Picture a grey January day and kids going crazy from being cooped up indoors. Children it seems are immune to ‘bad weather’, but without sun or snow to tempt us out of our cosy centrally heated homes, we adults sometimes need a nudge.
If you’re looking for some inspiration on those cold grey January days, then mother of two and author Sue Gascoyne is on hand with some tried and tested fun ideas for things to do outdoors:
• Make a mud pit as this is great for splashing in; experimenting with consistency for creating mud pictures; mixing up hearty concoctions with old pots and pans; and of course, making mud pies.
• Collect sheets of ice form a puddle and add slowly drops of food colouring to watch the colour spread through the ice.
• Go puddle jumping as there’s something irresistible about cracking the glass-like layer of ice on a puddle. Add powder paints for some fun welly printing!
• Fill an old ice cube tray with mud and leave outside overnight to freeze. Turn the mini bricks out for lots of building fun. Add small toy animals for firing imagination.
• If you don’t fancy getting messy, make frozen mini ice bricks instead to build igloos with or to create a polar landscape complete with frozen shaving foam snow, glass cubes, a safety mirror and polystyrene pieces.
• If it’s damp and cold outdoors then why not create a fire pit for charcoal making, toasting of marshmallows and warming chilly fingers by the fire? Share a flask of hot chocolate for the best snack ever!
• Go on a family walk, armed with a list of things for you all to spot. Include a mix of unusual as well as unexpected things that will add challenge and excitement.
• In Winter time birds can really struggle to find enough food to eat so why not make bird cakes and encourage an interest in bird spotting? Heat up some lard and carefully mix with bird seed. Use the warm mixture to fill coconut shells, small terracotta plant pots or recycled yoghurt pots. (You will need to make a small hole in the bottom of the containers and insert and knot a loop of string to hang it.) once set cut away the plastic containers if used then hang in a position where you can spot which birds it attracts. Children can create a tally to record and identify the winged diners or why not get involved in a national Birdwatch campaign.
One of the best things about getting cold outdoors is the pleasure of warming up afterwards with a cup of hot chocolate and a roaring fire. There’s nothing like the tingle of cold cheeks to make you feel alive, so what are you waiting for, the outdoors awaits!