Building a Birdhouse With a Child

Making a birdhouse with my child was a fun activity using nature to interact with nature. His birdhouse has been swinging in the garden from a cherry blossom tree for over a year now and I’m pleasantly suprised how it has endured the seasonal changes and weather.
Building a birdhouse was an activity which certainly required adult assistance and was quite time consuming for a seven year old. Some older children might be able to construct one independently, although a bit of guidance from an adult would most likely be helpful, particularly during the first time. We have found it a good project to work on during the holidays or on a weekend that has ample free time available. Jonty has made two now. The first one hangs in our garden, the second he gave to his best friend for Christmas. We really need to make a third. A friend asked Jonty to make her one and he said he would, and even though she has made Jonty some recycled birdhouses, we haven’t reciprocated, which I feel awful about, but it is a time consuming activity and our lives are so busy. But no excuses, we really ought to do it soon.
The first step was to go hunting in the yard for leaves and sticks. We have plenty of gum trees around us so this wasn’t too hard. Depending on where you live you may need to go on a bushwalk or an excursion to a national park. The trick was to find sticks a variety of sizes that were able to be broken into smaller sizes easily enough.
We used an empty juice bottle as the base to stick the sticks and leaves onto. Cutting the holes out for the birdhouse was tricky and certainly needed to be done by an adult. We made sure that the hanging string was in place right from the start.
Birdhouse made by a child
After that it was a case of using the hot glue gun to apply the sticks. There were a few burnt fingers here (for both of us!). Assembling the sticks require a bit of thought and time to fit them together like a jigsaw so there was minimal gaps. I would line up a stick, Jonty would glue it and apply it to the container. Just a hint, we ended up sitting on a large piece of cardboard to catch the dripping glue. This was the time consuming part of the project.
Child making Birdhouse with hot glue
Jonty first put bread and grapes (his idea!) into the birdhouse. The next time we went shopping we bought birdseed and kept a container in the pantry. It lasted a long time because the birds haven’t seemed to cotton on to the free food!
Birdhouse food
Although this was a time consuming project, it was a great chance to spend some quality time being creative with my son. If you have a block of time, I would heartily recommend this as an activity to try with your child. It’s also very exciting when birds eat from it, and a great chance to learn the names of various birds.
Project Birdhouse
Do you have birds in your garden? Do you ever feed them or have a birdbath? Any hints on tempting the birds to eat from our birdhouse more regularly?

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  1. This is a really cute project, Caitlin. I will show it to Dave because he’s the creative one in the family 🙂 I think the girls would get a kick out of seeing the many birds in our yard visit a birdhouse that they’ve made.

  2. What a GREAT idea Caitlin! I think my nearly 5 year old would love constructing this although he might get bored of fiddling so much to complete it. We have plenty of birds flying around but currently no forms of feeding them.

    1. If you have the birdlife, it really would be just perfect. The fiddling is hard for the younger kids, it really will require a bit of help for a 5 y.o. But the good thing about that age group is that they still think they made it by themselves at the end!

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