Updated: Feb 9
Winter is a great time to learn about nature! Even though it's cold outside, there are still lots of fun outdoor activities you can do to explore the natural world around you. Here are our top 10 outdoor winter learning activities that kids can enjoy with their families.
10 WINTER LEARNING ACTIVITIES FOR KIDS
Make Ice Lanterns: Ice lanterns are a fun and easy way to bring a little bit of light to the winter darkness. To make them, you'll need a container that can hold water and freeze, like a bucket or a bowl. Fill the container with water and add some decorations like berries, leaves, or even food coloring. Once the water is frozen, carefully remove the container and voila! You got an ice lantern. You can place a small candle inside to light it up.
Build a Snowy Home: Build a cozy home for the animals that live in the winter. Using sticks, leaves, and other natural materials, you can make a shelter for birds, squirrels and other small animals. It can be a birdhouse or a cozy igloo - the possibilities are endless!
Make Maple Syrup: If you live in an area where sugar maples grow, you can collect sap and make your own maple syrup. This is a fun and educational way to learn about the process of turning sap into syrup, and how it changes chemically. The process takes a while and needs some preparation, but the sticky-sweet syrup you'll eventually pour on your pancakes will make it all worthwhile!
Find & Follow Animal Tracks: Snowy ground makes it easy to spot animal tracks. Finding and identifying tracks is a great way to learn about different animals and their habits. You can also make a game of tracking different animals, and see if you can find different kinds of tracks like footprints, droppings, burrows and dens.
Observe Winter Trees: Look for a tree without leaves and observe its branches, bark, and any berries or nuts still hanging on. Try to identify the tree and research what it looks like during other seasons. This will help kids to understand the changes that take place in nature throughout the year and how different trees adapt to winter.
Look for Winter Birds: Many birds migrate south for the winter, but some stay behind and can be found in your backyard or at a nearby park. Try to spot birds like the cardinal, chickadees, or nuthatches. Don't forget to bring binoculars, a bird guide book, and a notebook to help you record all the birds you see!
Make Art with Natural Winter Finds: Collect sticks, pinecones, acorns, and other natural items you find on your walk. When you get home, you can use them to create art projects, or to make a nature collage. This is a great way to encourage kids to explore their natural surroundings, and use their imaginations to turn what they find into art.
Make a Winter Nature Journal: Take pictures or make drawings of the natural world around you on a winter walks. Write down what you notice and observe, such as the weather, types of animals, and different trees. This is a fun and creative way for kids to document their observations and to keep track of the different things they learn about nature.
Make a Bird Feeder: Birds need food in the winter just like they do in the summer. You can help them out by making a bird feeder. There are many ways you can make a bird feeder, but one easy way is to use a pine cone, some peanut butter, and birdseed. Spread peanut butter all over the pinecone, then roll it in birdseed. Hang it outside in a tree, and watch as different birds come to eat.
Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt: Make a list of things to look for on a winter nature walk, like a pinecone, a red berry, animal tracks, etc. See how many items you can find and check them off your list. This is a great way to get kids to pay attention to the details of the nature around them and to identify different winter plants and animals.
Remember to always dress warmly and be safe when you're outside. And most importantly, have fun! Winter nature is a magical place full of surprises and wonder.
Want More STEAM-Learning IDEAs & Activities?
Visit our blog for more simple STEAM-learning activities that kids and their families can do at home. From DIY science lessons to outdoor adventures, we have you covered to stay busy, laughing and learning all year long!