The best way to turn your children into gardeners is by letting them grow their own little plot of land, and they'll keep their interest longer if you give them interesting or unusual plants to grow. Combine gardening and crafts into one project for a year and you can add another level of interest, since most kids love to do craft projects. Making a gourd birdhouse is one such activity.
Birdhouse Gourd Design
Creating birdhouses out of gourds begins with growing the gourds, known as bottle gourds or birdhouse gourds. Once you teach your kids how to make a gourd birdhouse, they'll be excited to add their own personalized designs.
Plant the birdhouse gourd seeds next to a fence or other support, making sure all chance of frost has passed. Gourds will grow all summer long, and won't be ready for harvest until late in the fall. Give them plenty of water and full sun, then wait until the vines and leaves have died back when autumn arrives. Birdhouse gourd design depends on proper drying and ripening, and these gourds need months before they're ready.
Cut the gourds from the vines with a pair of hedge clippers, and place them in a single layer on top of a pallet or a net hammock. Make sure each gourd has room around it for air to flow. Allow the gourds to dry for three or four months, until you can hear seeds rattling inside when you shake them. While they are curing, they'll develop a black mold on the outside; don't worry, this is natural and not a sign that the gourds are rotting.
How to Make a Gourd Birdhouse with Kids
Making a gourd birdhouse depends on a perfectly cured gourd, which will change in texture from vegetable-like to a light wood. Once your gourds are light and rattling nicely, have your kids scrub them with a scrub brush in soapy water to remove all the mold.
One part of gourd birdhouse crafts that falls to the adults is drilling the necessary holes. Make three or four holes in the bottom of the gourd for drainage. Drill a larger hole in the side for the entrance. Different sizes will attract different birds. Finally, drill two holes in the top of the gourd to hold a wire for hanging.
Give your child the drilled gourd and a collection of paints and let him or her paint personalized designs on the outer shell. Paint pens work well for this project, as do colored permanent markers.
Allow the gourds to dry, string a wire through the top two holes and hang your gourd birdhouse from the tallest tree in your yard.
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