December can be an exciting time for children with Christmas approaching but with no school to keep them busy, finding things to keep them occupied can be somewhat tiring at times. This fun activity will bring Christmas, the outdoors and bored children together!
What you’ll need:
- Cookie Cutters – as many shapes as you can get your hands on!
- Suet – ask at your local butchery or even in the meat section at the grocery store for a small bag, preferably already minced up.
- Wild Bird Seed – we suggest this specific see because the finer the seed, the easier it will be to squeeze into the different shapes and it will stick together more readily than the clumpier seeds.
- Ribbon or String – buy a couple of different colours, depending on how colourful you’d like to make your hanging loops.
- Wax Paper – So you don’t ruin mom’s new wooden chopping board or your lovely new Christmas decorations.
- Scissors – adult supervision at all times and no running with them!
Gather all your goodies for a fun filled couple of hours making a mess all in the spirit of Christmas and rope mom or dad in to do their part for you by slowly melting about 500g of suet in a pot on a low heat on the stove. Let it cool down a little allowing it to get a bit thick so it’s not too hot to work with but you should still be able to pour it so don’t let it stand for too long.
It’s time to get those little hands dirty, just like all kids should. Take one cup of birdseed and mix it into your melted and slightly hardened suet to make a nice thick and sticky paste.
Lay a sheet of wax paper down on a chopping board and place your cookie cutters on the wax paper. The more shapes the merrier, unless you have a really small tree, then perhaps selecting just a few would be better.
Top Tip: Use cookie cutters that have big areas to fill instead of small or thin pieces to make sure the mixture holds together nicely. We wouldn’t want them to fall apart before Christmas Day!
Pack the cookie cutters as tightly as you can with the bird seed mixture, pressing and squashing it in as firmly as possible. Work those forearms!
Use a straw to push a nice neat hole through the mixture where the string or ribbon will be looped through later. Remember not to make it too close to the edge or you’ll risk the weight of the decoration breaking the loop when you hang it.
Place your filled cookie cutters in the fridge overnight unless impatience reigns supreme, in which case, place them in the freezer for a few hours to let the mixture set properly.
Once mom or dad are confident that the mixture has set properly, remove your cookie cutters from the fridge or freezer and gently push the birdseed ornaments out of the cookie cutters. If need be, you can ask your parents to run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them a bit.
Cut your pieces of string or ribbon (about 15 – 20cm long) and loop them through the hole, tying a knot at the end.
It’s time to decorate! Hang your decorations on the Christmas tree and then after Christmas, you can pop them outside on the bird feeders for the birds to enjoy.
It’s not advisable to hang them on trees outside as our December and January weather is very hot and they will most likely just melt off the string and fall to the floor once a few birds have sat on them.