Yesterday at Playcentre we made these lovely bird seed bells which are so simple that with a bit of help even a 2 year old can enjoy making one. We've been eagerly looking out the kitchen window all morning to see if the finches and yellow hammers have discovered them yet. I know the're hungry at this time of year because there aren't many seeds or bugs around. Here's how to make your own bird seed bell.
A variety of seeds. We bought a wild bird mix from the supermarket, but you could save corn, millet, wheat, buckwheat, radish, sunflower etc in autumn. Grind up bigger seeds like sunflower and corn.
Egg whites. 2 for every cup of seed.
Small terracotta pots.
Glad wrap or an oven bag. To line the pot.
Thin wire. So you can hang the bell.
Beat the egg whites till they're a bit fluffy, but not as if you're making a pavolova. Kids can do this bit. (the 2 year olds had a go at seperating the yolk from the white with messy results as you can imagine.)
Then they can pour in the seeds and stir them up while you line the terracotta pots with gladwrap. When you've done that let them spoon the mixture into the pot and flatten the top.
Take a length of straight wire make a coil at one end, then insert the straight end of wire down through the mixture then out the hole at the bottom of the pot until the coil is submerged in the seed mix. Position your pots in a cool oven, right way up with the straight bit of wire pointing down through the oven rack, for one and a half to two hours. Allow to cool then tip the bell out of the pot peel off the gladwrap. Make a loop at the top ready to hang in a tree.
An alternative to the egg whites to hold the mix together would be melted fat, you wouldn't need to cook it but I don't think it would look as nice.