Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Getting the Family Outdoors

Karma Larsen

Kids will be out of school next week and it may be difficult to get
them away from all the residual bounty of Christmas gifts—movies, video games, new phones or apps. But don’t waste your days indoors. Here’s some ideas to get your family outside.

  • Do some sleuthing and take a good inventory of all the tracks in the snow. Try to figure out what animals might have made them, and track them as far as you’re able. If your own yard is limited, take a trip to Pioneers Park or any wild areas nearby.
  • Make a campfire. It may be a little chilly but it’s not too cold to roast some marshmallows, look at the night sky and listen to the subtle sounds of a winter evening.
  • Walk around the yard or neighborhood to notice which trees still have leaves, how the snow drifts in different places and what things are most colorful mid-winter.
  • Pay attention to evergreens and notice the difference in needles and cones. Which cones do you like the best?
  •  Use some of the needles to make prints that look like snowflakes.
  •   Do some bark-rubbings. Take paper and crayons or other art supplies outside and see what kinds of patterns the barks of various trees imprints.
  •   Feed the birds!  Cover pine cones with peanut butter and roll them in birdseed; then watch to see what birds show up for the feast.
  • Jump in the snow, or in wet leaves if the snow is disappearing.
  • Nature journal—record what you hear, see, smell and experience in homemade journals.
  • Gather leaves, cones or berries for collections.

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