Showing concern for other living things is a great way to help build children's empathy. Watching garden birds feeding from home-made bird feeders is a joyful way of spending time together and presents many learning opportunities.
You will need:
- Pictures of birds in winter
- Wooden spoons
- Clean, empty plastic drinks bottle
- Screw eye
- Bird seed or unsalted nuts (Be mindful of the fact that some people may have nut allergies, and also that nuts can be a choking hazard - check for any intollerances and always supervise children with nuts)
- Carefully cut holes in a plastic bottle and then help the children to slot two wooden spoons through. Make sure the holes by the bowls of the spoons are larger so that seeds can spill out. Keep the holes by the handles smaller to keep seeds in.
- Attach a small screw eye to the bottle lid so that you can hang up your finished bird feeder. Hang it from a branch or bracket, somewhere you and the children can see your feathery visitors.
- Discuss why you hang the feeders above the ground. Talk about how the birds might get caught by a cat if they were busy eating these things from the ground.
- Encourage the children to check the feeders and table each day and top them up when necessary. Show them how to watch quietly to see if any birds come.
Discover more bird food recipes and ideas at the RSPB's website.
- Look at some pictures of birds in the winter time in a book or on the internet. Try find images of birds feeding from seed or feeders.
- Talk about what the children think that birds eat. Is their winter food different from their summer food?
- Do you think it is harder for birds to get worms and bugs when the weather is cold or the ground is frozen in winter?
- How can we help to feed the birds? Let the children make suggestions. Show them ideas for bird feeders. Can you make a bird feeder?