Tyler Migiel carefully spread shortening onto a piece of bread, flipped it over and pressed it onto a plate filled with birdseed.
The 6-year-old, from Davenport, had just finished painting using a feather as a paintbrush, and was onto making a bird feeder to celebrate National Bird Day Saturday at the Family Museum in Bettendorf.
Tyler said it was the first time he had ever painted with a feather rather than a brush.
"It's fun," he said.
His painting was of a star connected to a door with some snowflakes, he said, because "it's snowing outside."
He added black, yellow, blue and red, he said, adding that red was his favorite color.
Making the bird feeder was pretty fun, too, he said. He explained that he took a piece of bread and put "cream and seeds on it for the squirrels and birds."
His grandmother, Chris Migiel, of Bettendorf, was nearby, as was his grandfather, Joe, and siblings, Blake, 5, and Alyssa, 10.
Together, they made their way to the bird call station that was just a table over from the bird seed area.
Ms. Migiel said the family enjoys the Family Museum because of "all of the creative opportunities" there.
She, too, enjoyed painting with a feather. She made a sort of paisley design and a firework.
It was "amazing" to come to the museum and look at "old things in new ways," she said."And it's a whole lot better than the Wii."
The family pressed the backs of fist-sized stuffed birds, smiling as the birds sang.
It's a great "opportunity to interact with nature and see what's coming to the back yard now," Ms. Migiel said.
Family Museum education coordinator Becky Ortner held a green gadget that played other bird calls, helping the family learn which was which.
After she pressed the button, the little gadget sang, and the family tried to identify the call.
"It has a red chest," Ms. Ortner hinted.
"Red robin!" Tyler said.
"Yes!" Ms. Ortner replied.
Scattered across the table were the little stuffed animals, including a brown thrasher, blue jay, turkey, oriole, mallard and a belted kingfisher.
Ms. Ortner said the National Bird Day activities included a station where kids could paint with a feather, make a bird feeder with dried bread, shortening and bird seed at another station, and learn to identify bird calls at her station.
"It's a fun thing," she said.
Kathleen Cannon, of Iowa City, was making her way around the stations with her girls, Charlotte, 4, and Eleanor, 2.
"We love it," Ms. Cannon said of the Family Museum.
The family belongs to the Iowa Children's Museum and enjoys the reciprocal membership at the Family Museum, she said.
They call the Family Museum "the far-away museum," she said, adding that driving to Bettendorf for the day makes for a great "field trip."
The activities at the museum "are just fun," she said. It's also nice that the kids can "make a little mess and keep it here."
Charlotte was having a great time painting with a feather and making a bird feeder. She ran across the room to the drying rack to retrieve her painting. She proudly held it and talked about how she created it.
With blue and red, "I made purple," she said, pointing at a splotch of carefully-mixed purple.
Around the splotch of purple, her favorite color, were yellow, green, red and blue splotches. It was the second time she had the chance to paint with a feather, she said.
"We love what they do here," Ms. Cannon said. On a chilly winter day like Saturday, the museum is an "especially good indoor family destination that keeps everyone's attention."
For more information about the Family Museum and its upcoming events, visit www.familymuseum.org.
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