Food literacy for children 0-5 is not just about learning about the food we eat, but also what other creatures eat. What better way to engage them then to create bird feeders so they can witness first-hand how and what birds eat! These could be made for outside the care centre or sent home with the children, maybe as a gift for a family member. Best of all, they only require buying bird seed and a couple of other items, some materials are even upcycled or free in nature, depending which of the three methods you choose from below.
The pinecone method:
• Collect large pinecones while on a nature walk. Then an adult should thread a needle with fishing line or ribbon and string it through the top of the pinecone to create a loop for hanging.
• Spread the pinecones with peanut or another nut or seed butter (this part is messy so cover the table and children with protective gear. Make sure that no one has an allergy to the type of butter you are using).
• Roll the pinecones in bird seed. Spread the bird seed out on plates or trays for children to be able to roll them.
• If taking home, place in a parchment, paper or plastic bag.
The cookie cutter method:
• Lay out a tray with parchment or wax paper and large cookie cutters of desired shape.
• Mix 2 packages (14g) of gelatine with ½ cup of boiling water to dissolve then add 2 cups bird seed. Continue to mix until all the bird seed is coated.
• Fill the cookie cutters very full with the bird seed mixture. Press down firmly with a top layer of parchment. This is very sticky! Then insert a straw near the top to create a hole for stringing.
• Refrigerate overnight until set. Pop carefully out of the cookie cutters. Remove straw and string with fishing line or ribbon.
The recycling method:
• Collect clean, plastic bottles with lids from recycling. Remove labels.
• Collect old wooden spoons (or purchase new ones). An adult should use a knife to carefully cut two holes in the bottle to allow the handle of the spoon to pass through both sides, leaving the flat part of the spoon sticking out of the bottle as a shelf for the bird. Enlarge the hole by the shelf enough to allow the seed to spill out slowly.
• Decorate the bottles if desired then fill with bird seed.
Nicole Fetterly, RD