Journey with Nature

Winter Activities

1.    Animal tracking: Go for a nature walk and look down! Do you see footprints in the snow or in mud? Is the print near anything that can give you a clue about what the animal might have been doing or was someone simply passing by? What kind of animal do you think the tracks belong to? Here are tracks from animals that might be in your backyard

2.    Pinecone (or regular) birdfeeder and birdwatch: Not all birds leave Indiana for the winter. You might see cardinals, chickadees, or red-bellied woodpeckers. Have some winter bird watching fun by making or putting up a bird feeder near your windows so you can view these wonderful creatures. Who will you see?

3.    Winter horseshoes: This isn’t just a summer game! For winter horseshoes, put a wide-mouthed water bottle/container in the snow flush with the snow’s surface. Then gather twigs or rocks to throw in from a distance. It might look a bit different than horseshoe games from summer, but it’s still a fun challenge!

4.    Snowball throwing contest: Can you make the perfect snowball? One that will stay together as it sails through the air to your target? Play this game by aiming at a tree and see who can make the most accurate throws.

5.    Create a scavenger/treasure hunt using winter items: There is a lot to explore during the winter and some hidden treasures can be found. So, look at this list and start exploring our winter world to find these objects. Take a picture, check items off a list, or collect what you can and see what you can find!
 
a.    Icicles
b.    Animal track
c.    Winter birds
d.    Frozen puddle
e.    Squirrel
f.    Snow angel
g.    Frost
h.    Pine needles
i.    Twig
j.    Snowflake
k.    Pinecone
l.    Frozen berries
m.    Snowman
n.    Stream/river
o.    Birdhouse
p.    Ice
q.    Feather

 6.    Smores: These treats might conjure up images of summer evenings, but smores are yummy no matter what time of year! What is cozier than being bundled up around a fire and making these delicious treats? Here’s how to build a bonfire in the winter

7.    Check under rocks and logs to see if anyone is living underneath: Other animals like to stay warm in the winter just like we do. One way certain creatures do this, is by hiding under rocks. This keeps them out of the snow, wind, and cold. When you turn over a stone who will be there? Look for spiders and bugs, but remember to just look at the animals and let them be wild!

8.    Hug a tree: Wrap your arms around trees and see if any are too big to fully hug them! Younger trees have thinner trunks than older trees. What trees do you see and how big are they? Guess how old you think they might be.

9.    Draw in the snow with sticks: Like you would draw in the dirt or in the sand, grab a stick and draw in the snow. Create drawings that tell a winter-time story, or simply draw a tree, a snowflake, or anything else you can image with the snow for your canvas!

10.    Make designs on the snow with sticks or small rocks: If the snow is denser, create designs with twigs and small rocks on the snow. Make a game by making a circle with twigs of different sizes and at different distances and then toss small stones to each one and see how many you can get! Or make a winter scene with nature items.

11.    Winter astronomy: Do you know your stars? Can you name any you see and what constellations are found in the sky during winter? Here is a guide to the night sky in the northern hemisphere by month
 
12.    Litter pick up: Sometimes without all the plants in bloom, it is easier to see what doesn’t belong. Use the time when the ground is easily visible to pick up litter and keep nature clean and safe for all those who live there. Bring a trash receptacle and gloves!

13.    Color hunt: Winter is usually less colorful than our other seasons, so pick a color and find all items of that color that you can! Maybe you see red berries, but what else can you find that is red? Did you see a blue jay? Is there anything else blue around you? Have fun exploring and see things you might now if you weren’t looking!

14.    Nature sensory bin: Is it too cold to go outside? Being nature indoors with a nature sensory bin! Place items found in nature in a large container and let kids touch them! Place items like pinecones, leaves, or even some dirt in the bin and let kids explore what they find there. Here’s instructions on a simple and easy nature sensory bin

15.    Nature craft: Another fun way to bring the natural world inside.  Use natural items to craft items such as twig stars, or put leaves between wax paper for a sun catcher.  Here are some more ideas for indoor nature crafts kids will love: http://bit.ly/2jbeLPZ

16.    Winter photography: If you love photographing nature, winter is a great time to get out there and capture the season! Whether it is a sunrise or sunset, a winter daytime scene, or animals, don’t let a little cold stop you from capturing these great moments on film! Here are some winter wildlife photography ideas to get your started
 

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