Just like clothes, kids outgrow books every few years, too. Put those old, worn-out picture books to work by constructing a book birdhouse. If your child has leveled up to chapter books, welcome spring with this easy weekend craft that's perfect for scout meetings or sunny afternoons.
Give your child an empty cardboard box for a birdhouse base. Find an old children’s hardcover book that she doesn’t want anymore, or buy a cheap one at a yard sale or secondhand store. Make sure the book you use fits over the top of the cardboard box when opened up.
Cut off the box lid with a box cutter (the top gets replaced by the open hardcover book). Leave the other two box lids propped up for the birdhouse’s front and back.
Have her draw two lines on the front and back of the box lids where the opened book cover lines up. The parent can cut along pencil lines with the box cutter. It’s okay to have a ventilation gap between the birdhouse roof and sides.
Help your child cut out all the pages from the book, and save them to decorate the birdhouse.
You or your child can use the hot glue gun to attach the book cover, open in a triangle position to be the birdhouse roof, to the box base.
After the glue dries, your child can use scissors to cut the book pages into the shape of the birdhouse’s sides. Have her use a glue stick to attach the pictures.
She can also use permanent markers to color blank box areas.
Next, have her draw a small circle in pencil on the front of the birdhouse. Carefully cut out the circle with a box cutter.
Lastly, help her find a twig or stick from outside. She’ll poke a hole under the circle with scissors and insert the stick into the hole to give visiting birds a place to rest.
Because the birdhouse is not completely waterproof, hang it under a well-covered area like a porch, awning, or shady tree. Enjoy watching birds hang out and “read”!
Beth Levin has an M.A. in Curriculum and Education from Columbia University Teachers College. She has written educational activities for Macmillan/McGraw-Hill and Renaissance Learning publishers. She has a substitute teaching credential for grades K-12 in Oregon, where she lives with her husband and two daughters.