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Nest Zest: a craft to do with your children this Spring Equinox

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Give material to your wild feathered friends for nest-building, as the Earth carries us into spring! This fun and simple craft project is great for most young and grade-school children.

Scour your house for scraps of cloth, yarn, felt, stuffing, etc. Michele of Acton MA, artist and mother, chooses to use only natural materials, “so there won’t be polyester floating around, because it’ll never break down in nature.” While birds might be more interested in your final craft if you use brightly-colored cloth, Michele looks instead for greens, browns, and grays, so that predators will not be attracted to the finished nests. To attract birds, you can firmly tie on brightly-colored yarn when you are done if you wish.

Once you have all your scraps gathered together, you need a cage of some type to put them in. Some people like to buy wire cages designed to hold a corn cob for birds, as at http://curlybirds.typepad.com/curly-birds/2012/04/nesting-birds.html. Others hand-make empty spheres out of wire, as at http://paintcutpaste.com/nest-zest. The latter method is creative and cheap, but not very suited to young children. Michele prefers to buy square cages designed to hold blocks of suet for birds. (Bonus: You can re-use these by filling them with suet when they are empty!)

Let the children get creative filling the cages with scraps! If you wish, talk about the birds as you work. Discuss the nests they will build, the baby birds, and the new life that comes in the spring. Encourage the children’s natural inclination to be involved with and help our fellow beings on the Earth.

When it’s done, use fingers or tweezers to pull corners of scraps out the holes of the cage for the birds to grab.

This craft project is appropriate for children with food allergies who cannot participate in birdseed-related projects.

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