Thursday, January 30, 2014

Yogurt Pot Bird Feeders

This cold weather is the perfect time to feed the birds, they are all hungry and food is scarce. One of the kids favorite 'crafts' is to create different types of bird feeders and set them out on the trees and bushes around our house so we can watch the birds that visit them. It is such a great activity for getting children interested in the nature around them and the best bit is you don't need a huge yard, we used to make these when we lived in Brooklyn and hang them on our fire escape it was always amazing to see how many different birds would come.

We usually use a bird seed that I buy from the pet store but if you have none of that at hand we have also used dried fruits, seeds, nuts and popcorn. We mix all the dry ingredients with some vegetable fat or peanut butter or both to help them stick together, depending on the type of feeder we either melt the fat first or spread it on.

Todays bird feeder we made using old yogurt pots so for this we required 'bird cake' my kids love anything with the word cake in it, I've even called quiche egg cake before now to get them to eat it!




You will need:

Bird seed
Dried fruits
Nuts - non roasted or salted (if you have them)
Vegetable fat (could use unsalted peanut butter)
String
Yogurt container
Popsicle stick, wooden skewer or even a twig from the garden


Step 1

I began by tying a length of string to the stick for each child. Then because they all wanted to help make the cake and I worry about 4 children fighting over the hob I melted about 1/2 cup of fat in the microwave.

I then had the children add the dry ingredients to a bowl. We threw in a handful of raisins, a hand full of unpopped corn and the birdseed. You really can use up anything you think the birds might eat, we have used old breadcrumbs, almonds, cranberries etc.


At this point I poured in the warm melted fat and let them stir. This is always D's favorite part, and we always end up with a lot of seed out of the bowl. You might need to add more seed or fat to get it all evenly coated without being too wet. Once it is all sticky your 'cake' is ready.



Step 2

While they are busy mixing (and it can never be too mixed) I pierced the bottom of each yogurt cup and threaded the end of the string through it. When you hold the string the cup will sit upside down on the stick.


Step 3

The kids all wanted to add 'bonus' raisins to their tubs at this point.


We then packed down the seed mixture into the yogurt containers with a spoon. It needs to be pressed down firmly.



Once its packed down you can pull the string from underneath the yogurt pot so that the stick sits neatly across the top.


Now place the yogurt pot in the freezer to harden, we put ours outside as its so cold.

Step 4

Once the ingredients have had time to harden - it doesn't take long you just want the fat to solidify again, you can remove the plastic yogurt pot and hang from a tree







Now sit back and help your children spot what sort of birds visit. You might even find you get more than birds it looks so good!





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