It's summer vacation and you may already be hearing those dreaded words… "I’m bored!” Summer is a time for fun and adventure, but it can be a struggle to find ways to keep your children from becoming bored. Beyond that, many parents worry about learning loss and desire to find ways to incorporate an educational component into their summer fun. Look no further, today’s activity will feature some favorite feathered friends!
The Pinecone Buffet for Birds is an engaging hands-on craft that easily integrates many learning opportunities along the way. First, gather your supplies.
*Peanut butter can spoil quickly in hot temperatures. Other types of fats can be used as well, though there are differing opinions on what is or is not harmful to birds.(sunflower butter, almond butter, coconut oil, honey, shortening, lard, suet)
- Start by wiring the pinecones and sticks together. Attach ribbon or string on the end(s) to hang, either horizontally or vertically.
- Using the table knife or spatula, spread the peanut butter over the pinecones. You can also put the peanut butter on a flat surface, such as a plate, and roll the pinecones in the peanut butter.
- Sprinkle the birdseed over the pinecones and press into the peanut butter. Likewise, you can also spread the birdseed out and roll the pinecones in the seed.
Throughout each step of the activity and beyond, there are many ways to include learning opportunities without it feeling like “school.” Give these a try or share some of your own ideas in the comments.
- Pinecones are fascinating; you can learn fun facts about pinecones in this article from Michigan State University Extension.
It may be difficult to find many pinecones this time of year. If your search comes up short, you can buy them or have your children brainstorm other items from nature they could use.
(Toilet paper and paper towel tubes are another option.)
- Birdseed comes in many varieties; have your children figure out what is in the different mixes, and which is better for the birds in your yard. What is the nutritional value of the seeds, and what do birds need to thrive? Are there any seeds that are bad or harmful to birds?
- Have your children do some research into the different types of fats and what is the best option for your yard, keeping in mind the temperature and sunlight exposure. What do these fats offer birds? What are some things that you should be aware of when using them?
- Location is everything when deciding where to hang your bird feeder; it is important to make sure it is in a safe place. Have your children think about what makes a location safe for birds. What are some things that might be dangerous for birds? How can they avoid that? Brainstorm some ideas and then do some research before making a decision about the placement.
- Try our SnapWords® Science Vocabulary cards to teach some of these concepts in a fun and engaging way. Some ideas include bird, seed, nutrient, predator, prey, fuel, and scavenger. Or have your child decorate these plain words to show their meaning. They can also use the blank lines to tell more about what they learned.
There are many more ideas you could add, depending on your child’s interests: science, art, math, geography, language arts, etc. For more ideas about birds, see our blog, Homes for Birds Week: A Flight of Feathered Fun. The most important thing is to make it enjoyable. As long as your children are engaged and having fun, keep going. Let their interest guide you!
We are here to help; please let us know if you have any questions!