Winter is here, and with that come the snow days. While you may want to conserve energy and hibernate like a bear, it’s actually a great time to unplug our screens and use our own body's energy to play outside instead. You can turn down the heat when you're out adventuring to waste less energy, too!
There are lots of ways to enjoy the snow, whether during recess or lunchtime at school, or at home anytime! Make sure to bundle up in layers before heading out to play in the cold. Check out this Winter Adventures video for some fun winter activity ideas, and check out our list:
Snow sculptures and snow forts: Snow is a free and accessible art supply so get creative and have fun with your sculpture ideas! Make a traditional snowman, or try making a cat, dog, or even a dinosaur! Get creative with leaves, fallen sticks, rocks, and other art supplies from nature. You could also practice design and construction skills by building snow forts. The sticky type of snow works best. If kids are building anything with a roof, remember to have adult supervision.
Snowshoeing: Walking in deep snow is difficult, but snowshoes make it fun! Many places in Nova Scotia have free snowshoe rental programs, which lets more people try this fantastic winter activity, and it also wastes less by sharing resources. For rental information across the province check out these resources from Hike Nova Scotia, which is an organization that hosts group hikes all year. There's also an article by Halifax Bloggers highlighting this free activity. Pack a lunch and head out on a hike with family or friends. Bring warm drinks in a thermos, and healthy snacks to keep up your energy.
Feed the birds: Food for animals is scarce in the winter months so feeding the birds in these lean times will help them prepare for nesting in the spring. Students can make a bird feeder using a toilet paper roll, peanut butter, string and bird seed. Check out more bird feeder ideas on Pinterest, too!
Sledding: Whether it's a crazy carpet, saucer, or toboggan, sledding is a whole lot of fun! If you’re in the Halifax area, this Toboggan Hills map pinpoints some of the best sledding hills.
Track Animal Footprints: What animal prints can you see in the snow? Who made them? Was it a dog, a cat, squirrel, bird, or a deer? There are lots of tracking guides available at provincial libraries to help you determine what critter made those tracks.
Skating: Nova Scotia has lots of ponds, so why not go skating? Check the ice first for safety. The Canadian Red Cross states that ice should be 20cm thick for a group to skate. Don’t want to shovel off a pond? Check out local outside skating rinks. There is the rink in the Civic Square in Truro and the Emera Oval in Halifax. Many communities have skate lending/borrowing programs so it's simple to take part or learn to skate.
Start a window garden: Use egg cartons to start seeds in pots. Check out this plant pot you can make from plastic bottles. Things that grow well inside include lettuce and herbs such as peppermint, basil, and cilantro.
Upcycling crafts: Make new toys using objects from around the house. Old clothes, blankets, magazines and odds and ends can create fun toys and crafts. Kids can make a guitar using a paper towel roll, tissue box and rubber bands! Kids can make a bracelet using old magazines! For more ideas, see our Pinterest Boards.
Make draft snakes: Fun to make, these crafts also save energy when you use them to block drafts around the house! You can make yours into a snake, a wiener dog, a crocodile, anything, the limits are endless! This is a great activity for kids of any age, as they can make it as simple, or as fancy as they’d like.
Read a book or play a board game: Instead of staring at a screen, spend some time reading or playing a board game to relax while stretching the imagination and learning. There are so many great books about the environment, it can be hard to know where to start, so look for recommendations like these. Then you can get cozy with a book and a blanket and turn down the heat to save energy. No board games around? Play cards, or create your own board game! The possibilities here are endless. You could even create a game about saving energy!
Blanket fort picnic: Help kids help make litterless lunches. Skip single-use plastic and use reusable dishes and cutlery to reduce your waste. Build a blanket fort and pretend that you’re eating lunch while camping in the Yukon!
Whatever the weather, let's have fun this winter, and keep the earth in mind during all of our winter adventures!
Northern NS Engagement Officer