Making your own bird tree collage can be done using things you most likely have lying around the house. It's also a great way to get kids thinking and talking about the kinds of birds they like.
A few years ago, a friend gave me an old Audubon songbird calendar.
“Thought your kids might like looking at this.”
It’s been sitting in our drawer of random craft supplies (don’t we all have a pile of things we plan on using up someday?) until I finally came up with an idea: a bird tree collage.
- Old calendar or magazine with pictures of birds
- Cardboard or poster board
- Card stock or construction paper
- Mod Podge
- Foam paintbrushes
- A decent tolerance for mess
I tore a few pages out of the calendar and handed them to my boys. I had them start cutting out the birds they wanted to add to their tree. If you don’t have a bird calendar laying around, check out your local library for magazines – they often have free ones up for grabs.
See also: DIY Birdseed Ornaments
You’re going to end up with a fair number of scraps laying on the table (and more likely, on the floor). I pulled a trash can nearby and encouraged them to push the scraps into it. Our sons’ kindergarten teachers have told us that cutting with scissors is one of the best ways to prep for school as it helps strengthen the muscles they use for writing.
Tip: Give them a jar or bowl to put their birds into once cut so they don’t get lost in the scraps.
Meanwhile, I cut up an old cereal box to use as our background. Poster board would look lovely too, but we were mostly just using things we had laying around. I cut up some green card stock for a treetop and brown strips for the trunk and branches, and glued them to the cereal box.
When we had a pile of birds they liked (they each made sure to find their favorite, plus the bird featured on their birthday), we broke out the Mod Podge and foam paintbrushes.
If you’ve never used Mod Podge, it’s like a very messy glue that you can paint with and dries clear. It’s handy for kids because, although it's a bit messy, they don’t have to worry about getting glue on the “right” side. Or, if their birds get accidentally stuck upside down. You can just put your picture down and paint over it. Sure, you could also just use a glue stick, but the mess is half the fun! But don’t worry, it washes off easily.
Now that our collage was soaked with Mod Podge, we tore up bits of tissue paper and stuck it to our tree for texture. I always save odds and ends of tissue paper from gifts and packages. It can come in handy for craft projects. We added in a bit of blue and purple to make “flowers” as well.
Last, we decided our birds needed a nest. I cut a few small strips of paper and cardboard and glued them to a corner of the tree. We added in a few buttons as “eggs” as well.
After it dried, the kids were immensely proud of their tree and decided to color on it as well. I had initially planned on letting them each make their own. It turned out to be much more fun to watch them work on a project together!
This project has endless variations. You can make a tree of your kid’s favorite birds or birds of one color. You can do a tree for each season, and if you want to make it especially educational, research which birds are in your area at different points in the year.