Making fat balls for the birds

Wonderful for all groups, and children love this, it’s a great sensory activity and can be enjoyed by all.

Length of activity: 30 mins – 1 hour

You will need

Large plastic bowls, wooden spoons, gloves (the latex free medical ones work well), lard, bird seed, oats, left over mince meat or dried fruit, and aprons, old fruit nets (the kind often found around oranges or onions), old margarine tubs or small yogurt pots, or empty half coconuts with a hole cut in the top for hanging, string and scissors. (Washing facilities or wet wipes are also useful, this can be  messy play!)

What to do

Make sure the lard is reasonably soft, and put a block in each bowl. Mash this up with spoons or squidge in gloved hands.
Add 2 mugfuls of bird seed to the bowl, along with one of oats, and a couple of tablespoons of fruit or mincemeat.
Squidge or mix together until the mixture has seeds all the way through.
Roll into balls, just smaller than a tennis ball and place in the nets, tie up with string, leaving enough string for hanging onto trees etc, and trim the top of the nets.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to use nets, thread some string through the yogurt/margarine tubs or coconut husks, then press the mixture in these, then hang around the garden.
The birds will be waiting for you!

Discussion

What birds will come into your garden? (Various garden birds)
Why use lard and seeds?( For bird central heating and energy)
Do birds help gardeners and how? (Pest control, beauty, biodiversity)

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