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Thursday, June 9, 2011

Kids Crafts: Pine cone bird feeder

For awhile now I've wanted to shift my focus somewhat - stop blathering on about my medical issues or birth for just a second and do something new. I originally wanted to do a series of posts on fun kids' projects, for a few reasons: namely, to get me off my butt and do something extra-specially fun with my daughter on her days off from school, and as a way to share ideas on my blog. Neither happened, sadly. LOL Series posts are great, but I am extremely ADD when it comes to sticking with a blog subject, it seems. But it did make me think - while we do spend fun time together, what else could I be doing with her and my other children?

I came across this idea a few weeks ago when I was looking for Sunday School crafts. I thought to myself, doing this stuff with the church kids rocks - why the heck aren't I doing it with my own?! While I have no idea now where I got it from, a simple Google search will probably come up with a lot.

So. Here we go.

If you have a pine tree, have one of the kids go out and collect the pine cones. While I haven't seen any in craft stores lately, (I haven't exactly looked, since we have plenty of pine trees) I'm sure they have great ones. (I do have some nice ones, but they're heavily cinnamon-scented, and I wasn't sure if the birds would dig that.) Also, some varieties produce bigger ones than others - my in-laws have some Chinese/Japanese pine something or other that produces awesome cones, but of course we forgot to collect them when we visited.

I don't know about yours, but mine got quite a sense of accomplishment during this part of the project.

Wrap a length of twine around the bottom of the pine cone and tie a double knot. Then make another slipknot to hang on to it by.

Next, take some peanut butter - I bought generic store brand - and really slather it on there. It's going to get messy, so maybe wear old clothes. It's been my experience that, at least with fabric like carpeting and sofas, peanut butter stains. Really lay it on pretty thick, and smoosh the peanut butter into the nooks and crannies.

Label warning: Peanut butter
contains peanuts, just so you know. 
Dip your pine cones into a Zip-loc container full of bird seed. When I was planning for this craft, I called up my fellow Sunday School teacher in a panic, because I didn't want to buy 800 pounds of expensive bird seed. Her solution: go to the grocery store and buy it in bulk. Duh. Much cheaper, and you only get what you need for the project. Unless you have a feeder and want that much, that is.

I mixed several kinds to get a nice variety - sort of like granola for birds. It was awesome.

After coating the pine cones with seeds, you are ready to hang it up or put it some place and watch the birds to see if they take notice. Of course, my husband asked, "How are they going to get to it?" when he saw how my daughter hung one up from an old post we have in our back yard.

I don't know - I'll let them figure that out.


Sara Savel said...

just saw found your blog via "Small Bird on Fire." Love this craft! Nice and simple. Perfect for our little two year old. Thanks for sharing. Your blog looks really interesting.
Hope you can check mine out sometime! -Sara

Nantucket Mermaid said...

Thanks for putting my blog in your craft link! I'll whip up a project for kids and link you back...:)----< Have a great weekend!

The Deranged Housewife said...

nantucket mermaid, I really must confess - I love your stuff but totally need more mojo when it comes to crafting! I think I found you some time ago when I was googling for Shrinky Dink crafts - I had a craft blog going and just haven't done much :( so am not sure if I want to integrate the two or leave them as separate (I'm totally anal that way LOL). Thanks for the shout-out!

Sarah, we've noticed the birds DO like these, once they get used to something new being around. One set of pine cones is completely bare now - they ate everything!