By Rev. Doug Forbes
Bird feeders are a great way to attract a wide variety of beautiful birds to your yard. Birds bring color and joy into our lives, and they eat a lot of pesky bugs too!
For our bird feeder activity you need: Bibles, Bible concordances, clean ½ gallon cardboard orange juice containers, bird seed, wooden dowels, scissors, newspapers, strong yarn or string, a screw driver, a small saw, tempera paints, mild detergent and brushes.
Begin with a Bible study on birds. Instruct your students to use their Bibles and concordances to discover Bible passages regarding birds and different types of birds. Allow time for each child to share his or her findings. Instruct your students to turn to I Kings 17:2-6 and ask for volunteers to each read a verse until the entire passage has been read. Explain how God used the birds to feed Elijah in his time of need. Tell your students that just as God used the birds to help Elijah, God is ready, willing and able to help them. The next time they see a bird it should serve as a reminder that God’s help is always only a prayer away! Next, read Psalm 84:1-4 and explain how God loves all His creatures and even sparrows were welcome in His house.
Read Genesis 2:15 and explain that our job is to take care of God’s beautiful creation and that includes feeding the birds!
Place newspapers on the tables to protect them, and give each student an orange juice container. Instruct your students to measure two inches up from the bottom of the container and cut a two inch line across the center of the container on the front and on both sides. (Do not cut the back side.) Cut upwards four inches from the corners of your first cut and fold the front up to create a flap. On the sides on the carton cut upwards 4”, cut across the top 2” and remove the 4” X 2” pieces of the juice carton. Measure one inch below your first cut on each side, and punch small round holes to fit a wooden dowel through. Cut the wooden dowels so that there will be two inches of dowel sticking out – on each side for the birds to sit on and insert the dowel. Punch two small holes in the top of the Juice container and tie one end of a two foot piece of yarn or string to each hole so that the bird feeder can be hung up. Mix a small amount of detergent into various colors of tempera paints. And encourage your students to creatively paint their birdfeeders in any way that they wish.
When the bird feeders have dried, place just under two inches of bird seed into the bottom of each and have the children hang their feeders in their yards. Encourage your young people to take notes and pictures of the birds visiting the feeders and bring their information back to class for further discussion and identification.