I’ve seen this milk carton bird feeder a million times in a million different places, but I never really thought about doing it here until today.
This afternoon, I had three antsy, didn’t-want-to-be-stuck-inside kiddos and a loaf of stale bread. I mean really, really stale, thanks to me forgetting that we had it until I saw it today on the shelf.
So rather than throw the huge bowling ball loaf in the trash, I thought we could treat our backyard birds to a Happy Holidays feast. And we just happened to have an empty gallon of milk in the recycling bin that we could use to make our birds even happier.
- Happy Backyard Birds: I grabbed the loaf (thanks to Aunt Jenny bringing crazy amounts of bread to our Christmas lunch), and I pulled out directions for the milk jug bird feeder that I found a few months back.
Maddy, Owen, and Cora resumed their spots at the counter, like they do for any and all of our crazy-craft ideas, and I gave everyone a job: Owen and Cora ripped up one chunk of bread, and Maddy pulled the center out of the huge, stale loaf.Maddy explains that Pick-Up Sticks are the perfect things to use
for the bird feeder. What a smartie!
With the loaf, we just cleared out the center, threw in some peanut butter, then added bread pieces and seeds in the center. We scattered the extra bread around on the tray, and we were finished! On to the bird feeder. . .
While they worked, I assembled the parts we’d need for the bird feeder. Once I had the gallon container, rope, and scissors, I got stuck on the ‘two long sticks’ part. Hmmmmm, what on earth can we use for the sticks? I have no idea.
Maddy immediately shouted, I know! Pick-Up Sticks! The new ones!
How perfect!? And that’s what we used–two wooden Pick-Up Sticks.
The assembly of the bird feeder was pretty simple. First, I cut large holes in two sides of the jug so that the birds could sneak inside for seeds. Then I made small holes on each side of the carton, about an inch from the bottom. I criss-crossed the Pick-Up Sticks through each hole. Now they had a place to stand.
Finally, I made four tiny holes in the top of the container, about an inch from the top, threaded the rope through, and tied it tightly.
Maddy, Owen, and Cora took turns filling up the bottom of the container with seeds, and we were finished. We put the seedy-loaf out back on a small table for the birds and squirrels, and we hung the bird feeder from our plant hanger in the front yard.
And then we waited. . .
And before we knew it, our way-too-bold squirrels were feasting–only a few feet from our door! I think it was just cool for the kiddos to feel like they prepared–and served–a special treat for our backyard friends.
Thanks to Your Big Backyard Magazine for the inspiration for this little crafty-craft, and specifically, thanks to the National Wildlife Federation’s insert in the magazine that contained the instructions for the activity.
Consider checking out The Green Hour’s site; it’s packed full of some really cool ideas for outdoor crafts and activities with little ones, but most importantly, I find their mission to be totally awesome. Because “we are raising the first generation of Americans to grow up disconnected from nature,” the NWF’s Green Hour campaign is to give children free, unstructured time for outdoor play each day.
The National Wildlife Federation recommends that parents give their kids a “Green Hour” every day, a time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world. This can take place in a garden, a backyard, the park down the street, or any place that provides safe and accessible green spaces where children can learn and play.
Most importantly, by giving our children a “Green Hour” a day — a bit of time for unstructured play and interaction with the natural world — we can set them on the path toward physical, mental, and emotional well-being. And at GREENHOUR.ORG, you’ll find inspiration and ideas to do just that. Each week we publish a fresh issue full of activities and information to help guide the exploration and focus on fun.
Green Hour is a program of the National Wildlife Federation.
I love it–and even though I am an advocate for a little bit of secret learning through play each day, I think children most certainly do need unstructured, outdoor play time each day, too–any time of the year.
What what better timing than at New Year’s, when we’re all thinking about fresh starts and new beginnings. . . Happy New Year’s, friends!
Want a few more holiday-inspired gift ideas or activities? Check out:
- True Holiday Spirit Lunchbox Notes
- Holiday Fun Fact and JOKES Lunchbox Notes (with Hannukah!)
- Holiday Time Fun Fact Lunchbox Notes
- Little Holiday Notes and Jokes
- Holiday Notes for Families
- The Polar Express tradition
- Scratch-off Cards
- K-Cup Advent Tree
- New Year’s Family Interview
- Happy Holidays Backyard Birds