Eleanor at the moment is busy – normal toddler busy, but busy nonetheless. So I thought some dedicated craft time was in order, usually I can leave her to her own devices to do her painting (just watercolour type cheapo paints with dainty little brush y’know?) but we hadn’t gotten our craft game on in quite a while…I’d dare say before Harriet’s arrival! The dedicated one-on-one time I knew would also benefit her, fill her cup to then send her off for further independent play. Or that was the idea!
I had a collection of cardboard empty toilet rolls taunting me in my sewing room (which I know, I know, I haven’t done another update on – I’m sorry! Been busy birthing and sustaining human life…) and Eleanor has been quite keen on birds lately, asking what the different bird calls are and collecting feathers in the garden. Our big old chestnut tree in the backyard was begging for a bird feeder, and although I had something grand and Hampton’s chic like this in my mind, a slap-dash completely beautiful-ugly toddler creation full of love and big smiles was in order…
Toddler Craft Cardboard Tube Bird Feeder
You will need…
Cardboard tubes (as many as you’d like, I used nine)
Assorted sticks and twigs
Choose a long straight and sturdy stick to be your main ‘spine’ of your bird feeder. Cut slits in the sides of 4-5 of your cardboard tubes, I did criss-crosses but my tubes then moved around a bit up and down the stick (which Eleanor liked actually). If you want your bird feeder a bit more immobile I’d just do slits, or small crosses, depending on the width of your stick.
Push your stick through each hole you’ve created on the tubes, adding tubes until you have something resembling this…
Then cut slits or crosses in a few of the cardboard tubes on your stick. I envisaged that I would have sticks coming off each tube, but in the end it was more random (hello: toddler craft!) and worked better this way as the tubes were actually quite bulky on the sides. Less was more.
Push sticks through the holes you’ve made and attach smaller twigs as you go, creating ‘arms’ off your main ‘spine’ of the bird feeder. Here’s where I let Eleanor decide how she wanted the bird feeder to ‘look’, asking her questions about how the birds would like to use the feeder, hide in the tubes and sit on the twigs, which until we were actually putting the bird feeder together like this I don’t think she understood what we were doing! Soon you should have a magnificent creation such as this…
Great! Now…comes the real toddler-craft-headache-inducing part. But, that’s all part of ‘toddler craft’ so just breathe and relax and remember all messes (well, most messes) can be cleaned up…and mess means they’re having fun!
Mix together a few tablespoons of peanut butter and honey, heat them up a little bit in the microwave to melt together and get a more gooey consistancy. Then liberally paint the gooey mixture on your cardboard tubes. Eleanor was particularly insistent and *ahem* creative in this process. But: fun.
Now with your goo covered creation, sprinkle your birdseed over the top. Hopefully the seed will all stick to the peanut butter/honey covered cardboard tubes, I had to be quite generous in the ‘sprinkling’ in parts (probably mainly due to Eleanor’s more ‘dab dab’ approach rather than slathering, so be generous with your painting!) A finer birdseed mix could have worked better also, not that Eleanor cared, she said the birds would think it was “da-lishus!” Finally, attach a piece of string to the top of your bird feeder and hang in your tree or from your verandah.
Eleanor was so proud of her creation, and as predicted it definitely had that ‘beautiful-ugly-toddler-craft’ look to it. But as I see it swinging from our chestnut tree I also see her delighted little face and her chubby thumbs up. She said once I hung it up “I did it, mummy! I did it!” Yes you did darling girl…well, with the help of mummy’s knife skills, microwave operation, stick pushing abilities and gritted teeth through the epic birdseed explosion. Pretty sure I will be finding pieces of corn and sunflower seeds through my sewing room for years. But the birds, I’m sure, will be kept busy in their new home/restaurant/supermarket/playcentre, whilst the two year old promptly ran off and smeared peanut butter/honey all through her hair…