Monday, March 16, 2015

Birds Need to Eat Too

The calendar says spring is coming soon, but here in Ohio, the evidence has been mixed.  At my house, there is still some snow on the ground.  Today it was in the 60s, tomorrow back to the 40s.  As part of finishing up our unit on spring last week, we made some bird feeders to share with the birds as they return to the area.

The recipe is very easy and does not involve peanut butter for those with allergies in their classroom.  All you need is bird seed, flour, water and a little corn syrup.  I have a local college student who visits for an hour 2 days a week as part of a class requirement.  This project was his job during centers last week.  Kiddos wrote their names on a paper plate, then we put a piece of wax paper over the plate.  The cookie cutter was then placed on the wax paper to keep the bird feeder from sticking to the plate.  You could probably forego the plate, but it did make them much easier to transport!

He pulled kiddos over 4 at a time, mixed up a batch with them and helped them make their feeders.  Once it is mixed, kiddos took handfuls and pressed it down to pack it into cookie cutters.  This was met with excitement, "ewww gross", and shrieks of laughter. A preschool teacher down the hall was very generous to share her playdough cookie cutters for this project.

We used a straw to poke a hole in the feeders while they were still in the cookie cutter.  After poking the hole, we removed the cookie cutter and took the feeders to the hallway to dry.  I flipped them at lunch time, before I went home and again the next morning.  They dried much like salt dough would.  A string was put thru the hole and kiddos took them home in a ziploc bag to hang in a tree or on a bush.  One kiddo also suggested hanging it on a hook if you don't have a tree.  They are always thinking!

You can see the pieces on this one that did not get packed into the cookie cutter.
We just threw these little pieces away.

I think I will make these during my winter unit next year to help those birds out who stick around with us in the winter.  I didn't know about this recipe until a couple weeks ago or I probably would have done it sooner this year too.  One batch made about 8 feeders, but it would depend on the size of the cookie cutter.  We found that it was easiest to use cookie cutters that were mid-sized and did not have small parts (arms, legs, stems, etc); it was very difficult to keep these small parts intact when removing the cookie cutter.  The bag of bird seed was plenty and was shared with 3 other classes!

Do you have a favorite project or recipe that you do with your class?  I'd love to hear about it!

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