Friday, April 20, 2012

Recycle, Reuse, Reduce!

Earth Day is this weekend. I hope each of you has something in mind to reduce your own carbon footprint and give back to Mother Earth (and not just on Earth Day). Our family tries to do our part as well. I absolutely love that my kids not only help with recycling but argue over who gets to put something in the bin. Many of the craft projects I do use items that are recycled or repurposed. The cool term is "upcycling."

One of my favorite things to upcycle is toilet paper rolls. We've used them in Christmas trees, turkeys, monsters, binoculars, and today I'm going to show you how to upcycle into bird feeders. Thanks to my friend Mandi for the idea for this craft. It's a variation of the pine cone feeders, but using products from the home. Please note, there is peanut butter in this craft which may not be an option for all kids because of allergies. Here is what you need:

Cardboard Tubes
Peanut Butter
Bird Seed
Knife or Spatula
Plate or Tray
Yarn or Pipe Cleaner
Hole Punch

You can see I didn't use standard toilet paper rolls. I use a lot of tulle in my house. I have two girly girls and I love to make tutus. :) Those are the rolls on which the tulle comes. I prefer them to toilet paper rolls because they are thicker/sturdier and they have a nice base so they can stand up. Keep in mind you can use any toilet paper roll. I also punched 2 holes opposite each other in the top of the tube so the feeder can be hung.

Start by putting a giant glob of peanut butter on a plate. I gave each kiddo a plate and a plastic knife and a roll. Showed them how to spread it on the roll and let them go. One of the kids ate more peanut butter than she put on the roll. No biggie. Cover the entire tube in peanut butter.

Then, put some birdseed on a plate and roll the peanut butter covered tube in the birdseed. Sprinkle on the seeds to cover all the PB.

At this point you can put the tube back on its base (if you have one) and be done. Otherwise, you can thread yarn or pipe cleaners through the holes punched at the top for the feeder to be hung. Easy peasy, right? The kids loved this and we hung one of my girls' feeders out right away. There's not a lot of variety of birds here in Montana, but we already have a bird house feeder in our back yard, so the finches and robins know where to come for a snack. One of the great things about this craft is once the birds eat all the seeds, you can toss the tube into the recycle bin. Happy Earth Day everyone! Recycle, reuse, reduce!

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