Not all birds fly south for the winter. Identify the feathered friends that frequent your neighborhood and then make a birdhouse with your family using simple supplies like a cardboard milk carton and nature finds. When the house is finished, it will be so rewarding to look out a window on a winter's day and see a bird or two perched on the birdhouse your family has made.
You and your kids will love crafting this fanciful birdhouse because it offers so many possibilities without using a saw, hammer or woodworking equipment.
Here's how to create your birdhouse:
1. Rinse out and dry a half-gallon juice or milk carton. Staple the carton closed along the top. Have an adult cut out a 1 1/2-inch-diameter circle on one of the side panels of the carton, 3 inches above the base of the carton.
2. To make a perch, poke a small hole below the large hole. Poke a matching hole in the opposite side of the carton. Insert a 6-inch-long wood dowel or smooth sturdy stick through both small holes.
3. Start decorating. Using a low-temperature glue gun or regular household glue and a brush, start applying twigs, pieces of bark, dried pods, leaves, etc., wherever your imagination says they belong. You might add a few plastic trinkets or an old silk flower or two, if the space seems right.
4. Punch a hole in the top of the house. Loop a piece of wire or twine through the hole and hang the house from a tree branch or a fence post. You're done! Now, watch as birds discover the new abode.
"The grandkids are coming!" tip: Young grandchildren will enjoy making a treat for the birds. Start with a pine cone. Roll it in peanut butter until it's completely covered and then roll it in birdseed. Tie a string around it and hang it from a tree branch.
Donna Erickson's award-winning television series, "Donna's Day," is airing on PBS nationwide. Watch it in the Twin Cities at 1:30 p.m. Fridays on Channel 2 and 5:30 p.m. Sundays on Channels 13 and 17. Sign up for Donna's e-newsletter at donnasday.com. Her latest book is "Donna Erickson's Fabulous Funstuff for Families."