Winter activities and crafts

Girls heading downhill on a sledge
Get set for winter fun! (Photo: WTML/Ben Lee)

Brrrr! It’s getting chilly. But there’s plenty of fun to be had with our winter-themed activities, whether you want to wrap up warm and venture outside, or just cosy up by the fire.

Ice art
Make your own ice sculpture (Photo: WTML)

Make some ice sculptures

Freezing weather? Then it’s the perfect time for some icy art! Just get some different shaped balloons and fill them with water. Pop some natural objects into the balloons, such as pine needles, berries, and leaves, and put them outside – or into your freezer – overnight to freeze. In the morning, peel off the balloons to reveal your sculptures.

You could also experiment by adding some food colouring to the water.

Homemade popcorn bird feeders

Give the birds a festive treat by making these strings to hang outside.

You will need:

  • popping corn
  • a large pan with lid
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • strong thread
  • a needle
  • other ingredients – dried or fresh cranberries look pretty, or you could add other dried fruit or peanuts in their shells.

Get a grown-up to help you pop the corn. Tip: it’s easier to thread if it’s a bit stale so you could make it the day before.

1. Put the oil in the pan and place it on a medium heat.

2. Add the popcorn, put the lid on and give the pan a shake to coat the corn and stop it sticking.

3. Wait for your corn to stop popping, then let it stand for a minute before you lift the lid.

4. Once the corn has cooled, carefully thread it together with any other ingredients you’re using to make your strings.

5. Hang them on trees and bushes and watch the birds feast!

Create a winter collage

Collect some twigs and glue them to a piece of paper to make some bare winter trees – it looks nice if you use blue paper for the background. You could also add some evergreen trees using bits of foliage or fallen pine needles from your Christmas tree.

Then roll some cotton wool into little balls and stick them onto your collage to make snow.

Devil's matchstick (Cladonia floerkeana)
Look for devil's matchstick lichen (Photo: WTML/Richard Becker)

Hunt for Santa’s beard

All that rushing about visiting grottos and delivering presents means Santa has left bits of his beard caught on trees and bushes all over the place! Can you find any?

Oh OK! Santa’s usually very careful, so it’s not really his beard; it’s a type of lichen! In winter it’s much easier to spot lichens on bare branches and rotting wood. As well as Santa’s beard, there are other types you could look out for. Devil’s matchstick looks just like lots of matches with red tips. Witches’ butter is like a big, shiny black blister, and frilly lettuce lichen is light green and grows on conifers.

Go for a sing-song winter walk

There are lots of carols and other Christmas songs that mention trees or woodland wildlife – ‘The Holly and the Ivy’ and ‘When the Red, Red Robin Comes Bob, Bob, Bobbin’ Along’ for starters. How many others can you think of?

Learn a verse or two of each and have a jolly sing-song on your next wander - especially if you're off out for a Boxing Day walk. Or keep your eyes peeled and burst into song when you spot one of the things mentioned!

Remember to check our activities section for loads more things to do. How about a wonderful winter hunt, building winter homes for wildlife or making a winter wreath? Let us know what you’ve been up to by posting on our Facebook page, or on Instagram or Twitter using #NatureDetectives.

What's your favourite winter activity?

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