Craft projects don’t have to be reserved for summer. Crafts using elements from nature can happen in any season. Our examples below can be used at any time. Bird feeders are welcome at any season as birds are migrating in the fall, feeding their young in the spring, or settling in for a cold winter’s night. And gathering natural treasures all through the year can spark everyone’s imagination.
Information found in Kit No. 6 "Go Boldly"
Having bird feeders in your yard creates a great learning environment for all family members. You can observe the birds’ behaviors, learn which bird likes which seed, and if they prefer to eat their food up in the trees or directly from the ground. Having a bird field guide nearby will help you identify the different types of birds and keep a journal over the different seasons. Plus, you can enjoy their beautiful song as a bonus.
Find a spot outside to assemble your bird treats as things can get a little messy! Here are three feeders to start with.
Apples are plentiful in the fall and if you are in a region where apples are grown, you may be able to fit in an apple picking adventure.
Start by cutting the apples in half, from stem down. Remove the middle of each side with a spoon so you have a pocket for the seed. To keep the seed inside the apple, mix 2/3 cups of boiling water in a pan with 2 packets of unflavored gelatin. Make sure it is completely dissolved.
Add 2 cups of birdseed to the gelatin. Different birds eat different types of seeds, so a bag with variety may be best.
Add your birdseed mixture into the apples and set them on a pan so you can place them into the refrigerator for 1-2 hours until firm.
Putting a screw into the top of the apple will allow you to tie a string for hanging.
- 2/3 C water
- 2 packets unflavored gelatin
- 2 C birdseed
- 4 apples
- 8 small screws
Pinecones & Peanut Butter
If you live in an area that has pinecones you probably have a few collections around the house. Or maybe the kids brought some home from a camping trip. If so, have the kids gather them up and take them out to your designated craft area in the yard. This is another messy one, but quite simple.
The pinecones need to be at least 3 or 4 inches long to hold the seed concoction. Begin by having the kids spread peanut butter over the bottom 2/3 of the cone. Leave a “handle” at the top.
Next, have some seed in a bowl so they can roll the cone and get as much seed to stick to the peanut butter as possible.
Some pinecone shapes will allow you to tie string directly around the top for hanging. Others may require a screw to go in. I would suggest doing that before adding the peanut butter.
Your cones can now be hung in various places around your yard.
If you have a collection of cookie cutters this is a great reason to dig them out of the storage drawer without turning on the oven.
Start by gathering your cookie cutters, spray them with cooking oil, and place them on a cookie sheet or other surface that can be put into a refrigerator.
Combine 2/3 C of hot water in a bowl with 2 packets of gelatin and mix until dissolved. Add in 2 C of birdseed and stir until well blended. Add your mixture into the cookie cutters patting it down tight.
There needs to be a hole for a string so the birdseed ornaments can be hung outside. This is done by placing a short piece of straw into the top portion of the ornament. It is pulled out once the gelatin in set.
Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour for the gelatin to set. Remove the straw and remove the seeds from the cookie cutter. Add a string through the hole for hanging and find the best spots to hang the ornaments.
- 2 C Birdseed
- 2/3 C Water
- 2 Packets of unflavored gelatin
- Cookie cutters
- Ribbon or string
- Cooking Spray
Take your bird feeding to the next level by experimenting with different seeds and feeders. You'll be surprised at how intelligent many birds are! Here's how to construct a bird brain teaser below.
Activity found in Kit No. 10 "Observation Station"
Nature Craft Collection
Be ready for any project in any season. Have the kids gather items for different seasons for your nature craft projects. This can include twigs, bark, leaves, seed pods, small rocks, feathers - anything in nature that is interesting. In the spring, it may include flowers, in the fall, it may be more seeds. Googly eyes are great too and some sticky tack glue. Having this be a continuous project allows kids to improve their observation skills and appreciate what nature has to offer.
With the collection of items placed in the middle of the outdoor table, kids can create all sorts of projects. Here are some to get their creative juices flowing.
- Make forest people, or better yet, a self-portrait.
- Fall leaf wreaths (leaves strung with string and tied into a circle)
- Various rock critters
Let the imagination go wild!