As the UK enters another strict lockdown due to Covid-19, we’re all set to spend more time at home once again.

As parents ourselves, we know we’ll be looking for inspiration to keep our children entertained (and out of mischief!), especially on those chilly winter days. So, we’ve gathered some ideas to help your family discover nature on your doorstep during lockdown and over the coming months.

Outdoor ideas and activities

Did you know spending time outdoors in nature is good for you? It’s true! Being around trees and wildlife can boost your mood and reduce stress, and that's something we could all benefit from right now. Getting active outside is a great way to improve your family’s fitness too.

If you have a garden, there’s plenty of fun you can have in it during winter. In England, you’re also allowed to exercise outside once a day in your local area. The rules may be different in other parts of the UK, so please check and follow the guidance for your region. But if you can, pull on your wellies and enjoy some fresh air.

Discover nature on a walk

While you're getting your daily exercise, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. Even though it's winter, there's plenty to see and hear. Encourage your family to look out for:

  • birds feasting on berries
  • squirrels scampering up and down trees
  • animal footprints in frost or snow
  • the tuneful singing of a robin
  • snowdrops popping up out of the ground.

Help the wildlife in your garden

As we're in the depths of winter, your garden wildlife will appreciate some help to survive the colder months. Get your kids involved and make a feeder to help hungry birds. You can also put out fresh water for animals to drink and bathe in. If you have space, create a ‘wild pile’ of twigs, logs and dead leaves in a quiet corner – it makes the perfect refuge where creepy crawlies, frogs and hedgehogs can hibernate.

Go on a scavenger hunt

Scavenger hunts are great fun for all ages. You can do them in your garden, and they're also a good way to liven up family walks. Keep it simple for little ones and help them look for different colours or textures in nature. For older children, challenge them to hunt for seasonal signs such as snowdrops, berries or frosty leaves.

You’ll find more ideas in our scavenger hunt blog and you can make up your own themes too.

Become tree trackers

How well do you know the trees in your garden or neighbourhood? Your family can become expert tree trackers with our free Tree ID app. It features over 70 British trees and helps you learn how to identify them by their twigs, bark, leaves and fruits. Give it a go on your next walk and see which trees are living near you.

Indoor activities and crafts

When the weather's too cold and windy to be outside, we've got plenty of ideas for indoor fun too.

Host a virtual wildlife quiz

Video calls have become the norm for keeping in touch with family and friends. So why not get your children to write their own virtual quiz and play it on your next family catch-up? Our tree section and wildlife pages are filled with fascinating facts and information you can use to create your quiz questions. 

Get crafty with recycling

Give cardboard tubes, cereal boxes and yoghurt pots a new lease of life and challenge your family to turn them into a sculpture or collage. Can you find materials to make a spiky hedgehog, a monochrome woodpecker or a gnarled old tree?

Make your own woodland theatre

Is your family missing stage shows and musicals? Then have a go at transforming a shoebox into a mini theatre for youngsters to create their own plays. It's a wonderful way to encourage them to use their imaginations too.

Paint a woodland backdrop and scenery, or use images cut out from magazines or old Christmas cards and glue them inside your box. Lay some fabric inside the base of your box to make the forest floor. To make your performers, draw or cut out pictures of animals and people. Attach them to sticks so you can easily move them around the stage.

Now you're ready for the show to begin!

Get creative with Lego

Many families have Lego, wooden blocks or other building toys at home, so have a go at making something inspired by nature. You could even find something in your own garden and try recreating it. How about an icy snowflake, a friendly robin or some spiky holly?

Make your own jigsaw puzzles

Have your kids exhausted your supply of jigsaws and board games? Then have a go at making your own. Find wildlife photographs in old magazines and cut them up into pieces, then challenge each other to put them back together again.