Make a bird feeder out of materials you have at home! A few examples are shown to help you see that you can really use whatever you have on hand. Keep your bird feeder plain or decorate it however you wish! Created by Amy Arato, RHA Educator

Level: All agess

Lesson Duration: 1-2 hours+

Setting: Indoors or Backyard


  • A container (milk carton, juice bottle, coffee can* or other)
    • *If using a coffee can, you will also need a can opener and hot glue gun.
  • Scissors
  • Hole Punch
  • Stick (about as thick as a pencil and a few inches longer than your container is wide)
  • Yarn (or cord, twine, string, etc.)
  • Optional items for decorating: acrylic paints, paintbrushes, hot glue gun, craft supplies such as buttons or felt, and natural objects such as acorns or pinecones

The Activity:

  • Find a container in your recycling bin. Almost any container will work! Remove labels and clean it well. Here are three examples: a coffee can, a milk carton and a juice bottle.

  • Other supplies you will need are: scissors, a hole punch, a stick and yarn (or cord, twine, string, etc.).

  • Once your materials are gathered, you can start by cutting two openings on opposite sides of your container. Do not cut the opening too close to the bottom of the container to allow room for birdseed and a perch. For a plastic bottle or carton, you can simply cut a rectangle or hole in the sides of your container. If you are using a coffee can, see step 3a.
    • To use the coffee can, you will also need a can opener and a hot glue gun. Begin by using a can opener to remove the bottom of the can. Cut the lid in half and hot glue one half to each opening.

  • Use a hole punch to punch a hole about ½” below your opening on either side of your container.

  • Slide a stick through both holes to create a perch on either side.

  • Optional supplies that you may want are: acrylic paints, paintbrushes, glue, craft items such as buttons or felt and natural objects such as acorns or pinecones. You can use these if you would like to decorate your bird feeder.

  • If you choose to decorate, you can use household craft items or natural items. It is totally up to you!

  • Next you will need to use yarn (or cord, twine, string, etc.) to attach a hanger to your bird feeder.

  • Fill your bird feeder with seed.

  • And finally, hang your bird feeder in a tree!

Wrap Up:

How long does it take for the birds to find your bird feeder?

What kinds of birds are visiting?

How did you like this activity? Please share any questions, comments, or photos that you and your child have on the Raritan Headwaters Learning Community Facebook Page!

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