Ages: 18 months and up
Watching his feathered friends eating from a homemade feeder will likely fill your little ornithologist with fascination -- and swell his heart with pride. Best of all, these seedy classics are a cinch to make. Be sure to hang them near a sturdy branch so your guests have a place to land while dining.
Toast master Help your child spread nut butter on a piece of toast. Cut the toast into a fun shape with a large cookie cutter, then poke a hole in the top with a skewer or straw. Let your child press the nut-butter side into a plate full of seeds. Thread a ribbon through the hole, knot the ends, and hang. (The feeder should last for at least a week, or until a downpour.)
Pine nut Smear nut butter onto a pinecone with a paintbrush until it's well coated. Give your child a ziplock bag filled with birdseed, then have him shake the pinecone in the bag until it's thoroughly covered with seeds. Tie a piece of ribbon around the end of the pinecone, knot the ends, and hang.
Cone-servationist Let your child nibble a small hole in the tip of a sugar cone or poke a hole with a skewer in the flat bottom of a wafer cone. Spread nut butter on the cone with a butter knife or rubber spatula, then roll it in birdseed. Thread the ends of a ribbon into the hole, make a knot too large to slip back out, and hang.
Help your budding bird-watcher identify his dinner guests with one of these tot-friendly guides.
Fandex Family Field Guides: Birds This handy, hinged deck offers color photos and fun facts on 47 common bird species. (Workman Publishing, $10)
Birds: A Golden Guide Since 1949, this classic series has guided thousands of novice naturalists. Now fully revised and updated, the charmingly illustrated book is a super starting place for tots. (St. Martin's Press, $7)
Peterson FlashGuides (birds series) Also classic in the field, each of Peterson's regional editions boasts a 24-panel foldout guide with color illustrations and stats on more than 100 species. (Houghton Mifflin Company, $9)
National Audubon Society Regional Field Guides Audubon is synonymous with bird-watching and famous for beautiful photography. We love these guides for their comprehensive coverage of each area's birds, flowers, trees, and animals, and even the night sky. (Alfred A. Knopf, $20)