Screen-free activities for winter: how to get kids outdoors

Child in wellies walking in a deep puddle in woodland
Get inspired to get outdoors this winter with welly wanders and much more. (Photo: Michael Heffernan/WTML)

As we all know, too much time spent indoors staring at screens is bad for kids. Heading outside and getting some exercise is a great antidote to the over-indulgence of Christmas, and a woodland walk together will help build strong connections with family as well as with the natural world. Our array of fun and energetic activities will make it easy to lure kids away from their gadgets and into the great outdoors!

Winter wildlife spots

Watching wildlife is always fascinating, and animals and birds can be more visible in winter as they need to spend more time outside hunting for scarce food supplies. Look out for squirrels who've woken up from their winter dozing for a snack, and birds foraging for berries and insects – take along our wild woodland bird spotter and see how many you can identify.

Keep your eyes peeled for signs of shyer creatures too. Look for bits of fox or badger fur caught on bushes and fences, tracks in the mud, and piles of poo. Our animal track ID and poo ID will help you work out who's responsible for them.

Fox curled up in the snow looking at the camera
If it snows, look out for pawprints in the snow and frost. (Photo: Andy Rouse/Nature.PL)

Winter woodland activities

There's plenty of other things to do in the wintry woods. You could create your own woodland hideaway with our den building activity – don't forget to take along a warming winter picnic to enjoy inside. You could build cosy winter homes for wildlife too, or construct a twig tower.

If we get a freezing spell, or even some snow, you could explore the sparkling beauty of the icy woods with our winter wonderland hunt, collect natural items to make some ice art, or a glowing ice lantern for when it gets dark.

Child and father building a den out of twigs in woodland
Build a den as a hub for your woodland adventures! (Photo: Michael Heffernan/WTML)

Keep warm on your winter walk

There's nothing like a run around the woods to get the blood pumping so how about a winter scavenger hunt? Before you set out, make a list of things you need to find, such as:

  • an evergreen tree
  • a pine cone
  • a berry
  • a feather
  • a fungus (don't touch as it could be poisonous!)
  • an animal track

Or how about creating your own woodland obstacle course challenge? It could involve walking along a fallen tree trunk, leaping over a log, crossing a stream or puddle on stepping stones, and scrambling under a low-hanging branch. How many other natural can you find?

And if it's been raining, there's nothing better than going on a welly wander, jumping in puddles, wading through streams and squelching through mud – splish, splash, splosh!

Want to receive a seasonal pack of exciting outdoor activity ideas, crafts to try, and lots of learning about nature and wildlife? Then sign up for Nature Detectives Membership. As well as providing your little ones with loads of fun and inspiration, you'll be helping woods and trees too.

How have you got your kids outdoors this winter?

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