Today is New Year’s Eve, so the boys and I thought we would welcome in the New Year by making a gift for the birds. When I was little I would gather pine cones, smear them with peanut butter and roll them in bird seed. I thought today was a perfect day to hand down this tradition.
Items Needed For Today’s Adventure:
- Adventurous kids & parent
- Pine cones
- Creamy peanut butter w/ spoons
- Shallow dish i.e pie pan, roasting pan
We started off the day by talking about how we could make a New Year’s Celebration for nature. Us humans are going to be celebrating with chinese food, fire pits and sparklers, but how could we help the animals celebrate? I suggested that we make the birds a winter treat, and the boys jumped right on that bandwagon. We bundled up and headed outside for a hike in search of pine cones which would act as the vehicle for the treat. Our hike turned into an adventure as it usually does, by exploring the little meandering stream, balancing on fallen logs, and turning over rocks looking for treasures. That is part of the fun, going out for a walk and never knowing what kind of adventure you are going to have. Yes we sometimes have a mission, but when the kids go off on a tangent adventure, I follow and encourage the exploration knowing that it is going to lead to something wonderful.
We eventually found some pine cones which I was put in charge of carrying since their hands were full of rocks, pine needles, and make shift walking sticks.
Once home we placed our pine cone treasures on the table and examined which ones would be used to smear the peanut butter all over. The boys both decided to use two of the large pine cones we collected prior to Christmas. Well, even if we didn’t use the ones we found today, it was well worth the adventure to go looking for new ones. After choosing our pine cones I filled a small container with bird seed. I used a container that I had on hand which was an unused small kitty litter box, but pie pans, or roasting pans work very well. I then got two small bowls and filled them with creamy peanut butter and gave each boy a plastic spoon and plastic knife. Since we work on our glass kitchen table I didn’t put any newspaper down to help contain the mess, but I highly recommend doing so if you don’t have an easy to clean table.
I let the boys smear the peanut butter all over the pine cones, yes this does get messy but memory making isn’t always clean! With a little help from mom their pine cones were slathered up really well and ready for the bird seed. The boys used two methods for applying bird seed which they came up with on their own. They rolled the pine cones in the seed as well as sprinkled it on.
Once the pine cones were fully loaded with bird seed, I took some twine and tied a knot near the top of the pine cone, and then again so that they could hang. You can also use a pipe cleaner to wrap around the stem to form a loop then use string to hang. We hung ours on our deck so that we could see who comes to enjoy the treats, however you can hang from branches or bushes what ever you can find.
We are eagerly awaiting to see who will come feast on the presents we made. The boys have been running up to the window all afternoon in hopes of catching a bird snacking. I am hoping that my Carolina Wren Francine will come check it out. She is such a curious little bird!
I hope you take some time today and get out and explore nature! Happy New Year!