This easy apple bird feeder is a great nature craft to do with children, especially in late autumn and into winter when the birds are struggling to find food.
Stringing up a feeder or two is also a great way to bring birds into your garden if you want to try a bit of bird spotting too, and you might be surprised who comes over for dinner!
There are all sorts of ways to make bird feeders, and different styles (and food) can attract different feathery friends. Some birds are ground feeders for whom a sprinkle of feed on the ground is all you need to do, while others prefer a perch.
This quick and easy apple feeder is a lovely, tactile activity that can be done simply with really young children, but also lends itself to more detail and embellishment to keep older children interested too.
How to make an easy apple bird feeder
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- An apple – any sort!
- Large bird seed – sunflower seeds work well, as you need a large seed that can be poked part-way into the apple.
- Apple corer
- Scissors for string
- (Optional) Good quality kid-friendly binoculars for watching the birds that come to dine!
Apple bird feeder Instructions
1. Use an apple corer to remove the core of the apple. I use this one with the kids as it has a great handle that allows for a secure grip.
A corer is a sharp tool that could injure little fingers if you aren’t careful. So before we begin, I do a mini tool talk with the children to identify the sharp edge. Then I show them how to hold it, and demonstrate how to start removing the core by gently wiggling the sharp part of the corer into the apple until it is far enough in the apple that it can’t slip out. Only at this stage do we push down because now there is no risk of it slipping.
Once the corer is partially embedded, there is practically no risk of injury. So if you are concerned about letting the children try this, you could start off the coring process for little ones, and let them take over once the corer is firmly inside the apple.
If you don’t have a corer, you can use a skewer or a knife to cut out the core instead.
2. Once you have a hole through the middle of your apple, it is time to decorate it with some tasty treats. So gather some bird seeds and poke them part way into the apple, all the way around. About half the seed should be sticking out to encourage the birds to feed.
Some children will do elaborate patterns and designs, and even letters or words, while others will be quite haphazard. Whatever they do, the birds will love it all the same.
Somewhere to sit and eat…
3. Once the apple is completely decorated with seeds, it’s time to make the perch.
Tie two sticks into a cross or X shape. The sticks should be strong and about three or four times longer than the apple is wide, as these will be perches for the birds to sit on.
On some of our apple feeders, the children also poked shorter twigs into the side of the apple, about half way up, to make another perch. This is entirely optional, just be careful that you don’t poke in so many sticks that the apple falls apart!
4. Next, tie a long piece of string onto to the middle of the cross. This long bit of string is what the apple will hang from, so make sure it is long enough for wherever you plan to put the feeder.
Thread the long string through the hole in the apple. The apple should be sitting on your cross sticks, with the string going up through the middle.
And that’s it! The feeder is now ready to hang up somewhere the birds can enjoy it. Don’t forget to also put out a dish of water for them too, as they need a drink as much as they need food.
Remember to take down the feeder after about a week or when it starts to show signs of mould. Birds, just like people, can get sick from food that’s gone bad, so any feeder you use should be cleaned and changed regularly.
More from Rhubarb and Wren
Looking for more fun things to make and do with the kids? Check out these great activities from Rhubarb and Wren!
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Easy Apple Bird Feeder – Quick-Read Instructions
For when you just want to get right to the point…
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An apple – any sort!
Bird seed – sunflower seeds or other large seeds are best.
Scissors for string
(Optional) Good quality kid-friendly binoculars for watching the birds
1. Use an apple corer to remove the centre of an apple
2. Stick bird seeds such as sunflower seeds into the apple skin, going all the way around. The seeds should be about half way in.
3. Tie two sticks into a cross shape to make a perch for the birds.
4. Add a long piece of string, tied securely to the centre of the crossed sticks.
5. Thread the string through the hole in the apple, so that the apple sits on the sticks at the bottom and the string pokes out of the top.
6. Use the long string to hang up your apple feeder.
Hints and Tips:
Replace the apple feeder after about a week or if it starts to show signs of mould.
Make sure to leave out water for the birds too – they will also need a drink.
Hang your feeder where you will be able to watch the birds that come to feed.