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Nature Bird Feeder or Fall Centerpiece

My kids had the idea to make these all-natural bird feeders. Aren't they pretty?

The kids found this Toyon plant in full fruit near our condo, and decided to use its fruit and some of the super-sized pine cones they love to collect to create colorful bird feeders. I am always a little wary of kids picking unknown plants, so I did a little research. It turns out that this is the Toyon plant. Toyon is more commonly known as Christmas berry and California holly, and while I would not recommend eating its fruit (especially raw, since it has cyanogenic glycosides which will break down if you cook it), but according to Wikipedia, it was eaten as food by local Native American tribes. Toyon is protected (you can only pick your own; my kids stuck with the berries on our condo land, so we should be fine), but cranberries are a similar shape and color and freely available around the country.

Simple Nature Bird Feeder (or Autumn Table Centerpiece)

Pretty bird feeders (or autumn centerpieces) kids can make.

My kids made these cones for the birds, but they are very pretty and would make wonderful autumn-themed table decorations!

My kids made these as bird feeders. They double up as beautiful all-natural decorations for fall!

I have no idea if the birds would rather eat fruit from a pin cone than a bush, but the kids had a wonderful time making these feeders. I’m guessing the squirrels will enjoy the berries if the birds leave them alone. Our local squirrels eat EVERYTHING.

Using Toyon fruit and a pine cone to make a decorative bird feeder (or even simple table decoration).

I loved that the kids were thinking about the birds. This activity was also great fine motor practice!

How have you been spending your after school time?

afterschool linky

The Educators’ Spin On It
Mama Smiles – Joyful Parenting
Relentlessly Fun, Deceptively Educational
Boy Mama Teacher Mama
Planet Smarty Pants
Creative Family Fun

The After School linky is a space to share learning and fun for children aged 5-12 years old. We appreciate links back, but they are not required! Here are my favorite posts from last week’s linky:

Now it’s your turn! Link up your top after school activities for kids aged 5-12! I pin and re-share favorites every week, and so do my wonderful co-hosts!



MaryAnne lives is a craft loving educator, musician, photographer, and writer who lives in Silicon Valley with her husband Mike and their four children.

7 thoughts on “Nature Bird Feeder or Fall Centerpiece”

  1. Elisa | blissful E

    Beautiful! Nikki’s violin teacher has a large plant that produces similar berries – I should look it up.

  2. Lovely idea putting berries in the fir cones – everywhere is still awash with rowan and hawthorn berries but we don’t actually have any berries in the garden. It will be lovely to see if it attracts new birds in.

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