this post is truly for the birds… it’s a way to help our little winged friends pimp their nests for spring, while also using up the scraps you have cluttering up that art bin.
think of these as ornaments for springtime… to be hung outside on the trees in your yard so that birds can peck into them, between the wires, to retrieve lovely adornments for the nests they’re building. this is also a great wintertime project, especially if you are in a snowy area, as it is harder for birds to find scraps and things with which to create nests in such conditions. over the winter, i saw a nest kit made in what looked like a tiny crab pot cage in a gift shop. these can be made inside of lots of things – think mesh bags from the grocery store, little crafty bird cages, etc. i opted to come up with my own homemade version.
the first part is a grown-up (or older child) task: take some wire (i recommend 20 gauge or thicker) and wrap it around one of your child’s balls (ours was tennis ball size, but you can use any sized ball you wish.) i used one of my daughter’s squishy water balls so that i could mush it to slip it out easily when i was finished wrapping.
after you’ve wrapped it sufficiently, bring the ends of the wire to meet at the top, for a loop, and twist around it with some small pliers. then gently pull the ball out of a larger opening. once you do that, you may need to manipulate your wire back into a ball shape with your hands. you can get creative with sizes and shapes. i strung a couple of wooden beads into ours for fun.
then grab your little one and go hunting through your art cabinet/closet/drawer/bin for scraps of felts, fabrics, ribbons, raffia, moss, feathers, or anything that seems soft and strong enough to hold up to rain. think earth-friendsly and biodegradable. (no plastics, please!)
if scraps are large, cut them into little strips.
you and your child can have fun stuffing the wire ball full of these scraps. we enjoyed thinking of color schemes or themes for each one.
now just hang your little orb on a tree outside and see if it draws any feathered friends to it. days or weeks later, it can be fun to take your child out on a nest quest in your yard (or neighborhood) to find little birdie homes that include your groovy treasures. one fun part is that once the birds have emptied your orbs, you can refill them!
these make great gifts for spring birthdays, easter, earth day, mother’s day, and father’s day! just be sure to include a note with it so the recipient knows just what to do with it and doesn’t think you haven’t lost your mind by sending them a ball of art scraps.