The kids in our Tinker Group really really like power tools! So when it came time to build a bird feeder, we powered up the drill (Brrzzzzzzzzzzz!) and made this simple feeder, inspired by Inner Child Fun.
This project gave us a chance to practice using the power drill, and let us introduce the vice grip. It was a fairly simple process — drill a bunch of holes in the branch, then fill them with a mix of nut butter and seed. Detailed instructions are below, with notes on how to review for safety as you go along. As always, you know your children best. So, support them as needed for a safe build, and be sure to supervise them for all of their tool use.
- Vice Grip
- Power Drill and Drill Bits
- Thick Branch, cut down to about 18 inches
- Bird Seed
- Peanut Butter (or Sunflower Seed Butter if allergies are a concern)
- Secure the branch in the vice grip. Because the branch is irregularly shaped, be sure to test its stability. It may be necessary to select a different position of the branch to better secure it in the vice. Let your child experiment with this and see how it works.
- Set up your drill with a smaller bit (choose a size that will be easy to thread twine through). This is a great time to review drill safety and the proper way to hold the drill. (Younger builders may need you to hold the drill with them.)
- Drill a single hole straight through the branch, an inch or so from one end. You will thread string through this hole later to make a loop for hanging the feeder.
- Change the drill bit to a larger size. (Again, this is great practice for kids to become more familiar with the drill. Emphasize safe handling of the drill bit when it could be hot.) You’ll be drilling the holes for the food, so go as big with the drill bit as makes sense for your branch.
- Drill the holes for the bird seed mix. These will only go about 1/3 of the way through the branch, and should be spaced periodically around the branch.
- Thread a string through the top hole for hanging the feeder.
- Fill the larger holes with a bird-seed and nut-butter mix. (We started with a 1:1 ratio of nut butter to seed, and then added as much seed as we could, being sure to keep the mixture sticky.)
- Hang the feeder, and wait. Our group decided to decorate the bird feeder with additional flowers, and actually ended up attracting hummingbirds to the flowers, as well as squirrels to the seed!