9 fun ideas for family winter walks
Getting out in the fresh air on a crisp winter’s day is so invigorating. But we know it’s not always easy to convince youngsters to embrace the cold weather. So, here are some of our favourite winter activities to liven up your family walks and help you enjoy some quality time together in the woods.
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1. Pack a winter picnic
This is our favourite tip for successful winter adventures - pack a bag with a flask of soup and some yummy food. It will help keep everyone warm while you're exploring and it tastes even better outdoors!
It doesn't have to be complicated - our winter picnic blog has plenty of easy ideas to get you started, including mulled apple juice, chilli pitta pockets and jacket potatoes.
2. Explore a winter wonderland
A snowy woodland is pure magic! And a frosty forest is equally beautiful. So, if the weather turns cold, wrap up in your cosiest coats and boots and head out to explore. Can you find:
- fresh snow - be the first to make footprints!
- icicles hanging from tree branches
- frozen puddles
- crunchy, frosty leaves underfoot.
You could even have a go at building snow animals, instead of the usual snowman.
3. Go on a scavenger hunt
A scavenger hunt is one of our much-loved things to do on a winter walk, and it's a great activity all ages can join in with.
Pick a colour and see how many different natural items you can spot that are the same colour. Choose a letter of the alphabet and hunt for objects starting with that letter. Or make a list of wintry items and see how many you can find. Here are a few ideas:
- evergreen leaves
- colourful berries
- a lacy leaf skeleton
- a fallen tree
- a y-shaped stick
- animal tracks on the ground.
4. Spot winter wildlife
Our woods may be at their quietest in the winter months, but there's still plenty of wildlife to spot if you look closely. Keep your eyes peeled for…
- a black and white magpie
- glossy holly leaves and shiny red berries
- ivy wrapped around trees
- snowdrops popping up out of the ground
- a cheerful robin singing loudly
- squirrels chasing each other up and down trees.
Credit: Alamy Stock Photo/Beara Creative
5. Find animal tracks and poo
Many woodland animals are shy, so you might not catch a glimpse of them while you're exploring. But you can still look for clues they've left behind. Encourage your kids to use their best detective skills to track down...
- animal poo
- claw marks.
Can you guess which animals have left the clues? If you'd like to learn more, our 'poos and clues' guide book is a fantastic way to identify the animal signs you find in the woods - from fox poo to badger paw prints!
6. Hunt for weird fungi
Once the leaves have fallen off the trees, it's easier to spot some of the weird and wonderful fungi sprouting out of branches and trunks.
Turn it into a competition to see who can find the most, then have fun making up silly names for them.
Snowy waxcap, turkeytail and jelly ear are all names of real fungi!
Credit: Michael Heffernan / WTML
7. Build a den
In winter, plenty of sticks and branches get blown down in windy weather. Make the most of them and challenge your family to build something – a den, a tower of twigs, even a shelter for an animal.
This activity is a fun way to work together as a family and encourages youngsters to use their creativity and problem-solving skills. Read our den building blog for some top tips.
Little feet and eager hands can crush fragile plants and disturb wildlife. So if you’re in an ancient woodland, it's best to leave den building to the badgers and foxes.
And remember, please don’t break twigs and branches off trees. Use what’s already fallen to the ground and dismantle your structure before you head home.
8. Go on a welly wander
Little ones will love going on a welly wander – it’s so much more exciting than an ordinary walk. Tell them their wellies have superpowers and allow them to have all sorts of adventures. When they’re wearing them they can crunch through frosty leaves, wade through thick, oozy mud and splash in icy streams!
Credit: kozorog / Bigstock.com
9. Use your imagination
With a little imagination, your family's walk can become a real adventure.
Step into one of our woods and pretend you’re strolling through a fairy forest – can you spot any signs of pixies or elves? You could become explorers trekking through a wild jungle, on an expedition hunting for undiscovered species. You could even take inspiration from your favourite stories set in woods and act them out with your family.