Every Wednesday in Lockdown, our at home nature activities to occupy homeschooled children!
Another easy to achieve bird feeder that can be made from items in the home.
This activity comes from The RSPB’s Website
You Will Need:
- Watertight container (we used a washing up bowl) old sinks are also good!
- Stones, Sand or Gravel
- Collected Rain water
- Aquatic Plants
Helps Children with:
• Understanding eco systems
• Getting involved in the garden
• Messy play.
Helps Nature with:
• Home for wildlife
• Water source for birds
Dig a hole for your washing up bowl / sink/ container so that its level with the top of the soil (in theory it doesn’t have to be, but you will have much better luck with creatures moving in if it is!)
Be mindful, a mini pond is still a pond and carries all the safety risks of a pond – so be careful where you place it and ensure no small children have unsupervised access to it.
Add a base to your bowl with stones, gravel or sand
Fill the bowl with collected rainwater. It needs to be rainwater as tap water has a chemical imbalance which is harmful to wildlife.
Add aquatic plants – there is some tips online here about which plants will do best in a pond. Normal plants will drown!
Algae is a good plant to add as it naturally keeps the pond water clean (NB: clean doesn’t have to mean clear!)
To make it look less like a washing up tub in the ground, you can cover the edges of your bowl with rocks and plants, so it merges in with the surrounding space. You’ll be surprised how effective this can look.
REMINDER: Ponds are unsafe for unsupervised children. Whatever the size of pond! If children are ever playing in this area unsupervised, the pond will need a cover / safety net.
Trying it out at home:
The premise behind Wild Wednesday’s is we find the instructions online, try them at home first and give honest feedback on whether you need to tweak or give the idea up entirely.
This week Event and Community Manager Laura McGrath tried it out at home with husband Elliot and baby Ida.
Ingredient Sourcing: I went to B&M and managed to pick up a washing bowl and stones for next to nothing, but couldn’t get aquatic plants (I should really have guessed this!) so CONFESSION the plants in the picture are not aquatic ones, they are just very wet garden plants – but I have ordered some aquatic ones from Amazon.
We had rainwater at hand because we do harvest rainwater for house plants (top tip, rainwater is amazing for your house plants!) this isn’t a last minute activity, I do think you need to plan ahead with rainwater collection and accruing the right plants.
Mess Factor: It was already very muddy after the snow, so a little messy but outdoor mess doesn’t stress me out at all!
Attention Span: At 16 months Ida is too small to have a clue what we were doing, but there was a big novelty factor. She was able to help out on each step bar the digging of the hole and I think it would be great for slightly older kids with an interest in wildlife.
Observations: One last reminder about health and safety here, we’re going to see how the pond goes and see if we want to add some bamboo sticks and mesh across the top to make it safe long term (Ida wouldn’t ever be in the garden unattended at the moment)
Personally, we have always wanted to add as many wildlife friendly touches to our garden as we can since moving in, but never dreamt we’d have space for a pond! This is a really nice touch if you’re looking to expand from your bird feeders, big hotels etc. For how easy it was to do, I’d definitely suggest giving it a go!
One last observation – I should have picked a darker washing up bowl, I was skeptical the rocks would cover the edges, but they actually do so woth the right bowl and time spent covering it properly (that sounds like a job minus the little one!) and it could really blend in nicely!
We’d love to see any recreations too! Send to email@example.com