It’s All Fun and Games

We are having our coldest temperatures of the winter this month.  Unfortunately, the unusual winter has brought back many of our birds who may be having a hard time finding food and staying warm.

I thought, why not provide food for the birds and a craft for my granddaughter at the same time.  I set the table with the necessary supplies for her to find.

  • empty toilet paper tubes
  • jar of natural peanut butter, this works as both glue for seed and fat the birds need in the cold
  • knife to spread the peanut butter
  • a cup of birdseed
  • a tray to work on

She saw the table set and I asked if she would like to help me to feed the birds. She ran to the table and asked what to do first.

It’s a simple craft even the youngest of children can do. My year old grandson even helped and was quite good at rolling the tube in the seed.  Simply spread the peanut butter on the empty tube then roll the tube in birdseed.  You can either slip the roll over a tree branch or hang it using twine or yarn.

bird feeder

 

We made three that day, one to hang outside my house and two for her to take home.  Her mother helped her to hang one outside the dining room window and one in the back yard visible from the kitchen window.

The next day I received a phone call from my granddaughter excited to tell me she had been watching the birds eating from her bird feeder and wanting to know if my birds were eating theirs. While you may not think this is a big deal I should tell you this is a child who refuses to talk on the phone. No amount of begging, bargaining or bribing will get her to talk on the phone, nor will she come to the phone to Skype.

When her bird feeders were empty, one disappeared we believe it could have been squirrels, I asked around and was given paper towel tubes to make new ones.  Mom says both the children sit better and longer at the table at meal time because they are also watching the birds while they eat.

Now that mom has seen how excited her children get watching the birds, and to save the bird feeders from the squirrels, she bought and hung a squirrel feeder.  The next day a squirrel climbed up on the window ledge and watched the family eat dinner. Mom was a bit freaked out but the children squealed with excitement.

Introducing nature to children at a young age is how we teach them to treat the outside world with love and respect.

 

 

 

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22 comments

  1. wow…great success with the little ones.. So glad it worked to grab their attention.

    truly loved the story of the squirrel watching the kids…Suspect they will always remember same, even when they are old and grey..

    I had never made a feeder like the one you showed, will give it a try..

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    • These types of feeders have been made in the classrooms around here for generations using either pine cones or toilet paper tubes. They are quick and easy to make but beware the squirrels will get to them just as fast as the birds do. 🙂 I’ve never had a squirrel come up to one of my windows to watch me but I would assume they are just as curious about us as we are about them.

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      • yes, I suppose wild critters must be curious…”what are those things that live in those cages (humans)?” (Maybe they feel sorry for those critters (humans) who seem to spend so much time cooped up in boxes (houses)? — I have often thought /wondered about that.

        a fun squirrel story…

        my friend had a bird feeder outside her kitchen window, so was often checking out there. One day she had a fair sized roll of fluorescent string. very bright. She took it outside to tie something up, and then not wanting to misplace it, set it length wise on the branch beside the bird feeder. So (of course) she forgot to take the string in. One day she is looking out at the bird feeder, and sees a squirrel sitting on the branch which the string had been stuck on. Squirrel examines the string, and I guess finds it “interesting”. He found the end of the string, and worked very hard unrolling it off the spool on the branch, and into a new ball, he held between his chin and chest. He got most of the ball unrolled, then bit it off and took off with his hard won treasure…Too bad she didn’t have a video camera, would have been wonderful to see.

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        • When you brought up the humans in boxes it made me think how we are not much different from caged animals in zoos. I feel a new post coming. 🙂

          Animals, especially in my opinion, squirrels and chipmunks remind me of little children who have such curious minds and spend their hours playing. How much fun your friend must have had watching that squirrel playing with her string.

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          • exactly..
            and yes, my friend was so tickled. She told me the story many times over the past couple yrs.

            re the humans in boxes/cages…ever since I have been little I felt that way.

            and felt sorry for critters in cages

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    • They sure are and I’m thrilled the children are enjoying watching them as much as I do. My grandson has been watching them from the time he was only a few months old. He would hear the bird song and have to look for the source. When he saw his first bird fly he squealed with delight and continues to take delight in them.

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  2. How fun! I used to do something like that with my kids using pinecones, peanut butter, and seeds. The chickadees hanging from them upside down were always so cute and a big hit with the kids.

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    • We’ve done pine cones too and I have pine cones here I could have used but when I heard they had a flock of almost 50 birds in their yard I knew I didn’t have enough pine cones to feed them all. 🙂 Now that I know the kids enjoy watching the birds this much I’ll probably have them help make a chain of natural foods such as corn and cranberries to string around the evergreens outside the dining room window for next winter.

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  3. That’s a fantastic idea! We’re having crazy warm weather here, but of course, we’ve got the accompanying chinook winds, so lids are being blown off of trash cans, and when I try to scatter birdseed for the birds & squirrels, it all just blows away. Perhaps I’ll have to give this a try, as it might give them a shot at actually getting to eat something before the wind takes it all!

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    • We’ve barely been above zero and are in the negative temps during the night, want to trade? The birds, and squirrels love the peanut butter glue with the seeds and will eat from them all year if you put them out. I don’t use the peanut butter in the warmer months because they don’t need the added fat for keeping warm. Let me know if this works in your wind.

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  4. Hi Lois! I agree with EcoCatLady…this is a fantastic idea and one I’d never heard of before. And as you say, teaching children about nature almost guarantees that they will be so much more likely to be connected. As usual you seem to come up with such great ideas. Your grandchildren as so very fortunate. ~Kathy

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    • Thanks, Kathy. I’m having just as much fun watching my daughter-in-law enjoy nature as the kids. She was raised outside Phoenix where her family pretty much stayed indoors and of course what wildlife they have is very different than what we have in PA. The first time she saw chipmunks chasing each other in her yard she called me and gave me a play by play of the action as if I’d never seen chipmunks playing. 🙂 As a result she’s taken to the outdoors now and even started to garden.

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    • Loved It!! I saw a story a couple of years ago about mobile tiny houses for the homeless that were just big enough to sleep in but nothing more about it since. It’s one thing to be homeless but to just have a safe, dry place to sleep has got to be a huge improvement in their lives.

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    • If you don’t mind bird droppings on your porch you could hang one of these under the porch roof, that’s what my daughter-in-law did with the one outside the dining room window. Of course you could use pine cones, which was the original concept. You just spread peanut butter on the sections of the pine cone and add sprinkle seeds over it.

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      • Pine cones might work better but we have no snow or frozen ground so the birds seem to be finding plenty to keep them going. We’ve had no real winter to speak of. 😦 Spring is everywhere and our grass here is green all winter. Not so much in summer. We get no rain anymore in summer. 😦 Hope you are doing well. I’m digging myself out of the well again. Much better now and maybe I’ll catch up soon. 🙂

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        • I can’t complain about this winter, it was mild even by average winters here. Our ground is finally thawing so I’m not as concerned about the birds now even though it’s supposed to get cold again this week.

          I took a walk yesterday and noticed that while the grass isn’t it’s lovely green it’s not all brown either like I’m used to. I think that’s probably because we didn’t have winter until January and real cold until this month.

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