Wonderful winter activities
‘Tis the season to cosy up by the fire and read a book all day – or is it? These activities are guaranteed to do away with the winter blues and keep you in the festive mood all season.
Have fun, and don’t forget to rug up properly so you’re prepared for your outdoor adventures.
Winter wildlife spotting
Winter is a great time for spotting almost all Scottish wildlife, as many animals have to venture further out into the open to find food. Winter also means it’s ideal conditions for sighting animal tracks in the snow, frost or mud.
Use our What can you spot in winter? (PDF 800KB) activity sheet to get out and discover how many animals and plants you can find. You can also check out our top 20 challenge (PDF 296KB)to see how many fun things you can do while visiting the forest.
If you would like to help birdlife get through the harshest months of the year, you can try making bird feeders out of pine cones (PDF 756KB).
Winter ice art
We all love making snowmen when the first snow falls, but have you every thought of making hanging ice baubles, snow graffiti or a teddy bear igloo?
Mix water with food colouring in some spray bottles, then set the children lose on snow outside. You can try using other techniques such as straw blowing or paintbrush flicking.
You can make hanging ice art (PDF 981KB) by freezing water in moulds that contain a leaf and string for hanging. Hang these mobiles in your garden or outside a window – anywhere where you can tie the string.
Snow buildings and mini igloos
You can be the architect or builder in designing your own city made of snow. Plastic containers are great moulds to help make the square block you will need to shape your buildings, and a plastic spade and spoon are useful tools for finishing touches.
Try building a skyscraper with roads for toy cars, a castle, cottage, or even a mini igloo for teddy bears and dolls!
To make a mini igloo:
- Place bricks in a circle, leaving a small teddy-sized gap for an entrance. Small rectangle containers are useful for making small bricks for this.
- Place a second row of bricks on top, covering the gaps of the first layer and slightly nearer to the centre of the circle.
- Keeps adding levels until the sides meet at the top.
- After dark, you can put a torch in the igloo and enjoy the magical glow-in-the-dark mini igloos.
You’ll be on Santa’s nice list if you while away the dreich weather making cheery Christmas decorations. To get the most out of the experience, we recommended hot drinks and mince pies accompany all winter ‘crafternoons’.
Make your own Christmas wreath
You will need:
- Evergreen tree clippings – willow, birch, pine, ivy, holly or fir are all suitable.
- A ring – either wire or a fresh spruce wreath. You can make your own wire frame by bending a metal coat hanger into a circle – and you have an already fashioned hook to hang your wreath.
- Optional moss or grass to make a chunky base to stick your spruce into. Fresh, moist moss is best to use as it won’t be flaky and fall apart. Alternatively you can simply try attaching the clippings directly onto the wire frame.
- Thin wire or twine and pins for holding the structure
- Optional extra decorations for colour such as dried fruit, berries, pine cones, cinnamon sticks, ribbon, plastic flowers, or perhaps chilli and limes for an interesting twist!
- If you’re using a base moss or grass material for your wreath, bind this onto the frame, wrapping your thin wire or twine around the moss and frame to secure in place.
- Attach your tree clippings to the wreath base. Tie the wire around the stem of the clippings and push this into the moss, bending the opposite direction to secure in place. You can wrap twine around the stems and base of the wreath and tie for extra support if needed.
- Add your decorations for some colour and embellishment using the same securing method.
- If you don’t have a wire hook on your wreath, you can loop a ribbon around one edge of the wreath so you can hang on your door!
Pine cone decorations
Pine cones make great mini Christmas trees, reindeers, elves, birds, bats, spiders and much more. You can use these as table decorations or Christmas tree ornaments – you’re only limited by your imagination!