Exploring Nature with Kids: Winter Nature Walk

Take a Winter Nature Walk

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The boys and I enjoyed (for the most part) a Winter Nature Walk with some friends yesterday.  Read more about our nature buddies here: 5 Tips for a Successful Nature Walk with Kids: {#1 Find a Buddy}.

We hit a trail near our friends’ home–not really a destination per se, but a convenient location for us.  In nicer weather we like to picnic together, but in the winter we try to stick close to one of our homes for lunch purposes.  Our main goal is to get all of us out into nature for enjoyment and observation.

In preparation for our expedition, we read through parts of the book pictured above: Take A Winter Nature Walk.

It gave us good ideas of things to look (and listen) for.  I love the author’s enthusiasm for nature, and the personal stories she includes throughout the book.

The boys love the photos of winter sights.  Older Brother really likes the section about animal tracks.  (And we saw lots of tracks on our walk)!

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Older Brother collected pine cones, nuts and other treasures for our Nature Display. We also found what we think may be a small piece of a deer antler, as well as an interesting, unidentified object.

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Our unidentified object is about the size of my hand, hard, whitish and concave.

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The top has a pattern of zig zagged lines.

Want to try your own Winter Nature Walk?  Need tips or encouragement?  Read on!

  • Nature walks are a bit trickier during the winter due to cold temps and bulky clothing, but I love the opportunity to see and experience things we don’t get to see during the other seasons.
  • As author Jane Kirkland recommends, it’s best to dress in layers.  Multiple thin layers actually keep you warmer than one or two bulky layers, and you can peel off a layer if you get too warm.
  • Warm, waterproof gear is highly recommended for feet and hands.  Nothing will end a chilly walk faster than cold, wet digits!
  • It’s a good idea to bring along tissues, for those dripping winter noses.
  • Before any nature walk, we try to read books or at least have conversations about the kinds of things we might expect to see.  [Birds, nests, trees, animal signs, clouds, ice, etc.]
  • On the walk, we moms try to direct the kids’ attention to various things here and there, but we try not to interfere too much.  We want the kids to have their own enjoyable experience out in nature, without listening to us pontificate on any one topic.  Our main goal, especially at this young age, is for them to appreciate and enjoy nature while gradually developing the art of observation.
  • Keep the walk short enough to be enjoyable for all, especially if there are very young children involved.  We’d rather do a 30 minute walk where everyone has a good time, than an hour-long one where everyone is freezing and whining by the end.  (Our walk today got a little long and we did have some dissenters by the end.  The older kids were still having a blast, though).
  • My little explorers always  manage to collect treasures, even in the  middle of winter.  I recommend bringing along some sort of bag or collection vessel, or designating a good-sized pocket for this.
  • Try a scavenger hunt!  (See resources below).
  • After the walk, older kids can complete a Nature Journal Page.

Check out these resources!

For our Winter Walk, we looked over a few lists beforehand and carried one clipboard with us (free printable 4×4 chart from the list below).  We didn’t bother with pens or pencils because our gloved hands were so clumsy.  Later, when we were inside, Older Brother checked off all the things we’d seen or heard.

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Nature Walk Journal Page in progress: Older Brother drew ice, pine needles, a vine with berries (on a tree), dried plants…

Happy winter nature walking! 

More nature posts you might like:

 

Take a Winter Nature Walk
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Kathleen Henderson

Let's get real! I’m Kathleen Henderson, your Natural Living Mentor. I’m on a mission to help families see the joy in real food, while finding natural remedies and creating a nontoxic home. Learn more about my story >>

2 Comments

  1. Ali McConville on 02/26/2015 at 12:27 am

    Hi Kathleen,

    Thanks for a peek inside your family nature activities. It feel like the Tundra in the midwest where I live and I have to really push myself ( lots of pep talks) to get out and enjoy Winter. I found some great ideas here for our winter nature walk this weekend!

    I wanted to point out that I think your “unidentified object” is a partial skull. The zigzag lines look a lot like suture lines that hold the plates of a skull together. some little animal I suspect.

    Thanks again,
    Ali- fellow homeschooling comrade!

    • Kathleen on 02/26/2015 at 1:00 am

      Thanks for stopping by, Ali! And thanks for your input concerning our unidentified object. 🙂 Have a marvelous nature walk this weekend out there in your frozen tundra…

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