DIY Fabric Bird Pencil Toppers & Puppets

We're taking part in the RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch this weekend & to help us record our observations we made these colourful bird pencil toppers. They'd make a great addition to any nature table, or any wildlife project, & what's really neat is that they make great puppets too!
Made from recycled items & a pencil these little birds are frugal to make, making them a perfect craft for a large group of children. We made these recently at an after school club & the creations the children produced were just beautiful.
To make them we used: A cardboard box, scraps of colourful material (we used felt), gloopy glue (PVA glue) , googly eyes, sticky tape, & a pencil.
We started by cutting our cardboard box into smaller sections, & then drew around a simple bird template before cutting it out. You can find a variety of bird templates online.
Then we attached the pencil firmly to one side of the cardboard. We used a thick tape, but plenty of cello tape will work just as well.
Before cutting our fabric we thought about the types of birds we wanted to make & had a look through a bird spotter book, observing the colours of the feathers & beaks. Once we had chosen our bird & found our scraps of material we cut out small feather shapes to decorate the bird templates. To create the feather shapes we suggested the children cut out 'eye' or oval shapes.
Now to decorate the birds! We found it easier (& quicker) to cover one side of the template with glue & then stick on the feather shapes.  The Big Garden Bird Watch guide offered us a great image to refer to when we made out little robin.
When we had completed one side we carefully turned the bird over & decorated the other side. You could wait for the first side to dry before decorating the second, but it's not necessary, just make sure you have the table top covered. We made beaks using small triangles of felt & stuck on along with the eyes.
We loved making these & soon had quite a collection!
Yesterday they came in very handy for filling in our Big Garden Bird Watch activity sheet which Minnie loved.
These pencil toppers have been so much fun to create & use these weekend, & I'm sure they'll be popular for many weeks yet. Minnie is already talking about doing a puppet show with them & acting it out in the garden!
Making them gave us a great opportunity to study our local wildlife in a different way, as we checked garden bird books & studied the birds feathers & features before creating our own birds. As we made them we were able to talk about the different birds, their habitats, food, & the impact of weather conditions on the wildlife in our garden. It also made us consider what we can do to help the birds more in our own backyard.
What a cute way to celebrate the wild birds in your garden & encourage an interest & care for local wildlife too!
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