These days, you don't need to eat way too many Popsicles to make a project out of them -- most craft stores carry them by the box. Take a weekend afternoon soon to bond with your child by creating a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks. Your child will enjoy it for months to come as he watches birds come and go from his creation.
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The triangular A-frame shape lends itself to an easier birdhouse project, especially if you're working with younger kids on the craft. Cut poster board or balsa wood in three even rectangular pieces, and a triangular shape with sides that equal the lengths of the rectangles. Put a hole in one end for the bird. Glue Popsicle sticks lengthwise on the rectangular shapes and on each end, making sure to cut the sticks around the bird hole. Before putting all of your pieces together, glue the roof pieces together, and loop a heavy string through the roofline so you can hang the house later. You and your child can paint the birdhouse in muted colours (birds tend to shy away from artificiality so the colours should be understanded) , and hang it from a branch near a window. This type of birdhouse is suitable to attract small birds like wrens and finches to nest.
Milk Carton Birdhouse
Use a large quart-sized or half-gallon sized milk carton as your base for a tall birdhouse that can sit on a fencepost or hang from a post. Once you have emptied the carton, staple the top of the carton back together and cut a circular hole about 2 1/2 inches in diameter approximately 2 inches from the top. Glue Popsicle sticks horizontally on the "roof" and down two sides, then vertically on the two opposite sides. Glue a double layer on the base of the milk carton, allowing them to extend beyond the bottom, for a little "bird porch." Paint the birdhouse in earth tones or stain it with a non-toxic wood stain. Sprinkle birdseed on the "porch" to attract bluebirds, chickadees or martins.
Old Log Cabin
For a more rustic look, combine Popsicle sticks with twigs gathered from the yard or woods to make a birdhouse that looks like an old log cabin. Cut a pattern for your house from posterboard, and glue the Popsicle sticks to the pattern pieces, and then together in sections to build your house. Use the twigs to glue around windows or door shapes, or over the entire side walls, to create a rustic, log-cabin effect. Let the kids be creative with their patterns; it is not necessary to create perfect lines, as sometimes a more "crooked" look can add to the rustic charm of the birdhouse. The key is to have fun building the house with your kids, and then finding a good spot outside, where your child can see the house from a window, even in wintertime.
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