Share your local wildlife with your children this fall or spring with a homemade bird feeder. Capture their attention by involving them in the planning, design and creation of a DIY peanut butter bird feeder for kids, using this tutorial. It’s simple, fast and so easy, even the youngest can do it, but it’s still fun for older kids too!
Note: we’ve used peanut butter in this recipe, but if you have a peanut allergy, an allergy-safe alternative would be natural lard.
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Birdwatching is so educational and entertaining.
Our feathered friends are uniquely adapted to their environment, with specialized parts for their particular food, family and nesting needs. So whether you want to discuss habitats, migration, ecosystems and food chains, how birds fly, or adaptations, starting with bird watching is a great introduction activity.
Recommended Bird Books for Kids
Start your science study with these recommended bird books. One of our favorites is a field guide like the Bird Guide of North America from National Geographic Kids. Being able to identify the birds we’re watching at our feeder helps keep up the excitement.
Birdwatching For KidsUltimate Explorer Field Guide: Birds (National Geographic Kids Ultimate Explorer Field Guide)Children’s Encyclopedia of Birds (Arcturus Children’s Reference Library)The Big Book of Birds (The Big Book Series)National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America, Second EditionEverything You Need to Know About Birds
To create this DIY bird feeder for kids, you’ll need some basic, every-day supplies like a toilet paper roll and a stick. Yes, this is one time where you can send your kids out and actually encourage them to pick up sticks.
Making the bird feeder
The messiest part is getting the peanut butter onto the toilet paper roll. Don’t worry about making it look neat. The key here is to make sure that you have LOTS on the roll, so the seeds will stick.
Once the peanut butter is on the tube, you’re ready for seeds. I recommend pouring the bird seed mix into a shallow bowl or a plate with a rim. That way, when you roll the peanut-butter-covered toilet paper roll in the seeds, you’ll get full coverage with minimal mess.
Note: bird seed may not be the safest seeds for your kids to eat. Please don’t let them sample the bird seed!! Remind them that it’s food for the birds, not for them.
Finish rolling the tube in the seeds, and use a little pressure to make sure your toilet paper roll is completely covered. Push the seeds firmly into the peanut butter, so that assembling the rest of the bird feeder won’t make the seeds fall off before you finish.
The last part is to add a stick for the birds to perch on while they’re eating, and a string to hang it up with. We used twine and a stick from the yard, but you could use a dowel and yarn, or some other combination as well.
Recommended Bird Watching Notebook
Hanging up that finished DIY bird feeder for kids feels amazing. But what feels even better is watching the birds enjoy your efforts! Keep track of the birds that visit your feeder with one of these bird watching notebooks. And don’t forget to check your field guide to help you figure out your cardinals from your orioles!
Nature Journal For Little Explorers: Kids Nature Journal/ Nature Log Activity Book; Fun Nature Drawing And Journaling Workbook For ChildrenBird Watching Log: Logbook Journal Notebook Diary | Gifts For Birdwatchers Birdwatching Lovers | Log Wildlife Birds, List Species Seen | Great Book For Adults & Kids (Hobbies) (Volume 8)Bird Watching Log Book: Track Your Sightings With This Bird Record Notebook + Table Of Contents + Space For Your Photos and Sketch
Here are the exact instructions you need for your DIY bird feeder for kids:
What you need:
- cardboard empty toilet paper roll
- thick string or twine, about 12″ long.
- long, thin stick or dowel
- small amount of natural peanut butter or lard (use a bowl to hold it for craft time?)
- bird seed mix
- paper plate, shallow bowl or plate with a rim
- butter or plastic knife
How to make your own bird feeder
The trickiest part of this tutorial is getting the peanut butter on the toilet paper roll. It gets messy! Here’s how to DIY your bird feeder:
- Stand your empty cardboard toilet paper roll up in a vertical position.
- Use your plastic or butter knife to spread a thick layer of peanut butter onto the toilet paper roll. Make sure it is nice and thick, because too thin and the seeds won’t stick well.
**NOTE: the toilet paper roll may absorb oils from the peanut butter. This is normal and to be expected! ***
- Pour the bird seed mix into your paper plate or shallow dish. Spread them out evenly.
- Gently roll the toilet paper tube around in the seeds. Fill in blank spots by using your hands to push extra seeds into the peanut butter.
- Thread your string or twine through the holes of the toilet paper. Tie the ends above the roll so that the roll hangs horizontally. Try not to brush any seeds off.
- Put your stick through the toilet paper roll. You may want to use a dab of peanut butter to get the stick to stay inside the tube where you put it.
- You’re ready! Put your bird feeder outside somewhere that you’ll be able to watch the birds enjoy!
Other DIY Bird Feeder
Want more birdfeeder fun? Check out our other the DIY Suet Bird Feeder!
More Bird Activities for Kids
And here are some more activities for you to extend the learning about all things bird!