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It’s hard for many animals to find food in winter. Why not help them out? As Izzy would say, “Who, who, whooooooo do you think will come to dinner?” Set out some treats and see!

seeds from pinecones and seedpodsWhat you need

  • tree or large bush
  • animal treats (see below)
  • string
  • needle and thread (optional)
  • snow shovel

What you do

  • Tell your child that you’re going to set up a special meal for the animals on a nearby tree. Talk with your child about which foods birds and other local animals might like (fruit, nuts, popcorn, bread, peanut butter, donuts, suet, birdseed, etc.)

  • Find some creative ways to “serve” the meal. Have your child, for example, spread the peanut butter on a pinecone with his or her fingers, then roll it in birdseed. Tie a piece of string on this new feeder so you can hang it on the tree.

  • Have your child string some donuts like a garland. Or you can thread a needle and string popcorn, adding pieces of bread or fruit to the food chain.

  • Pick a tree or bush to decorate. You and your child can lightly tack treats to the truck, hang them on branches, even tie them to a hanger that you put on the tree.

  • Once you’ve finished setting out the food, shovel some fresh snow on the ground around the tree. Smooth it carefully without packing it down.

  • The next day, visit your “animal restaurant.” What has been eaten? What were the most popular treats?

  • Look at the snow near the bottom of the tree. Do you see any tracks? Can you identify them? Who were some of your animal customers?

Some more fun animal feeding facts to share:

  • About 65 million Americans feed birds.

  • Don’t worry about squirrels getting to the food. Gray squirrels can leap about 3 feet straight up in the air and jump out about 10 to 12 feet.

  • Raccoons have short legs, but they still can run up to 15 miles per hour.

Suggestion: This is a fine activity for any time of year. If it’s not winter, however, smooth the ground around the tree so you can see any freshly made tracks the next day.


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