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Crafts  :   Winter Bird Feeder
   

These handmade edible bird feeders are a good project on a cold day when the kids are stuck inside and keep claiming boredom as their only continued emotion.  While most people associate bird feeders with spring, winter is actually a great time to treat your fine feathered friends because food can be scarce as snow and frost cover many possible food sources.  

This project is easy to make and the design possibilities are endless. Use cookie cutters, Jello mold or even paper cups to create your form. I personally like the natural look, but you can add food coloring to create colorful bird snacks as well.  This also doubles as a good science experiment:  to observe if the birds are attracted to one color over the others.  

Hang your bird feeder within good viewing distance from your window and have your kids draw pictures of the visiting diners.  Store the drawings in a notebook for a sort of visual guest book.  The kids will have lots of fun giving names to their new "friends," and you'll have a great winter boredom buster at your fingertips until spring arrives and you can send them back outside to play.



SUPPLIES
Bird Seed
2 packets of Plain Gelatin (we used Knox)
Wax Paper
Cookie Cutters and/or Jello molds
Cookie sheets
Food Coloring (optional)
Twine
Pencil


INSTRUCTIONS

In a large bowl, make plain gelatin following directions on the package. Instead of cold water use ice cubes so it will gel quickly.  (2 packets makes about 6 birdfeeders)

Add bird seed a little at a time to gelatin, mixing together so seed is completely coated and there is a enough gelatin to bind the two together.  We used 2 cups of bird seed.  You don't want too much extra gelatin because then the birds will not be attracted to your feeder.

(optional) Add food coloring to mixture and stir well to achieve desired color.  For more than one color divide mixture into small bowls before adding food coloring and then create different color batches.

Now take your seed gelatin mixture and create shapes by either filling small Jello molds or scooping a thick layer of the mixture onto a cookie sheet covered with wax paper and then cut out using cookie cutter.  Pull away extra mixture on the outside of the mold.

Make a hole in the top of each shape using a pencil.  Once the molds are filled you will use this hole for the string.  Make the hole in the center of your shape so there is enough strength to hold the string.

Once all your shapes are cut and they each have holes in place, put trays into the refrigerator to set (about 3 hours).  

Once the shapes are set, remove them from their mold and lay back on the wax paper.  Leave to dry out for 2 days.  At this point the shapes should be hardened.

Remove from wax paper and run twine through the hole of the shape and tie in knot.  This will create a loop from which you can hang your new winter bird feeder from a tree branch.

Hang bird feeders outside and watch as your neighborhood birds enjoy!




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