Backyard Chirper

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How to make a pine cone bird feeder with your kids

If you have children, a great educational project is making an old-fashioned pine cone feeder. This helps push kids into the foray of building things, understanding birds and getting closer to nature. To get started on this fun project with your kids, follow these few simple steps.

1. Get the materials together

The simplest method for making a pine cone bird feeder only requires a few materials: a pine cone, a jar of peanut butter, string, bird seed and a knife. Hopefully, pine cones are readily available somewhere near your house, but if not, you can order pine cones here. Any type of bird seed works well with this project.

2. Tie a string around the pine cone

After you’ve gathered all the material and made a nice area for your child to work in, begin by having them tie a fairly long string around the body of the pine cone. Make sure it’s securely tightened around the pine cone with extra string coming from the top. It’s better to have more slack than too little because you can always cut some off.

3. Roll the pine cone in peanut butter

Cover the pine cone in peanut butter by either slathering it on with a knife or rolling the pine cone on a plate with peanut butter. Try to make the amount consistent around the whole pine cone.

4. Sprinkle bird seed on the peanut butter-covered pine cone

Next, take a cup of bird seed and have your kid sprinkle the seed over the entire pine cone. Feel free to use the cup to pour it on, but having them use their hands adds more fun to the activity.

5. Hang the feeder from a nearby tree

Finally, the most rewarding part of the project is using the excess string from the pine cone feeder to hang it from a tree. Watch the feeder with your kids and teach them about the different types of birds that visit. Hopefully, this simple project will be the beginning of a lifelong love of birds.

Timothy Martinez Jr. is a writer and freelance journalist. His work has been published in The Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Remapping Debate in New York City and other publications. He’s been a bird lover since he was young and currently lives in New Orleans, L.A.