Are you looking for ideas for a DIY bird feeder for kids to make? This simple bird feeder craft is easy and fun, and will have the birds flocking to your garden!
Homemade bird feeders are one of our favourite crafts. I’ve lost count of the number of times we’ve made them, and they’re always a big hit with our local wild birds. Whenever we put them out in the garden they vanish within a couple of days.
We usually use empty paper cups or yoghurt pots to make a DIY bird feeder for kids to hang up in the garden, but it’s lots of fun to make your homemade bird feeders into other shapes too. We’ve been playing around with cookie cutters and orange halves to create these fun DIY bird feeders.
Aren’t they great? We used our usual homemade bird feeder recipe, and simply changed the containers we used to hold the mixture while it set.
How to make an easy DIY bird feeder for kids
If you’d like to have a go at making a DIY bird feeder, these instructions take you through the process step-by-step.
DIY bird feeder recipe
You will need
Lard, suet or solid vegetable fat (this last option is ideal if you want to make vegetarian-friendly feeders)
Wild *bird food
Optional extras of oats, breadcrumbs, sultanas, currants, unsalted peanuts (you don’t need all of these, a mixture of any is fine)
Oranges, halved with the flesh removed
Large *cookie cutters in various shapes
A couple of paper drinking straws or a straight stick
Easy DIY bird feeder instructions
Start by putting all the dry ingredients into a bowl, and mixing them together with a spoon. Aim for a ratio of roughly two parts dry to one part fat.
Next, melt the fat in a saucepan, then add it to the dry ingredients and stir well. The melted fat should be handled by adults only as it can get very hot. When we make our feeders I’m in charge of the heating and pouring, and the kids are in charge of the mixing.
Once the fat and dry ingredients are thoroughly mixed, leave them to cool for a short while. This will reduce leakage, and also make the mixture safer to handle.
Two options for a shaped DIY bird feeder
To shape your DIY bird feeders using oranges, cut your orange in half and remove all the flesh and juice.
Poke a hole through the skin, about 2cm in from an edge, then thread some string through and tie it into a loop. We’ve learned from experience that it’s much easier to do this step before they’re full!
Fill your orange with the seed mixture, packing it down tightly. When all your orange halves are full, pop them onto a tray and store them somewhere flat while they set. This can take quite a while, so we usually put ours in the fridge overnight.
To shape your DIY bird feeders using cookie cutters, try to choose cutters that are reasonably large. Tiny cutters are quite fiddly to remove, and the feeders won’t last very long in the garden either.
Place your cutters on a baking tray, and fill them with the seed mixture. Once they’re full, stick a small piece of stick or paper straw into them near an edge, so that it stands up. This will create a hole for threading the string through when they’re set.
Again, store the tray somewhere flat while the mixture sets. When they’re ready, remove each cutter slowly and carefully, then thread string through each hole to create a hanging loop.
Now you’re ready to give your local wild birds a treat!
Hanging your DIY bird feeders in the garden
You can hang your DIY bird feeders in the branches of trees, from a bird table, or on a *bird feeding station. I recommend hanging them in a part of the garden you can see from indoors. Wherever you put them, make sure they are out of the reach of cats.
Fun projects with a DIY bird feeder for kids
Here are a few suggestions for fun bird feeder activities to try with children.
- Make a diary of the birds who visit your feeders. You could create a bar chart with the data, or use a bird identification chart to create a fact sheet for each species.
- Hang your homemade bird feeders in your local park to give the birds who live there a treat.
- Make a video or a photo diary of the birds who visit your feeders.
- Do some types of bird visit at the same time each day? Why do you think this is?
- Make homemade bird feeders every season, then compare which types of birds visit.
- Can you think of other items you could use to shape a DIY bird feeder?
More DIY bird feeders to make
Ready to have a go at some more DIY bird feeders? Here are a few other fun ways to make your own bird feeder.
Paper cup DIY bird feeders
You can use the same fat and bird seed mixture to make wild bird feeders in paper cups or yoghurt pots. Check out my post on homemade bird feeders for full instructions.
Pumpkin bird feeder
This is an alternative to using orange halves for your garden bird feeders. Fill a hollowed-out pumpkin or squash with the seed mixture, or just dry bird seed, and use sticks and string to hang it up. Only remove the seeds and stringy bits when you hollow it out, because birds will love to eat the flesh. You could also stick the seeds around the top edge of the feeder for an extra treat.
Drinks bottle bird feeder
You can upcycle an empty drinks bottle and an old wooden spoon to make a simple bird feeder. Make two holes opposite each other low down for the spoon perch, and two more higher up for the stick that holds the hanging string. We find it’s best to decant the dry seed into a jug of some sort before pouring it into the bottle – this reduces the amount that gets spilled. A funnel would work well too.
Pine cone bird feeder
This is a lovely DIY bird feeder option that makes use of any pine cones you collect on nature walks. It’s quite messy but lots of fun!
Do you make your own bird feeders? If you’ve got a favourite DIY bird feeder for kids to make I’d love to hear about it 🙂
More nature inspired craft and play ideas
Making bird feeders is just one of the fun nature play projects in my new book, ‘A Year of Nature Craft and Play’. There’s an activity for every week of the year and it includes fun crafts, gardening, games, art and science experiments – perfect for inspiring kids to get creative with nature and explore the amazing natural world.
You might also like to check out my post on 60 fun garden activities for when you’re stuck at home with the kids for more ways to keep them busy!