5 Nature Activities For Kids In Deepest Winter


"A cold wind was blowing from the north, and it made the trees rustle like living things.”

(George R.R. Martin, A Game of Thrones)

As I write this in January, the sea view from my window is decidedly white and foggy. It’s been like that for three days now. I love this kind of weather, when the cold makes your cheeks glow.

The salty seaside air means that it seldom snows here in Bournemouth, but the coast has its own way of doing winter. Down on the beach the sand is frozen together in little clumps. A walk along the clifftop brings showers of tiny pearls of frost sprinkling on your hair from freezing branches as you pass beneath them, whilst tiny pockets of ice make the ground appear as if scattered with pieces of broken mirror.

Each of us, adult or child, harbours a deep instinct to connect with the natural world. It doesn’t matter whether the weather is warm, wet, foggy, or freezing cold, we all need a daily dose of nature. But how do you make this happen, especially in winter when staying indoors is so toasty and warm? Here are five activities to get your kids closer to nature this winter.

1. Decorate your own bird feeder

Spend a chilly morning indoors, painting a bird feeder with your own design.

Later, when it’s nice enough to go outdoors, choose a place in the garden to hang it. Make sure you can see it from your window.

Then fill the feeder with tasty bird snacks and retreat back to the warm to watch for customers.


2. Take a hearty walk in the cold

So obvious, but it’s all in the preparation, especially today when even adults are not used to dressing up warm for the outdoors.

So make sure everyone has plenty of cosy waterproof clothing and footwear, and that there are snacks and drinks in the offing.

Flasks of hot chocolate and packets of biscuits, consumed wearing gloves whilst sitting on a fallen log, are sheer luxury.

Our four year-old never wants to come away, no matter how freezing it is!

3. Grow your own food in a mini-greenhouse

Your child can grow plants and care for them all the year round. Help them sow seeds, such as trusty cress, or perhaps some small lettuces, in this mini-greenhouse.

Take a trip to the garden centre and let them choose a houseplant for their bedroom.

Teach them when to water and spray it, how to remove dead leaves, and make sure it’s in the right place for warmth and light.

You might be interested to know that the presence of certain plants in the room can help kids get to sleep. Yes, really!

Try jasmine, lavender, aloe vera, or a spider plant.

4. Adopt an insect

You can’t cuddle an ant, but you can get hours of fun setting up and caring for a formicarium.

Watch them navigating, building, carrying food around and generally being busy.

Pets connect us with nature, no matter how tiny they are.

How about adopting some stick insects or rescuing some garden snails from the cold?

5. Learn about the world outside

This title has been very popular at the Kids’ Nature Shop.

In ‘Not Your Typical Book about the Environment’, young readers learn about the remarkable time they live in.

Each chapter begins by taking familiar objects such as T-shirts, video games, or bikes, and using them as launching pads to delve into related environmental issues.

Winter is the perfect time to cuddle up somewhere quiet and warm and read to your heart’s content.

Enjoy the dark nights and bright skies! We’ll be back again soon with some tips for the Spring!