect if you have any old crockery. Melt the lard and mix it in with the bird seeds just like with the hanging shapes. Pour the mix into your old teacup or teapot and leave it to set. Tie some string around the handle and use it to hang it from a tree, lots of these hanging from the same tree look really pretty.
If your kids have loved getting creative with nature then you should definitely try these easy ways to press flowers!
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