What is a Nesting Material Box?
A Nesting Material Box is a container packed with materials that birds use to make nests from. It’s a great way to give back to the birds that do so much for us! Let’s give them bird’s nest materials!
How do birds help the environment?
Birds are vital to our ecosystem. They provide pest control, lumber, erosion control, and oxygenate the air we breath.
On top of all that, they are enjoyable to watch and they relax us with their sweet songs!
This DIY nesting material box is a gift to the crafter, as well as to nature. This activity provides an opportunity to connect with nature and to teach the next generation how important it is to give back to the plants and animals that sustain our planet and all its inhabitants.
What do birds make nests out of?
My inspiration for this activity came from 4 year old. Last Spring, she found a bird’s nest on one of our evening walks and she noted that the bird that made the nest used all sorts of materials, including pine straw, grass, and even a discarded ribbon.
Ever since then, she and her 2 year old brother have made sure to leave a pile of nesting materials out for the birds before we go inside for the day.
Every single day.
Her thoughtfulness and sensitivity to the needs of every living creature has always warmed my heart.
Following a child’s interests
Lately, she has been crafting a lot, tying knots and connecting things. I came across a nesting material box at a local wildlife conservation booth at a festival last weekend and thought a DIY nesting material box would be a lot of fun for us to make!
Since Robins are the main inhabitants of our Deciduous Magnolia, we figured early Spring was a great time to set out our box.
Making a Nesting Material Box is a great craft for kids of all ages
This craft is fun for children of all ages. Heck, it was fun for me! The amount of involvement you can expect from your child is going to increase with age, of course.
A toddler craft
A one or two year old will have fun gathering nesting material from the yard and filling the nesting material box.
A preschooler craft
A preschooler might enjoying more involvement, like gathering sturdy twigs, cutting the twine, and tying knots.
An elementary school craft
An elementary school-aged child would likely enjoy measuring the twigs and assisting in the planning of the nesting material box.
A middle school and high school craft
This is an activity that can be tasked to middle and high school children. It encourages creativity and critical thinking skills, along with mathematical skills.
A craft for homeschooled children
For the homeschooling parent, there are any variety of assignments that can go along with this activity!
Geometry, science, biology…the opportunities are numerous!
The Nesting Box is an environmentally friendly activity
The purpose of crafting the box out of twigs and twine plays a role all of its own.
The nesting material box doesn’t create any waste. Nothing needs to be thrown out. Every bit of material will return to the Earth.
It’s also a great lesson for kids that fun doesn’t need to cost money and you don’t have to go to Michael’s to get crafting supplies. With a little imagination, your whole yard can be a craft supply store!
Supplies needed for your box
Supplies Needed: Scissors, Twine, Nature
Steps to making your Nesting Material Box
Step 1: Gather twigs from outside. Make sure they are not easily broken. The number of twigs you need depends on the size box you want to make. (For our box, we used 18 twigs.)
Step 2: Snap the twigs to get them relatively the same size.
Step 3: Fashion the first 2 sides of the box by laying twigs across each other and fastening with twine. You can do this by wrapping the twine in a figure 8 pattern or by cutting the twine into smaller pieces and tying knots (above).
We choose knots for step 3 simply because my 4 year old is wild about tying knots and fastening things to each other and I figured she would enjoy doing this part. (She did!)
Step 4: Connect a twig at each corner joint of your Nesting Material Box. These twigs will connect your 2 sides.
Step 5: Connect your other side at the opposite end of the 4 twigs the same way you connected them to side 1.
Step 6: Use your remaining twigs to create spaces large enough to put nesting materials in, but small enough to where they wont fall right out.
Step 7: Make a handle by braiding twine. This is what your Nesting Box will hang from in the tree.
Step 8: Collect nesting materials from around your yard. Grass, twigs, rocks, leaves, lichen, and pine straw. Scrap crafting materials, such as small sections of twine, yarn, and ribbon work well, too.
Step 9: Hang your nesting material box from a branch or, if no branches are accessible, you can simply place the box in your yard.
Step 10: Enjoy watching the birds from your window and refill your nesting material box as needed!
The DIY Nesting Material Box is an activity can be modified as needed, to suit the needs of the crafter.
Twigs can be replaced with small dowels. Twine can be replaced with sections of pipe cleaner to be fastened by a child that hasn’t yet mastered knots. Really, the possibilities are endless!
I had a ton of fun creating this activity! It will definitely be a warm weather tradition in our home from here on out!
I hope your family finds this craft as a way to bond with each other and with nature! Enjoy!
As always, feedback is invited!
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