If you're keen to attract robins to your garden, put out some mealworms. And hanging a few suet-filled coconut shells will encourage blue tits and long-tailed tits to visit.
You don't necessarily need to spend a lot of money to help the birds. Kitchen scraps like mild grated cheese, fruits such as apples and pears, cooked rice, roast potatoes and dry porridge can give them the energy they need.
You can also provide an excellent full-fat winter food by making your own bird cakes or fat balls – a fun activity, that children will enjoy. Melt 250g suet or lard in a saucepan, and add 500g of dry ingredients – this can be any mixture of seeds, chopped nuts, oats, grated cheese, and dried fruit. Mix thoroughly and press into containers – old margarine tubs or yoghurt pots are ideal. If you pierce a hole in the bottom of the yoghurt pot first, you can thread a piece of string through it (before filling!), for hanging up. Leave in a cool place overnight to set, then hang up in a tree, or tip out onto the bird table.