This year, a lot of our grandparent and great-grandparent gifts will be homemade. It's always a struggle to find things to buy for them anyway, and this year the funds just aren't there for extravagant gifts for everyone on our list. I decided to have the kids tackle these gifts, but it was hard to find a good project for Luke to make.
There's always pictures OF him, and they're cute - but he doesn't do much but pose, and he hates that. He could MAKE a picture, but so far he only likes to draw storms and snakes, and they're still kind of hard to tell apart. You can't rush fine motor skills! I could use HIM to make a picture, like a handprint something or other, and they are always cute, but Luke would have very little involvement or creative input - I would do all the work.
I finally decided to let him make pine cone bird feeders. This is an oldie where I come from, but I was surprised to learn when I started working at a local preschool that the director there had never seen this, so maybe it will be new to you, too.
You'll need a pine cone or large plastic disposable cup, some string, a few tablespoons of peanut butter per feeder, a craft stick or plastic knife, a small sandwich baggie, and a few handfuls of birdseed.
First, cut a length of string and make a loop about an inch in diameter. "Lasso" the smaller end of the pine cone with the loop. If you're using a cup, poke a small hole in the bottom of the cup, knot the end of the string, and feed it through. When finished, this will be the hanger for the feeder. (Luke thought that he was the best string cutter ever and laughed and laughed while doing this. It's the little things, you know.)
Using the craft stick, smear peanut butter on the pine cone, covering the whole thing. Luke's started out like this ...
and ended up looking like this when he finished:
After you've thoroughly smeared your pine cone and gotten very sticky, put it in a dish with your birdseed. Roll it around or scoop the birdseed up and sprinkle it on top of the pine cone. It will stick nicely.
Luke couldn't resist licking off some stray peanut butter. It's clean - and an extra seed is healthy, right?? ;-)
After liberally covering the peanut butter in birdseed, your pine cone should look like this:
To keep it neat (and prevent me from vacuuming up birdseed for weeks) we then wrapped the cone itself in a sandwich baggie. I let the string hang outside so it wouldn't get sticky. We found that our smallish pine cones fit well inside rectangular butter boxes and we wrapped them right away. When the grandpas open them, they'll be ready to tie onto a low branch or beam and watch the birds enjoy!