Making a simple pinecone bird feeder is a great science project for little ones; not only does it teach them about being aware of the animals that live all around us, it is messy good fun!
The first time I tackled this project was as the science mom at my children’s cooperative preschool. The kids had a blast, and almost everyone at school did the project which was a record. At first I wasn’t sure how were the birds going to eat the birdseed but within a couple weeks our pine cone was completely stripped! I guess the birds enjoyed their treat!
This project is included in our Science Activity Card Pack
How to Make a Pinecone Bird Feeder
Note: If you do this project with a group of kids please note that you may substitute vegetable shortening if you have any students with nut allergies. Another fantastic suggestion from a reader is to substitute mashed banana for the nut butter!
- Peanut Butter, or another nut butter, or vegetable shortening.
- Popsicle sticks
- Step 1 Put the nut butter and birdseed into separate bowls.
- Step 2 Have children choose a pine cone.
- Step 3 Roll the pinecone in nut butter and spread it over the pinecone using popsicle sticks.
- Step 4 Once covered in nut butter, roll the pinecone in the birdseed. Shake excess seed back into the bowl.
- Step 5 Let dry. Once dry, tie a string to the pinecone to hang it.
Hang this outside in a visible spot, either from a tree or on a patio. Over the course of a few days birds will visit the pinecone and begin to eat the birdseed. Within a couple weeks the pine cone should be bare! Just beware, hungry squirrels may also find a way to visit the pinecones.
- Experiment with different nut butters and shortening. Do birds prefer to eat seed off pinecones with a particular scent?
- Try adding cranberries or popcorn to your pinecones and see if the birds enjoy it too.
- What other feeders or habitats can you make to attract local wildlife? What about making a butterfly feeder or insect hotel? Older kids may want try making our birdfeeder mobile!
- Start exploring plants and seeds and discuss what is needed to help the flora in your area grow and thrive. Plant a few of the seeds from the birdseed and see if you can get them to sprout!
Exploring the Science
A bird feeder is a wonderful tool for observing local wildlife and learning about habitats.
A habitat is the environment in which an animal or living organism lives. Discuss what makes a good habitat for birds including the environment, food supply, climate, and other animals living in the area
Place the pinecone bird feeder in an easily observable location where you can watch the types of birds (and other critters) that come to snack on it. Take pictures of the birds or make notes/draw pictures of what they look like and see if you can figure out what species they are. Start a habitat journal to document the wildlife and plants in your area.
If you are working with young children on science projects be sure to see this list of 20+ kids tested projects they will love! See more Science projects for preschoolers
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This was SOOOOO fun and soooo easy. Saw this and less than 5 min I had all the stuff ready for the kids. We happen to have a bunch of different size colorful plastic containers around and 2 big plastic drawers. I put pb in 2 little containers, gave them each a stick and told them to “paint” the cones IN THE DRAWERS (so no messes). They loved it. No yelling by mom since there was no mess in the house. When they were done, they took another container I had bird seed premeasured out and they dumped it on the cone and used their fingers to sprinkle where it didn’t catch prior. Then I took two pipe cleaners and wove around the end of the cone and hung them near our bird feeder. They really enjoyed this and they didn’t get into any trouble.
Ana Dziengel says
Love this story! Do you have a pic? Post it to our FB page!
Mrs. Hatt says
We did this today! My students loved it!!