Turn an empty milk jug into a simple bird feeder for birds and squirrels. This is a great craft for toddlers and preschoolers to accompany a unit on birds.
The hooligans love to make homemade bird feeders. Every winter here in my daycare we make simple feeders to hang in our trees. Winter is so long and cold here, and it can be very difficult for birds to find sources when the ground is frozen and snow-covered. Our simple feeders are one way we can help the birds get through the winter. They also provide us with an opportunity to do some bird watching, and learn about the species in our area.
We actually didn’t set out to make this milk jug bird feeder today. This idea was born when I needed a couple of plastic circles for a Christmas craft that we were making here in my daycare the other day.
As you probably know by now, I’m a big fan of crafting with recyclable materials whenever possible. Not only does it keep our crafting costs down, crafting with used cardboard and plastic is a great way to teach kids about the importance of re-using and re-purposing, and taking care of our earth.
Opaque plastic milk jugs come in very handy for crafting. Ours is actually a vinegar jug, but vinegar jug bird feeder just doesn’t have a great ring to it, so we’re calling it a milk jug.
We’re still enjoying the corn cobs and kernels that a friend dropped off for us a couple of months ago, We’ve got almost all of the cobs stripped now, and we’ve dumped all of the kernels into a bin with along with the chestnuts we collected back in October. We often have this all set up on a table in the backyard with a few pots, pans, bowls and spoons, as a sort of play kitchen.
As I watched the hooligans “cooking” up their corn and Chestnuts Thursday morning an idea came to me: We could use the cast off plastic jug from this morning’s craft to make a Milk Jug Bird Feeder! And this is what we did:
What you’ll need to make a milk jug bird feeder:
- Plastic jug with
- craft knife or scissors
How to make your bird feeder:
Using a pen or pencil, trace a circle onto the side of your plastic container. You want to leave enough space at the bottom for your feeder to hold a few inches of bird food. You can cut a hole on each side of the container like we did, or you can choose to have a hole on just one side.
Cut out the circles using a craft knife or scissors. I found it easiest to start the cutting with the craft knife, but after an inch or so, I switched to scissors.
Fill your container with corn kernels or bird seed, and using the handle of the jug as a “hanger”, place your feeder in a tree.
When the hooligans had finished filling our bird feeder, our youngest little one proudly walked it back to the corner of the yard where our playhouse and sandbox are located.
Not far from our slide and play logs, we have an oak tree. It’s not a huge oak tree, but a very important one none-the-less. It holds our homemade wind chimes, our bucket and rope pulley system, and it supports our tight rope/pool noodle abacus.
And now it has one more responsibility. It’s the home for our new milk jug bird feeder!
Hopefully now that the cooler fall weather is here to stay, it won’t take long for the birds and squirrels to find it.
I’ll let you know when they do!
More Easy Bird Feeders to Make with Kids:
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Jackie is a mom, wife, home daycare provider, and the creative spirit behind Happy Hooligans. She specializes in kids’ crafts and activities, easy recipes, and parenting. She began blogging in 2011, and today, Happy Hooligans inspires more than 2 million parents, caregivers and Early Years Professionals all over the globe.
What a clever idea, and if I made the holes small enough then the sparrows etc would get in but not the horrid magpies which plague my garden whenever I put bird food out!
What a fantastic idea! Thanks for sharing it at the Outdoor Play Party 🙂
I have made three. The holes all varying sizes thanks to the direction of the knife: Now to find some branches, and place then around the garden. I am hoping the Tui’s (Native Bird here in Nz) smell the seed. I know the wax eyes will ( another native bird ).
If you want Tui’s in your garden try a tui drink of water and sugar they love it 1 cup of sugar to 1 litre of water.