For the Birds


Estimated time to complete activity: 30 mins (not including overnight drying)
Ideal for ages 3 to 8

Prepare a special treat to help our feathered friends stay nourished! In this DIY project inspired by Mary Anne Barkhouse: Ark/ive, families will create their own molded bird feeders out of gelatin and bird seed. Once your feeders are complete, have some fun outdoors, watching and identifying the species of birds local to you!


Materials Needed:

  • 1 cup bird seed mix
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 small envelope of unflavored gelatin
  • Ribbon, twine, string, or yarn
  • Cookie cutters
  • Wax paper
  • Cookie sheet
  • Straws


Molded bird feeder

Step one:

First add an envelope of unflavored gelatin to a pot. Then add 1/4 cup of water and bring it to a simmer. Continuing stirring until all the gelatin is dissolved.

Step two:

Next add 1 cup of bird seed to a bowl. Carefully pour in the gelatin solution and stir until it is evenly mixed with the bird seed.

Step three:

Place some wax paper on top of a cookie sheet.  Then lay your cookie cutters on top of the wax paper and spoon the birdseed mixture all the way to the top. The mixture will be really sticky, so take the back of your spoon to pack it in tightly and smooth out the top.

Step four:

Next, cut a straw that’s about an inch to an inch and a half long and poke a hole through the top of each cookie cutter mold. Make sure that it goes all the way through because this is the hole you will use to string your ribbon for hanging. Leave the straw in while the mixture is drying.

Step five:

Allow the mixture to dry inside the cookie cutters overnight. Then slowly slide them out of the cookie cutters, remove the straws and string ribbon through them to hang on your tree.

Step six:

Once your feeders are complete, have some fun outdoors, watching and identifying the species of birds local to you! Check out the resources below for help detemining which birds you are seeing.


Merlin Bird ID Ap –

Free, instant bird ID help for the birds of North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

The National Geographic Kids Bird Guide of North America – Barrie Public Library

Featuring 100 species of birds from coast to coast this colorful guide helps kids identify and understand birds.

Wild About Birds – Canadian Wildlife Federation

Learn what you can do to help bird species at risk.

Don’t forget to post your creations on Twitter and Instagram. Use the hashtag #Arkive and mention us @MacLarenArt so we can share all your creative work!

Explore the world of wildlife conservation through FREE activities inspired by Mary Anne Barkhouse’s virtual residency Ark/ive. Visit the virtual platform for details: #ExploreArkive

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