As parents, many of us have concerns about the environment as it pertains to our kids and their future. We make efforts at home through small measures of going green but it’s also important to teach our children about the relationship we have with the Earth and to respect the environment around us.
As humans, we haven’t always been so nonchalant about how we treat the Earth. We’ve been reading The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales from Barefoot Books, enjoying seven tales and folklore stories about the symbiotic relationship between nature and people. Even if the tales are just folklore, they do remind us that everything we do has a ripple effect.
To bring these stories to life and closer to our own understanding now, the book includes a craft idea for each story told. In the story The Magic Garden we read about how birds, thankful to have their lives spared, prepared the soil and planted seeds to grow a beautiful garden for everyone to enjoy. Along with the story, as a way to reward the birds in our neighborhood, which in turn benefit the plants and trees around us and ultimately benefiting us, there were instructions on how to make an easy homemade bird feeder.
My kids loved making these in the backyard after school and their feeders dangle happily in our back bushes. You can invite your kids to make their own homemade bird feeders with these simple steps.
One large, open pinecone
Thread or string
Vegetable shortening or lard
A shallow dish
Note: Try going on a scavenger hunt to collect pinecones in the local park (you can add it to this printable scavenger hunt list we’ve created). If you cannot find older open pinecones, you can also use younger ones and coat the outside. We did both.
1.Using thread or string, tie a loop around the pinecones. This will be for hanging them on the trees when they’re done. I did this ahead of time as part of the craft preparation.
2.Using a small butter knife or spatula (or popsicle sticks if you have them), spread the lard over the pinecone, squishing it into the gaps and spaces.
3.With birdseed in a shallow dish, roll the pinecone around to cover it. Use your fingers to push the seeds into the lard to make them stick. Make sure to have a dish towel for fingers or else kids are bound to wipe their hands on their clothes.
4.Once you are happy with how your bird feeder looks, find the perfect branch to hang it on. These are fairly light so you can hang them on smaller branches that squirrels can’t climb on.
If you’re lucky, the birds will reward you with a visit and a beautiful song. Enjoy!
Thanks to the folks at Barefoot Books for our review copy and for allowing us to share this craft idea from The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales.