When children spend time outside, they have an increased appreciation for living things, and understanding of the earth’s processes and the relationships between flora and fauna. Nature play builds childhood resilience by providing children with an environment that allows for adventure, exploration and experimentation. These are the foundations for natural, child led learning! If you would like to read more about the benefits and evidence base for nature play, check out this blog post.

Getting outside during winter supports this natural learning but also serves to connect children to seasonal changes – whether that be the temperature, weather, the observation of new growth or the disappearance of leaves,
or perhaps the emergence of some creatures and the absence of those taking shelter.

“there is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing” -Sir Randulph Fiennes

I of course suggest weather appropriate clothing. Layers are great as once you are active outside, you will likely feel the need to de-layer after the initial cold of stepping outside subsides.

Here are some simple ideas can be used at home or at your local or national park. On some winter days time outside may be limited to 20 minutes, some days it may be hours. The important take away from this is that it is possible to find time, everyday to get outside!

  • Go outside with umbrellas and experience rain or snow
  • Make boats from sticks and float them in streams or in puddles
  • Visit the beach after a storm and see what you can find
  • Hunt for mushrooms and fungi
  • Wrap yarn around the base of a tree or on a stick to invite colour back to your surrounds
  • Go on a winter scavenger hunt – get our free printable here
  • Take art supplies outdoors and document what you can see and find
  • Search for tadpoles in a local creek or pond
  • Build a track in the dirt for trucks and cars
  • Create a bird feeder – place peanut butter and bird seed onto recycled cardboard roll and hang this from a tree
  • Create bark rubbings – place paper onto tree trunks and colour with crayons
  • Make frozen sun catchers – here are some easy to follow instructions
  • Go foraging and create a seasonal table. If you live in Australia, consider joining our nature exchange
  • Add abundant seasonal produce like sliced lemons or limes to your mud kitchens
  • Jump in puddles!
  • Build a tee pee with sticks
  • Use a magnifying glass to search for insects
  • Read books outside in the warmth of the sun
  • Search for the footprints or tracks left by animals. The slimy trail left by a snail can easily be found after a day of rain!
  • Make obstacle courses outdoors – move your bodies to keep warm!

What are your ideas for nature play in winter? Head to our Instagram post and comment there – that way you can share your tips with our
community!

We stock a range of toys and resources that support nature play, from baskets for foraging to scoops and strainers for mud kitchen play. Check out the range here.

Hannah x