Inside: Don’t keep kids cooped up during winter, give them some quality outdoor playtime (and give yourself a break too). Here are some fantastic ideas to keep kids active during cold time of the year.
This is a guest post by Jack Teare. Jack is Head of Content at Affinity
The festive season is a busy time of year. You have presents to buy, home to decorate, and work to finish. And you’ve got to find ways to keep the kids occupied too. Sure, there are some fun things they can do inside. However, there are plenty of quick and easy outdoor activities for kids to do as well:
- Outdoor recreation, playgrounds and festive walks
- DIY scavenger hunts for kids
- Make some outdoor décor
Don’t keep kids cooped up, give them some quality outdoor playtime during winter (and give yourself a break too) …
Outdoor recreation, playgrounds and festive walks
The great thing about these outdoor play ideas is that they’re outside. It’s much easier to maintain social distancing outside and follow the COVID rules thanks to the space and fresh air around you. In fact, air circulation is pretty important in the fight against the virus, so playing outside (and ventilating inside) is a great idea.
Here are some play and outdoor learning ideas to get you and your kids out in the fresh air:
1. Make a bird-feeding station
This time of year, the cold weather and frozen ground mean it’s difficult for birds to find food and sustenance for the coming month. And so having bird feeders available for them is a huge help. There are several ways you can make a DIY bird feeder, and you don’t need a lot of supplies:
- Put peanut butter all over a pinecone and dip it into some birdseed
- Cover an old toilet roll tube in peanut butter and roll it in birdseed
- Make popcorn strings as outdoor decoration they can eat
Hang these up in your garden and watch to s ee if any birds get hungry.
2. Craft a Nativity Scene
It can be as big or as small as you like, but it’s a great learning and creative opportunity for them.
Start by finding a big cardboard box, then turn it upside down and open the flaps – hay presto (sorry) you’ve got a stable. Then get your kids to make all the animals and people out of sticks, clay, cones and natural things and place them inside with some battery-powered Christmas lights for a festive touch.
What’s good about this is it will keep them occupied for a while. And the whole thing can be bought into the home when there’s bad weather too.
3. Go on a Festive Christmas Lights Walk
This is a great option if you live in a built-up area. Just wrap up warm and maybe take along a hot drink while you enjoy all the merry decorations your neighbours have put up.
4. Go to the Park
Keep kids active this winter by frequenting local parks. A good play on the swings and trip down the slide is great for lifting moods and cheering up your children. So, since the parks are still open and most are optimised for year-round play, take your kids down there for a couple of hours to run free. Just remember your hand sanitiser and maybe get them to wear some gloves too.
DIY Scavenger Hunts for Kids
There may not be bold colours around at this time of year, but the winter outdoors is a veritable jumble of thing to look at and discover. So why not set up a unique kind of scavenger hunt?
1. Find Traces of Festive Creatures in the Wild
There are certain types of lichen which are bushy and hairy and could be mistaken for tufts of hair. If you choose to go ahead, you’ll be looking for Beard Lichen (Usnea species). You can find it on tree trunks, branches, and twigs higher up in the tree canopy. You might need some binoculars. It can be white, cream-coloured or even hairy green, so you could find evidence of the big man’s beard, some reindeer or even signs that the Grinch has been out and about!
Just be sure not to puck it off or disturb the environment. Take pictures instead to preserve the natural way of things.
2. Make a Starry Trail
You could cut up some cardstock, make stars out of sticks or use tinfoil. Hang them around the garden, the street, or your local wood. All the kids have to do is find them. You can make it extra fun by writing an action on each one, like 5 star jumps, hopping on one leg or talking in a different voice for 5 minutes. Just remember how many you hung up and make sure they’re all bought in again once they’re done.
You could do something similar to the star trail but with presents in your garden with clues or “you’re getting warmer” hints. Or download a reindeer hoof print and press a similar shape into the ground in the woods and see who can take pictures of them all. There are loads of scavenger hunt options if you think about it.
Make Some Outdoor Décor
Another thing you could do to keep kids active this winter is decorating the outside of the house. Sure, they can’t hang up lights or anything, but other decorations are a lovely addition they can get involved in.
1. DIY Decorations
Give them any old indoor tinsel or baubles and ask them to decorate any bushes, trees and plants in your front garden. Just make sure they won’t disintegrate in the rain and that you won’t be upset if they get damaged by the weather. If they’re not sure where to start, give them a few ideas, like winding tinsel through the fence or wrapping it around the tree trunk.
2. Try Natural Materials
Why not ask them to grab a bunch of sticks, rocks, and things along with some rope or string and other crafting bits and bobs to see what homemade decorations they can make? It’s an easy and affordable way for them to get involved and express themselves in a creative Christmas way. Here are a few ideas.
Winter and the festive season bring a bunch of excellent outdoor activities for kids and loads of outdoor learning ideas. Keeping kids active during the cold months of the year doesn’t have to be complicated. Why not go on a scavenger hunt or give another option a try to help your kids get some much-needed fresh air and playtime this winter season.