7 Of The Best Ways To Get The Kids Out In The Woods This Winter
7 OF THE BEST WAYS TO GET KIDS OUT IN THE WOODS THIS WINTER. Winter brings dark nights and cold windy afternoons. Its also time for the annual struggle of how to make sure the kids get some excersize and aren’t glued to screens for the next 6 months.
My kids love being outside, especially in one of the woods around us, but when it’s cold, dark and grey outside and indoors its warm and the TV is on why bother?
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Well, in our case we HAVE to go for a walk, as we have a large fluffy dog who has plenty of energy to burn. The kids cant help much during the week but at the weekend we always have a wonderful walk through the woods hail, rain or shine.
I’m very lucky that once I get the kids out, they always have fun and end up wanting to walk even further. However, some kids i’ve taken care of over the years are the exact opposite.
They hate the outdoors in all its forms and will not take part without a really good incentive. One thing that helps is to be prepared. You will set yourself up for misery if you don’t plan ahead.
7 OF THE BEST WAYS TO GET KIDS OUT IN THE WOODS THIS WINTER- How to get ready.
Start with good footwear, wellies or walking boots are best for the woods. I have a love/hate relationship with wellies though. I love mine and every year, I long for cold autumn days so I can get my cosy jumper and wellies on for a walk in the woods. BUT I think children’s wellies are a nightmare! Fancy characters are all well and good, but when they leak on their second use, it’s frustrating. I always invest in sturdy wellingtons like these.
We have our allotment so my 3 little ones are forever in them, so they do get used. These are a little expensive by comparison, but if your kids love to be out adventuring, digging, walking and playing in wellies. These are for you! They have never sprung a leak during a ‘Peppa Pig Muddy Puddles’ session.
I’d also reccommend a splash suit or something similar to the one below, especially for little ones. Kids love to run in the woods and mine are no exception,but there are a lots of things to fall on and over. A wipe down splash suit means your not fretting over every bump or trip.
And some other items id reccommend carrying are, a bag for anything the kids collect, hats and gloves and a first aid kit. We have this small one so if theres any splinters or trips were all good. Also i tend to take some snacks and bottle of water with us. Its thirsty work exploring.
Here’s a FREE activity sheet to download for EVEN more ideas.
What we tried
So, now we’ve covered that, I thought i’d share some of the things weve tried to get the kids outdoors and active to hopefully inspire you to try some..(it’ll also remind me when im stuck for ideas on a bleak morning when id rather stay in bed).
As i said my kids LOVE the woods. During October holiday this year, we took a picnic to the deepest part of the woods. We decided to make a wigwam to have our picnic in.
Once i gave the children the general idea they went off like rocket, putting out falling sticks and branches. we laid the biggeat against a tree where a knot had appeared and laid the other branches against it.
During their searches the kids found some metal chair frames that had been dumped to one of the boys set about finding flat wood to lay over them to make a long bench.
They spent hours in the woods that day even picking ferns as a carpet. We had alot of conversations about wigwams and where did they come from. So it was educational too.
My kids climb regularly and find things to climb EVERYWHERE and this day was no diffetent. They found a giant tree that had fallen over. It was still attached to the ground by a few of the roots, so it was still alive and leafy but it had lots of branches and really old crinky bark which the kids loved climbing.
Our town has a huge amount of wildlife in our area which is actually a large town. We see buzzards and deer regularly, and there are more than a few rabbit burrows and foxes near by too. It’s fun to go for a hunt and see what tracks and trails we can find. I try to encourage the kids to use all our senses. It’s hard to see buzzards circling up so high, but you can hear their piercing call a long way off. The kids love following them as they circle over head and watching with binoculars.
Following deer paths through the trees is fun too, but be careful when your exploring that you don’t actually come across a sleeping doe with her babies.
Other things we’ve tried in the woods are scavenger hunts, either a pre-made list of items to find..ie a pinecone an apple tree etc.
Or for the younger ones we simply look for a rainbow ie something red and something yellow.
Games. Endless possibilties
We also play games such as Eye Spy but not just letters, we also include colour and shapes for the little ones ie can anyone see a triangle?
This book was great for our ideas..
Another favourite with my kids is Follow the leader.. the kids take it in turns to follow the others infront and copy everything they do. The older kids try to out do each other by skipping over logs or jumping low branches. It can turn into a mini obstacle course.
We spend alot of time foraging in the woods too. The kids love this. Picking lots of leaves for our rabbit such as dandelion and plaintain. The kids also love foraging for Raspberries, Cherry plums, Brambles, Sloe berries, Elderberries, Apples, and Conkers. As well as a ton of other seasonal items.
Spring time has us collecting Nettle tips, Dandelion leaves, Elder flowers and Mahonia berries. We also snack on a few fresh Hawthorn leaves as we walk. They are so soft and have a texture of lettuce when they first appear. Tasting almost like a crisp green apple.
In Autumn, we collect loads of leaves for different crafts too. Its amazing what you find when you look. We use all our foraging for jams, and we’ve tried painting with the berries. Dying cloth. Conker games.
We use the berries and apples to make a Ribena type cordial and deserts and also in cakes too. Endless posibilities.
Why not check our if there is a local foraging group? That is the beast place to get some pointers on what grows in your local area, as you shouldn’t pick anything your not 100% sure about.
We also have a rule that we NEVER pick mushrooms. I wouldn’t know the 1st thing about what is safe of not so we look but never touch. Why not check out this book, it was a big help to get us started.
LAST ONE OF OUR – 7 OF THE BEST WAYS TO GET KIDS OUT IN THE WOODS THIS WINTER ?
We play this in the near-by stream, it is a favourite with our younger kids. Sometimes, we make some folded paper boats at home and walk to the stream to float them and follow them along.
So, there you go! 7 Great ideas to get the kids out this Winter. What do you think? How do you get out and about during the Winter chill. Why not email me and let me know! I’d love to hear all your ideas.
Need more inspiration? Why not check out my post on 44 Winter Activities to do in January It has some amzing ideas. Also, why not try making a Winter Buffet For The Birds too? You could pick a tree in the woods and cover it in different food for the birds? It’s a tough life for everyone in Winter.