It can be extremely hard to be motivated to get outside during our cold VT winter months, but exploring the outdoors is just as important during the winter months, if not more so than spring/summer. Winter blues and boredom can easily be fought off with some TLC with mother nature.
Getting outside can be hard, but below are 10 simple and fun activities to get your family outside and soaking up some of that nature vitamin we all need so desperately. (Stay tuned for a follow up post about the importance of nature).
1. First and foremost just get outside and play like a kid! Throw snowballs, build forts, decorate a silly snowman. The other day we had our first snowfall and my 3 year old was absolutely ecstatic. It dawned on me that at some point snow stopped becoming magical, but it hasn’t lost it’s magic for my son.
2. Explore properties of snow. How does it feel without gloves? How does it taste? What if we poured some maple syrup on it and tried it? Can we freeze snow? What if we add cold water to it? Hot water?
3. Catch snowflakes. Grab a piece of black paper and catch snowflakes. Snowflake Bentley by VT’s own Wilson Bentley is a great way to extend snowflake discovery.
4. Paint snow! This is a fun activity that has so many different possibilities. You can use different paint mediums: food coloring and water mixed into a spray bottle or even better, a squirt gun, 123Homeschool4Me has a great tutorial. Cups of paint and paint brushes work just as well. Too cold outside? Bring some snow into the bath tub or even a large container and paint!
5. Take a nature quest. Over at the Melissa and Doug website there is a great winter scavenger hunt printable that would be perfect for this.
6. During your nature quest/scavenger hunt you will probably find animal tracks! Take pictures and try to match them up to figure out what animals are visiting you! Babble, by Disney, has a great printable animal track guide!
7. Play with ice. Much like playing with snow, explore the ice. Break off icicles; taste them, break them, paint them! Again, if it is really too cold outside explore ice indoors. Freeze different things around your house; watch the ice melt to find what is inside OR better yet break it open. You can freeze paint in ice cube trays and paint with ice! We can’t forget about ice skating. Ice skates can tend to be pricey, so slip and slide around in your shoes if you need!
8. Make bird feeders, this is a great too cold to go outside activity. Over at Happy Hooligans you’ll find 32 easy homemade bird feeders that you and your kids can make! When it does get warmer, go outside and see what kind of birds visit your feeders!
9. GO SLEDDING! Even if you don’t have a hill, “sled” around the yard. Have your kids use their imaginations as to what the sled could be; a chariot? a horse? the possibilities are endless.
10. Lastly, but certainly not least important, READ. Talk to your kids about nature in the winter, the changes that happen, and how important it is for us.
- Owl Moon by Jane Yole
- The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino
- Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
- Footprints in the Snow by Cynthia Benjamin
- Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
- Winter Garden by Ruth Brown
- Vitamin N: The essential guide to a nature rich life by Richard Louv
- Balanced and Barefoot: how unrestricted outdoor play makes for strong, confident and capable children by Angela J. Hanscom
- 15 Minutes Outside: 365 ways to get out of the house and connect with your kids by Rebecca P. Cohen
Share with us the ways your family connects with nature in the winter and ENJOY these activities.
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