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Bird watching has always been an enjoyable pastime for many people around gardens, lakes, and backyards. But today’s modern lifestyles create challenges with raising children close to nature due to mobile devices, televisions and wifi compromising our ability to stay connected with nature; even more so in urban areas where our backyard may be a small apartment balcony or fenced-in backyard instead of being wide open countryside.

Getting your kids to care about the outside world is a challenge. With all the bright screens and toys, it can be hard to get them out of their room and have fun while partaking in educational activities.

However, if you want to inspire some interest in the natural world, why not try making a bird feeder with your kids? Making your own DIY bird feeders can be a fun way to get kids interested in both crafts and nature at the same time.

Top 15 DIY Bird Feeder Ideas

A bird feeder is a great way to get kids interested in nature. They know that birds need food to survive, and once they decide that they want to help the birds eat, they will be rewarded with little feathered friends (and great family bonding opportunities).

Below are some of the easiest and most rewarding types of homemade bird feeders for kids and adults to enjoy together.

Bottle bird feeder

This is a common sight at picnics and parks. A bottle bird feeder is made by filling a small bottle such as a soda bottle with suet or peanut butter, then placing it in the middle of a branch where it’s hanging down several inches. Attach a string to the top of the bottle and hang it from a tree branch. Birds will land on the branch and use their feet to remove the bottle cap, eating what’s inside and replacing it with bird seed.

Homemade bottle bird feeder
DIY feeder made from bottle, pencils, hot glue hanging in the tree

Suet bird feeder

If you want to make sure your birds are getting enough fats in their diet, then suet is great. Suet is not just any fat but comes from the fat storage areas of beef or mutton cows (beef suet has a higher melting point than mutton suet) and can be purchased at farm supply stores or ordered online. Cut open an old tin can and drain the fat down inside the can into a bowl, then mix a good handful of suet in with some bird seed to make it go further (if the suet is too dry, add a little water).

A suet holder is a super simple bird feeder and can be made within minutes. Find some old netting, perhaps from a bunch of oranges you recently purchased. Place the fat balls in the net and tie them, so the balls don’t fall out. Voila. Hang your suet feeder in a tree or near bushes where birds can land.

Candle bird feeder

This is another great way of getting kids involved with nature and make their own bird feeder. Just fill a mason jar with boiling water and clean wax out of a used old candle. Once it has cooled, you can create a simple design on the outside of the jar with different objects (like leaves and twigs) to make it look more authentic. Kids might prefer other cute ideas like painting little birds on the jar too.

Top up the jar with some sunflower seed and place it on a level surface in the open to attract birds. Just beware of squirrels and cats!

Peanut butter bird feeder

An easy DIY bird feeder with some excellent nutritious food sources and so much fun in the making, this is an excellent project for kids to help with in the kitchen. Just mix a cup of peanut butter (you can choose the natural variety if your kids prefer) with an equal amount of molasses, honey or maple syrup and shape them into balls for birds to eat. To make these easier for kids, you can use cookie cutters or ice cube trays to help create shapes that are easier for birds to eat, like hearts, stars or squares.

Once the peanut butter has hardened, paint or decorate with food colouring to make it look pretty. Thread some string or yarn through the hearts and then tie in a knot. Hang it from a tree branch and sit back.

Bird food in the shape of hearts
Peanut butter bird feeder

Foil tray bird feeder

This is more of a feeding station recipe that birds enjoy flocking to as opposed to instructions for a DIY bird feeder. It is intended for use with dried mealworms which your children can go and collect themselves! Mix some bird food together (such as wheat bran and mixed seeds) then sprinkle it over a tray (an old baking tray works great). Place the tray in a sunny part of the garden and place a handful of mealworms into the mix. This one is a big hit and pulls in birds from all around.

Mailbox bird feeder

Mailboxes are one of the most common places to see birds bunched together. Simply place a small bowl of water in the middle of the mailbox, and your birds will come to drink, bathing in the water, cleaning their feathers and generally going about their business nearby. You can also hang a sachet of bird seed in the mailbox or nearby to help encourage more birds to stop and drink.

Cardboard box bird feeder

If your kids enjoy making things, this one is a simple bird feeder crafts idea that is a great way to keep them busy for hours. They can create their own designs out of cardboard and cut them out. Then, help them cut out two holes on either side of the boxes and place some healthy seeds inside to attract hungry birds to the garden. Alternatively, use cardboard, glue and colours to create something fancy. String a bunch of these together on a clothesline to create a decorative bird feeding frenzy!

Hanging bird feeder hand made of carboard box
Hanging bird feeder hand made of cardboard box

Toilet roll bird feeder

Who said neat ideas had to be complex? A fun and easy way to make your own bird feeder that is cheap and fast is based on used toilet paper rolls.

You will need a small amount of vegetable shortening, some bird seed and a clean loo roll. Simply coat the roll with the vegetable shortening and then dip it all around in a plate of bird food. The seeds will stick onto the cardboard roll. Hang your toilet roll feeder up high on a tree branch so the birds can easily access it.

Pine cone bird feeders

If you want a romantic approach to nature and bird watching, try decorating your pine cones for birds like chaffinches, goldfinches and canaries. Simply dip the pine cone in a pile of peanut butter and douse them with some seeds. Then tie some string around the top of the pine cone and hang it from your chosen location. Sit back and watch sparrows, pigeons and all sorts of unusual birds coming for a feed.

Tea cup bird feeder

Use a set of old tea cups to turn into a cute backyard bird feeder. You can place the teacups on their side or even upside down with another dish for the bird seed. Be sure to place them in clean places like your patio or garden, where you’ll be able to watch birds feeding while also providing some nice background music!

Paper ties bird feeder

Elastic bands are useful for all sorts of things, including dabbling in bird feeder crafts! You will need scissors, wire cutters and wire ties to create this simple DIY bird feeder for kids. To begin, snip the wire ties apart to create little pieces of wire, then slide them over the branches of trees or set up a small branch arrangement for birds to use. You can use these anywhere and will see birds using them frequently as long as they are exposed to plenty of sunlight.

Yoghurt pot bird feeder

If you want to make an easy bird feeder, using yoghurt pots is a great idea. Take some small, empty yoghurt pots and fill one with water and the other with some birdseed. Then place them in a sunny spot where the birds can easily see them. You might need to provide some protection from the rain if you live in a rainy location. Also, you could punch a couple of holes in each side for some string and hang them from a tree if you prefer. This is another simple way of feeding birds that you can use all year round.

Milk carton bird feeder

One of the easiest things to recycle is a milk carton! One way to stop your kids from throwing away any more milk cartons is by turning them into fun bird feeders. You will need a sharp knife, good scissors, and bird seed. Cut out one side of the milk carton, then cut small holes in the bottom for drainage. Lay the carton on its side and add your bird seed into it. That’s it! Making a bird feeder couldn’t get much simpler than that. The only thing left is to place it on a table and see how many birds come by your garden and feed.

A milk carton bird feeder reinforced with electrical tape
A milk carton bird feeder reinforced with electrical tape

Lego bird feeder

One of the easiest homemade bird feeders to make doesn’t require any craft materials! You can combine two of your favourite things – Lego and birds! If you have a Lego enthusiast at home, they will be delighted to make bird feeders using some spare Lego parts. And the best thing is, kids can make bird feeders of any size, shape and design. Try something wild and colourful to brighten your garden. Also, the plastic nature of Lego (or any other children’s building blocks) means it can easily be wiped and cleaned when required.

Simply place it on a tree branch or on the ground where you’ll see them feed, come and go. If your child is feeling extra creative, they could try out different ideas by breaking and creating new feeders every so often.

Bird feeders from old toys, plastic containers and other items

You could even use old toys like clay figures, plastic bottles or lids to make homemade bird feeders for kids. While the project might take a little longer, it will give your kids something to experiment and play around with. They can be a good activity for rainy days or just for keeping them busy for a few hours. Make sure that you always supervise your child when they’re creating bird feeders.

Summary

As you can see from many of the above, homemade bird feeders for kids, don’t have to be expensive or take up much time. Yet, making bird feeders is one of those great ideas that, when implemented, creates timeless memories. You can watch your kids discover their love for watching and caring for birds, plus you can brag about how you inspired their new hobby when you’re out in public.

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