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STEM, Environment

Gifts for a Tree: Making a Recycled Bird Feeder

 “Do small things with great love.” ~Mother Teresa

Birds are a constant source of inspiration for us here at Playful Learning, and the children in the studio love to sit and observe the birds that come and go from our many feeders. While any time of year is a good time to teach children how to love and appreciate nature, we find that the winter months offer a unique opportunity for children to learn how to protect and care for the birds in their own backyard.

One way to do this is by creating a simple rustic bird feeder out of recycled items that you probably already have laying around the house!

How to create a feeder for your feathery friends:

Grab an old plastic bottle. Carefully cut a hole in the side of the bottle (how big of a hole and how high up the bottle will depend on the size of the birds). If your bottle is strong enough you can cut a hole in each side.

Then cut a small hole on either side of the bottle for your perch. Find a nice sturdy stick, and slide it through the two holes.

Add in the bird food (we use wild bird seed). Birds need food high in calories and fat during the winter months, so good options are nuts, black sunflower seeds, cracked corn, and even small chunks of fruit. If you have any questions about what to feed the birds in your backyard, visit a local bird feed store and they’ll help you find the right mix of food.


Finally, twist the cap on tightly and tie a loop of string around the neck of the bottle. Hang it from a branch, wait, and watch. The birds will love their special feast!


Children really do receive such joy from the simple act of bird watching; a true sense of wonder as the birds fly in and out of the yard. Encourage your child to learn the names of their favorite birds, observe their feeding patterns and songs, and further build their appreciation for and connectedness with nature. 

While you’re caring for the birds in your backyard (and making a gift for a tree) be sure to take some time to celebrate the many Gifts from a Tree, one of which is providing a warm home and safe shelter for your feathered friends!

Resources and Inspiration (members only):

Do-It-Together Experiences: All About Trees

Trees Thematic Exploration

Birds Thematic Exploration

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Playful Learning Field Guides

Grab these handy field guides on your way to park or walk around the block. Add a basket for collecting and a magnifying glass for observing you are set for a memorable outdoor adventure