It really doesn't get much easier than this. Get the kids involved and watch the glow on their faces when the birds start to roost. Child decoration time: A lot longer (ah, bliss). Durability: A full season or even two.
Bottle Bank via Martha Stewart: transform a used plastic bottle into a cute piggy bank. Could use same idea to made little containers for kids to store their collections too (use bottle with wider opening and don't make slot)