We have been spending more time indoors than usual lately. It is February, which is a month I am not too fond of, and it has been so cold! But today, we braved the weather and went for a winter nature walk. Like always, once we were all out in the woods, we had a wonderful time.
We came home refreshed and tuckered out from a busy afternoon… which also made for a peaceful bedtime! So today, I thought I would share some winter nature walk ideas with you!
Winter Nature Walk Ideas
Before you set out on your winter nature walk, I would suggest having a peek at this post by Ann over at My Nearest and Dearest on Making the Most of Winter with Kids.
Encourage your little ones to really connect with nature with a scavenger hunt. This sweet printable encourages you to use all of your senses as you explore the outdoors. Do you hear those birds singing? Feel the prickly pine needles? Nature walks are such a magical experience with little ones, and these printables are the perfect addition!
We love to bring a sled on our nature walks! Usually, Sam is a hiker and Benjamin is a combination of a hiker and a snuggler, but this time they both hopped on a sled. The paths were the perfect size for the sled, and it was a great chance for the boys to really notice their surroundings. Since they usually trudge through the snow, a lot of their attention is focused on their feet and not falling in the snow—but being in the sled, they were able to look at things from a new perspective and explore with their eyes. There was also a wonderful gentle slope which was so much fun to go down (and up and down and up…).
Make Land Art
Madeline and I had been wanting to try our hand at some land art. We had been inspired by the gorgeous land art of Richard Shilling, and this was a great opportunity to give it a try. Though we didn’t get too elaborate, we had a great time making spirals and patterns and playing with different angles using the camera.
Looking for Animal Tracks
The woods near us are full of animal tracks. It was fun to look at all the different tracks we could find and try to figure out whose tracks were whose. We believe we found deer, bunny, squirrel, and bird tracks. Though next time we will be sure to bring some animal track ID cards. I like the ones that I found over at Hobby Farms.
Looking for Signs of Animals and Birds
While we were on our winter nature walk, we were looking for animals. We did see a few birds, but that was all. We are rather noisy explorers, and the fun sledding on the hill was sure to tell any animal in the area where we were! But we saw many signs of animals. The boys were thrilled to find some deer poop (what child wouldn’t be?), and we also found a few trees with the bark nibbled off.
Looking for nature walk ideas for bigger kids? Bring a camera! Madeline had so much fun taking pictures. She was playing with light and angles as she explored the woods. If I had brought our less expensive camera, I am sure Sam would have loved snapping some pictures too!
Go Off the Beaten Track
We went to different woods than we usually do for this nature walk, so we didn’t really venture far from the beaten trail. Since we have so much snow, we couldn’t be very sure where there were ditches and dips… and we have A LOT of snow. But venturing off of the beaten trail is a great thing to do on a nature walk if you are familiar with the woods. Little ones feel much more like explorers when they are pushing branches and stepping over roots. There is also something wonderful about being the first footprint in a new patch of snow.
It is wonderful to be outside in the winter. I always love it (once I am actually out there!), and it is great to let my little ones explore and play in nature.
These nature walk ideas are well worth the energy to bundle everyone up! And if you need a little more motivation, think how peacefully the kids will sleep after all that time outside.
Looking for more nature walk ideas? Check out my series on Five Senses Activities for Kids Outside.
P.S. Don’t forget to download your Free Nature Walk Scavenger Hunt printables!