Looking for inspiration for outdoor winter activities? Sometimes it’s just too easy to sit around indoors. Instead, why not choose an activity from the list below and head outside with the family.
1. Bird watching
Winter is a great time for viewing birds as they can be seen more easily when there are no leaves on the trees. It’s also the ideal opportunity to spot one of my favourite bird sights, large flocks of starlings swooping and swishing through the sky before they settle down to roost for the evening. This spectacle can often be seen in towns, but why not head out to an RSPB reserve to watch them?
A great sport for all of the family, whatever your age. Small children can be carried in packs, toddlers and pre-schoolers can complete a string course, whilst the older ones can take their pick of colour coded courses. You might get a little muddy in winter but at least the nettles and brambles have died back at this time of year. Check out my post about orienteering for families to find out more.
3. Snow fun
There’s nothing better than a day outside in the snow, whether it’s sledging, snowball fights or walking through knee deep snow. Children generally need little encouragement to get them outside once the white stuff starts falling.
4. Go on a treasure hunt
There are several companies which offer treasure hunt packs for most of the major towns and cities. We had fun completing a family spy trail in Oxford which you can read about here.
Alternatively, you could always create your own treasure hunt. For example, take photos of buildings in your town to identify or places in the local park. Print them out on a sheet and hand to your kids to spot. You can make it as hard or as easy as you wish, so it’s suitable for a wide range of ages.
5. Visit a wood
One of my favourite times to visit woods is in winter when you can kick your way through all of the fallen leaves. Trees can still be identified by their shape and bark even when they haven’t got leaves, so why not go on a tree spotting walk? The Nature Detectives website is a great resource with free ID sheets, games and crafts to complete.
6. Explore the night sky
The early evenings in winter are great for sky watching. From Orion to the international space station, there’s always something interesting to see. My top ten night sky spotting suggestions can be found here.
7. I-Spy books
The books of my childhood! I’ve just checked out the I-Spy website and am amazed to find 60 books covering a whole range of topics, including places, vehicles, nature and travel. They’ve even got an I-Spy Football Grounds book (not sure they had that one when I was a child). We’ve taken an assortment of these on holidays and days out and they’re great to get kids interested in the world around them.
8. Go on a picnic
It might sound mad but a winter picnic can be great fun, and you probably won’t need to fight others for the best picnic spot! Wrap up warm and take flasks of soup, hot squash for the kids and tea/coffee. Choose a sheltered spot and take something waterproof to sit on too.
Our kids love to scoot, and will happily scoot much further than they’ll walk. The trick is to find a flat, smooth surface as they’ll find it hard if the path is rutted or muddy. Cycle routes and canal paths are often great for this, as long as your kids are old enough not to scoot into cyclists or fall in the canal! Additionally, some playgrounds have scoot or skateboard parks for older children to show off their tricks and stunts.
10. Go to the beach
Another activity that is just as good in winter as it is in the sunny months. You’ll need your wellies to paddle, but beachcombing finds and rock-pooling are often better in winter. Keep safe though by staying away from rough seas and cliff edges which may have been weakened by winter storms.
I hope you find something that inspires you on the list above; if you have any further suggestions please do leave a comment.