Children love all things nature and what better way to encourage them to explore the world around them than by bringing the wildlife to them, in your very own back garden? Here in the UK, we're lucky to have a wide range of birds that would love to pay our gardens a visit – all they need is a little encouragement to coax them in.
Don't worry, you don't have to be a carpenter and create the perfect bird feeder or house for your kids. In fact, one of the best ways to get them thinking about nature is to get them to take part too. Here are three easy crafting ideas that the whole family will enjoy. You'll soon be tweeting your way to success!
If you have a... juice carton
You will need: Empty juice carton, acrylic paint, pencils, scissors, lolly sticks, glue, string, birdseed, wind chimes (optional)
1. Paint the carton with acrylic paint. Leave to dry.
2. Draw and cut out ‘doors’ on two opposite sides of the carton – not too near the bottom as you need to leave room for perches.
3. Punch a small hole beneath each door, making sure they are the same distance from the bottom on both sides. Carefully push a long pencil or thin piece of wood dowelling through one side and out the other side to make perches.
4. Make a roof by sticking lolly sticks on two pieces of card, then paint. Glue on the top of the carton.
5. Punch two holes through the carton top and thread with string to make a handle.
6. Put birdseed inside, then hang your feeder in the garden. For a clever alert when the birds come calling, hang wind chimes next to the carton and join together with string. As peckish birds land, the feeder will swing and ring the chimes.
If you have a... yoghurt pot
You will need: A yoghurt pot or cupcake holder, mixing bowl, scissors, string, birdseed, raisins, butter or cheese
1. Make a small hole in the bottom of a yoghurt pot and thread the string through the hole. Tie a knot on the inside of the pot, so that the string can't escape, making sure to leave plenty of string on the outside of the pot, so that later the pot can be hung upside down from a branch.
2. Allow the butter or cheese to warm up to room temperature, making sure not to melt it completely. Cut it up into pieces and put it in a mixing bowl, along with the seeds and raisins.
3. Mix it all together with your fingertips until the melted butter or cheese holds shape – keeping the ingredients together in a ball.
4. Put your yoghurt pot upright and fill it with the mixture. Put it in the fridge to set for about an hour.
5. Finally, hang the pot in your garden.
If you have a... plastic bottle
You will need: An empty plastic bottle, scissors, pencils, pens, wooden spoons, birdseed
1. Paint the empty plastic bottle in whatever design you like. We love the birds above, but you could also paint shapes such as swirls or balloons.
2. Start by choosing where your perches are going to go and how many you want. Two or three should work well. Mark these points with a felt tip. Then, also mark a couple of centimetres above these perches, as this is where you will need to cut a small hole for the birds to access the seeds.
3. Cut small round holes where you have marked in pen.
4. Place your pencils or spoons through the lower holes so that part remains outside the bottle. These will act as the perches for visiting guests. Next, fill your bottle with birdseed.
5. Finally, stand your bottle upright outdoors, on a small table or somewhere birds can easily access it.