Freezing temperatures. Inches of snow. Slushy sidewalks. Long, cold winter months–with their short daytime hours–can make it challenging for anyone, let along busy families to stay connected with the outdoors. But too much screen time and a lack of fresh air can make children and adults anxious and depressed. It’s just as important during the winter as it is in summer to take in the fresh air and connect with nature. Nature can help your child or children learn, stay healthy and happy.
This can be done from the comfort and warmth of your own home! Take some time to bird watch with your kids. Try to identify the various species; get a bird guidebook or search the internet for the types you might see. Talk about how these birds can survive the winter when their friends fly south to warmer weather. Consider building a birdhouse for your backyard that will encourage the winter birds to visit and return for the summer months when the flowers are blooming.
It may be cold, but you can still get out and take a walk or a hike. Just bundle up and take advantage of the snow. As you walk, observe the snow and the many animal footprints and guess which creature they belong to. Talk about the trees and animals you may encounter. End your hike with a nice cup of hot cocoa as a special treat.
Build a snowman
A family favorite–build a snowman, snowwoman or snow family! Get everyone bundled up and interacting with the snow and each other as you discuss what to use as noses, eyes, clothing, etc. You can also talk about the weather and how snow falls in some parts of the world but not others as you connect with nature.
You’ll want to find a neighborhood park with a steep hill and a flat landing zone. The kids enjoy speeding downhill and the walk uphill will be good exercise. It’s a great way to tire them out while you take the photos for your Facebook page. Best of all, it will cut down on the foot traffic on your lawn when the snow makes it susceptible to damage.
Create an outdoor scavenger hunt for your kids at home, or get a group together and head to the neighborhood park. You can have them gather natural items, like rocks, leaves or twigs, or ask them to do activities or take pictures of things like snow angels, or birds. Whatever you put on your scavenger hunt list is sure to be a blast as they traipse through the snow on their grand adventures.
About the Author
Cindy Mitchell is a lifestyle and landscape design writer for LawnStarter, and mother of two beautiful girls. She is a social butterfly and loves to entertain guests at home with beautifully decorated spaces for any occasion.