Let Kids Go Wild in the Garden

winter, colors, landscape architecture

Wildlife gardens provide a great opportunity for children to learn about nature in their own backyard.  Here are some ideas to let kids go wild in the garden.

Fall and winter are crucial seasons to provide food and shelter for birds.  Migrating birds may pass through your yard on a thousand mile trek; those who remain are faced with diminished food supplies and freezing temperatures.  Kids can have fun and feel good about a project that helps feed or shelter birds that stay through the winter.

Kids love making pine cone feeders.  You’ll need pine cones, Crisco shortening, a plastic knife, birdseed, and yard or string.  Peanut butter is optional.  Let kids spread Crisco and peanut butter in the cones ridges, then roll in birdseed.  Help them suspend the cone outdoors, near a window, from a length of string or yarn.  (Brightly colored yarn may be more noticeable to birds.)  Hang the creations outdoors in the garden.  Kids love the messiness of this project, so be prepared!

Fall is the best time to plant trees and shrubs that offer food and shelter for birds.  Hollies, winter berries, crabapples and hemlocks are a few examples.  Your efforts will make a permanent contribution to the wildlife in your garden while setting an example of environmental stewardship for your child.