Published on December 13, 2023
Keep your kids outdoors and entertained this winter break with these engaging and accessible activities, curated by Evergreen's team of Outdoor Educators.
Winter break doesn’t have to mean a break from the great outdoors. This year, instead of hibernating, get ready to embrace the season with a flurry of engaging activities that turn the frosty landscape into our playground.
“There’s an expression in outdoor education — there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing choices,” says Claire Christie, Evergreen’s Camp Director. “Being outdoors in the winter offers so many benefits to children and adults alike and can add beauty to the uniqueness of the activities you can do in the winter. Activities that you can’t do any other time of the year.”
From tracking animal prints to outdoor crafts, there are many ways for kids to get outside and play when there is snow on the ground. We asked Evergreen’s Outdoor Educators to share 10 of their favourite winter activities to help young and old get outdoors this season.
Nature is full of sights, sounds, smells and even textures. Explore the many different textures of tree bark by making rubbings on different trees. Bring a crayon and paper with you on a walk, and when you find an interesting tree, place the paper over the bark and rub the crayon over it. Now you have a cool print of the bark that you can compare to different types of trees.
They say that no two snowflakes are alike — so here’s an activity that can virtually never get old! Grab a piece of black material (felt, cloth, paper) and let snowflakes fall on it. Take a closer look by using a magnifying glass, and note the incredibly intricate patterns in each individual snowflake.
Thanks to the blanket of snow, finding animal tracks can be much easier during the winter. See how far you can follow each set of tracks and whether you can even identify the animal they belong to. You can even use more than just footprints to track animals; look for animal scat or chewed plants along the way. If you’re lucky, you may be able to follow the signs to their home — or even to the animal itself!
Turn the pristine snow-covered landscape into your canvas! Mix food colouring with water in a spray bottle, and after a fresh snowfall, embark on a colourful adventure, painting the snow a mix of vibrant colours.
Winter is the best time for spotting squirrel homes, known as dreys. They may look similar to a bird’s nest, but they are rounder and include many more leaves than sticks. Once you start to notice them, you’ll see them everywhere. Go for a walk around your neighbourhood and see how many you can find.
Not enough snow for a full snowman? No problem! Get creative by making silly snow faces on trees. Just stick some snow pieces onto the bark to give your favourite tree a delightful touch of personality.
Searching for a creative and nature-inspired winter activity that will captivate your kids’ imaginations? Collect different natural materials, like acorn caps, pine needles or anything else you can find, then arrange them on a plastic or Styrofoam dish and pour water into it. Place a string with ends inside the water, but leave a part of the string hanging off of the plate. When it freezes completely, lift it out, use the string to hang it somewhere outside, and watch the rays of the sun shine through.
Who says winter can’t be colourful? Grab a collection of paint chips from a paint store and discover how many colours you can find in the great outdoors. You’ll be surprised at how many you can find!
Gather a handful of needles from a safe-to-consume pine tree, like white pine (always confirm the species before making tea). Bring water to a boil, add in your chopped up pine needles, and let steep for about 10 minutes. As you enjoy the warm drink, know that you are getting a great dose of vitamin C!
Embrace this year-round adventure, where the changing seasons unveil different sights. Compile a list of 20-25 potential outdoor discoveries, or use our bingo card. See what you find as you venture outside and how many items you can check off.
Not everyone has a backyard where they can build snow forts, run around and stay active in the winter. That’s part of the magic of public spaces like the Brick Works. In addition to providing opportunities for programming, great public spaces play an essential role in bringing together people of different ages, backgrounds, cultures and perspectives. They’re places to make a new friend or to share an encounter with a stranger.
“Parks and places like Evergreen’s skating rink and Children’s Garden are free places where families and kids can experience the joy of winter and embrace the cold,” Christie adds.
Bring your kids to visit the Brick Works to enjoy all the exciting, outdoor activities we have to offer. We run a variety of programs, including PA Day Camps, Winter Break Camp, and Nature School. Visit our website to learn about all the children’s programming.