A craft playdate that also gives you the opportunity to enjoy some wildlife observation? Yes, please! (There are also links to other hummingbird activities at the end of this post.) There is just something really cool about hummingbirds. Maybe it’s the way they appear to defy the laws of nature. Maybe it’s that they are dizzyingly fast. (Kind of like my kids.) Maybe it’s that they are just really beautiful. I don’t know exactly what makes them so appealing, but these smaller than pint sized pollinators are also important to our ecosystem. Because they are so small, they are also perfect for Backyard Scientists to observe. To start our hummingbird observations, we decided to put a feeder in our yard. And since everything is more fun with our friends, we invited some of them over to help us make hummingbird feeders.
To make the hummingbird feeders, you’ll need:
- hummingbird feeder tubes (see below)
- a glass or plastic bottle (preferably clear) for each child
- craft wire
- pony beads
- Wire cutters
We chose a nice, sunny day to assemble these in the back yard. We set up a tray for each child with pre-cut wire and a double handful of beads, and re-filled as necessary. Our tip is to cut the wire longer than you think you need it to be- the length you need is affected by exactly how you wrap the bottle, and sometimes you’ll need more wire than others. It’s much easier to cut off extra than it was to splice in extra wire.
The moms worked together with the kids to wrap the bottles- the most effective method for younger kids was for mom to do all the twisting and kiddo to select and add beads as they went. If you use a small-ish bottle, this works up before little attention spans wear out, and you’ll waste less hummingbird food, as the contents need to be changed to keep bacteria from growing. Be sure to use the correct food recipe- food with the wrong calorie content can actually starve hummingbirds because their energy needs are so high. Have fun!