It’s important to make sure that the birds are fed, especially in winter, and a fun way to talk about this with toddlers and preschoolers is by making homemade bird feeders.
I included this activity in our festive playful learning plans, so Rosalie and I set to and made some seedy fat tree ornaments for the garden.
100g wild bird seed
You could also use cheese, cake crumbs, peanuts.
Melt the lard in a pan.
Measure the dry ingredients into a big bowl.
Pour the melted lard over the dry ingredients and stir to combine.
Leave the mixture to cool, enough so that the fat is no longer runny and the mixture sticks together slightly (very important).
Lay your cutters or moulds out on a lined baking tray.
Once the mixture is cooled and beginning to set, spoon into the moulds and press firmly.
Push a straw all the way through the mixture near the top of the decoration.
Allow to cool at room temperature, or put in the freezer for rapid cooling which is what we did.
Once completely hardened, remove from the freezer and leave for about 15 minutes before pushing the seed mixture out of the cutters.
Remove the straw and add a string.
Hang your beautiful bird feeder decoration on a tree in your garden!
Knowledge and understanding of the world – you don’t have to go into detail, but explaining why you are making the bird feeders helps your preschooler gain a wider understanding of their world.
Fine motor – stirring the mixture, spooning the mixture into the cutters, adding the straw and helping to push them out are all great for working those small hand and finger muscles.
Communication – following instructions, talking about what you are doing and why you are doing it are all good for boosting communication.
There’s a useful guide to bird feeding on the BBC website, if you want to find out a bit more about the importance of feeding the birds, not just in winter, but all year around.