10 Ways to Explore Nature In the Winter

I don’t know about you, but winter is always the hardest season for me to come up with ideas to get us outside and exploring nature. It’s cold, it’s windy, everything is dormant… you know what I’m talking about, right?

So, what can you do?

I did some searching and came up with 10 fun kids activities to help us get out and explore nature in the winter. Get out and explore those things that are unique to winter. You won’t even notice the cold.

Just because it's winter, doesn't mean you need to give up your nature studies. Here are 10 fun kids activities to help you explore nature in the winter.


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1. Feed the birds. Use existing bird feeders or make your own, like our simple bird feeders. Put the bird feeders close to a window and provide small notebooks, binoculars and a bird book. See what kind of birds live in your neighborhood in the winter. (Special note: if you do decide to feed the birds, please continue to feed them until spring comes and they are able to find their own food.)

2. Explore ice. What are its properties? When does it melt? Try to break it. Mama Smiles recently spent some time exploring ice. Check out all the fun they had!

3. Learn to read an outdoor thermometer and check the temperature outside. Use the opportunity to learn a little about weather and the characteristics of winter in your area.
4. Learn about snowflakes. Look at them up close with a magnifying glass. What do you see? Teach Preschool shows you how to catch snowflakes on black paper so you can examine them up close.
5. Explore rocks. It doesn’t matter the season, rocks are always in abundance. Have fun exploring and learning about rocks. Or, you can do like Kitchen Counter Chronicles and make rock art

6. Look for signs of life. Winter is the time of year when many plants are dormant. But, not everything! Go exploring and see if you can find any signs of life. If you need inspiration, Rainy Day Mum recently went searching for fairy homes (aka mushrooms).
7. Give your kids a camera and see what they can find. Go on a photo walk with your kids. What do you notice? See the beauty in the details. Here are some great tips from Peanut Blossom for going on a photo walk.
8. Read a book about winter animals and look for signs of wildlife. Try finding foot prints near a wooded area. Learn about which animals hibernate and which ones need to forage for food in the winter. Animals in Winter (Let’s-Read-and-Find-Out Science) by Henrietta Bancroft is a great resource for this activity.
9. Bring it inside. If it’s too cold to go outside and explore, bring some nature indoors. Set up a nature table with all the nature treasures you’ve collected throughout the year. Or, you can do like Mama Smiles did and bring some snow indoors to play. You don’t always have to be outside to explore nature!
10. Make art. Get creative. Use the natural items that you find and make beautiful art. The Chocolate Muffin Tree made this beautiful snowy land art for Valentine’s Day.
Bonus activity: PLAY! Throw snowballs, make a snow angel, collect sticks, and most of all have fun!
No matter the season, there are always great things to discover in nature. Bundle up and have some fun exploring nature this winter.
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Terri is a writer and mom of two elementary-aged girls. She has a passion for learning and is always looking for ways to make learning fun. You can find her at Better Than Homework where she shares fun learning activities or Creative Family Fun where she shares art, craft, and family fun ideas.

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