Top 7 outdoor winter activities

Top 7 outdoor winter activities
Head out on a winter wander and see what you can find (Photo: WTML)

There’s plenty to discover in the woods at this time of year so wrap up warm and get out there. You’re sure to come home all rosy-cheeked and glowing!

Explore a winter wonderland near you with our top 7 outdoor winter activities for your woodland walk.

Track the animals

Who’s been heading your way? Keep an eye out for animal tracks in the muddy ground and use our Match the tracks sheet to help you work out which animal left the marks.

Watch the birds

In winter, you may come across a twittering flock of birds gathered around one food source, such as a bush with berries. Can you identify some species using our Garden birds iDial?

At this time of year, some birds like to get together before nightfall and find a communal roost where they can all keep warm. A huge black cloud of starlings whirling and swooping through the sky in the hour before sunset has got to be one of nature’s most amazing sights! It’s called a ‘murmuration’ and can involve as many as 100,000 birds.

Pick up sticks

A stick has to be one of the best toys ever – it can be a catapult, a magic wand or a handy tool for inspecting lumps of animal poo (remember, don’t touch poo with your hands, and always wash your hands when you get home)! For more ideas, take a look at our 20 things to do with sticks or super stick weaving sheets (best for age 6+). And if you feel like a bedtime story to spark your imagination, check out Stanley’s Stick by John Hegley and Neal Layton. It’s about a boy whose stick takes him on all kinds of adventures!

Build a winter animal den

Animals that are out and about looking for food will be grateful for somewhere to shelter from the wintry weather. First collect some sticks and twigs. Find a sheltered spot, such as by a tree trunk, fallen log or rock, and arrange the sticks into a wigwam shape. Then weave some bendy sticks in and out of them. Cover your den with dry leaves, bracken and moss to camouflage it and keep out the rain. Remember to put some dry leaves inside to make a warm and comfy bed.

You could make a small den for minibeasts too – check out our Minibeast palace activity (age 3-5).

Go on a winter scavenger hunt

How many of these can you spot? You could take a picture of each.

  • a frosty spider’s web
  • a half-eaten pine cone
  • an evergreen tree
  • a holly bush with berries
  • a leaf skeleton
  • a feather
  • a tuft of animal fur caught on a bush
  • a fungus (remember not to touch it as some fungi are poisonous!)
  • a robin
  • ivy with black berries

Kids who are too small for scavenger hunts can have fun finding some woodland items to make winter badges (age 0-2).

Create some ice art

You will need:

  • some small natural objects such as a sprig of holly, a beautiful leaf and some pine needles
  • a kettle
  • a saucer or small bowl (or several, if you’ve collected a lot of objects)
  • some string.

What to do:

  • Fill the kettle and ask an adult to boil it for you. Then boil it a second time and let it cool down (this removes the air bubbles so you get clear ice).
  • Set out your saucers or bowls and lay a piece of string in each with one end dangling out – this needs to be long enough to hang up your ice art.  Or you could join them all together by putting several saucers in a line and laying a long piece of string across them.
  • Fill each saucer with water.
  • Arrange your natural objects in the saucers. Make sure the objects and the string are covered by the water.
  • If it’s a very cold night, put them outside to freeze, or carefully put them in the freezer overnight.
  • In the morning, you can hang the ice art outside and admire your beautiful creation!

Are you planning to try some of these this weekend? Or maybe you have your own favourite winter activities? Let us know in the comments below.

What did you do on your woodland wander?

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