People often say that it can be challenging in winter to encourage children to go out and enjoy the outdoors in cold weather. Growing up in Siberia, where snow covers the earth for 7-8 months of the year, I learned to appreciate outdoor play immensely.
If it was too cold (-30C) we would usually stay indoors. However, the majority of our leisure time was spent skiing, sliding down the hills, making snowmen, tackling friends into soft snowdrifts, and playing snowball fights. For those of you who are enjoying winter break with your children, here is a list of activities and ideas to do outdoors that are fun and educational.
The children-led play is one of the best choices parents can make allowing their kids to choose, create and follow their outdoor adventures in nature – discovering and satisfying their curiosity.
Learning to appreciate nature and make observations during this special and magical time of the year is a great way to enlarge child’s world and engage their senses in fun activities:
Snowflake Science: Teach children about the unique structure of snowflakes by catching them on black paper and examining them under a microscope or magnifying glass. They can draw and compare different snowflake shapes and patterns.
Ice Cube Experiment: Fill various containers with water and freeze them overnight. Let the children predict which containers will freeze faster or slower based on size or material. Observe and discuss the results the next day.
Ice Painting: Fill small containers with colored water and freeze them to make ice cubes. Give children the ice cubes and let them paint on snow or paper with the melting colored ice.
Winter Animal Tracks: Go on a nature walk in the winter and search for animal tracks in the snow. Discuss different animal footprints and guess which animals made them. Bring a field guide or use a mobile app to identify the tracks.
Snow Science Experiments: Conduct various experiments with snow, such as measuring how much snow melts in different temperatures, testing the effects of salt on snow, or exploring the different states of water by melting and refreezing snow.
Nature Ice Sculptures: Collect natural materials like leaves, sticks, and berries, and arrange them in a container or mold. Fill the container with water and let it freeze. Once solid, remove the ice sculpture from the container and observe the trapped natural materials.
Snowflake Crystal Growing: Create a supersaturated borax solution by dissolving borax in hot water. Hang strings or pipe cleaners in the solution, and let it sit overnight. The next day, beautiful borax crystal snowflakes will have formed on the strings.
Play with sticks and stones in the snow – Happy Hooligans
Go on a winter-themed nature walk – Rain Or Shine Mama
Learn to identify animals by footprints on the snow
Outdoor Scavenger Hunt: Create a scavenger hunt list of winter-themed items for children to find, such as icicles, animal tracks, evergreen trees, or frost. This activity encourages observation skills and connects them to the natural world.
Go on a Nature Scavenger hunt in winter – Montessori Nature (subscriber freebie)
Make a snow volcano – Growing a Jeweled Rose
Teach children about chemical reactions by creating a snow volcano. Build a mound of snow around a plastic bottle with baking soda inside. Pour vinegar into the bottle and watch the “volcanic eruption” happen.
Decorate an outdoor edible tree for the animals – Wilder Child
Help children make simple bird feeders using pinecones, peanut butter, and birdseed. Hang them outside and observe the different bird species that come to feed during the winter months.
Find out about 10 ways to study nature in winter – iHomeschool Network
Learn how to build an igloo out of the snow – Your Modern Family
Study winter backyard astronomy with kids – Go Explore Nature
Do nature study in winter – Elemental Science
There are plenty of outdoor fun activities to do that are a great way to spend time outside as a family or include in birthday celebrations:
DIY Snow Paint – The SITS girls
Snowy Obstacle Course – The Inspired Treehouse
Paint a Snowman – How Does She
Snow Lanterns – Little Green Fingers
Ice Ornaments – RED TED art
How to Make Water Balloon Marbles – Hurrayic
Marvelous Snowshoe Monster Feet – Apartment Therapy
Creating an Ice Jewel Dig Outside – Wilder Child
How to Make Maple Syrup Taffy – The Kitchn
Make Snow Cream – Sugar Pie Farmhouse
Make Winter Nature Craft – Growing Family
I hope you got inspired and will have awesome fun this winter with your children!
Resources you might find helpful
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