Many studies confirm that getting outdoors is very beneficial for our physical and mental well-being. Even if the days are short and dark and the TV is calling, we challenge you to get outside this winter season! Here are 10 ideas to inspire some wintertime family fun!
1. Paint on the Snow
If we are lucky this winter mother nature will give us some snowflakes! If this happens you should definitely try painting in the snow. It is very easy and you just need food colouring and some spray bottles. The best is to use the three primary colours: red, blue and yellow – and you can make so many colourful combinations out of those three. You can create your own spray paint with water and as many drops of food colouring you need to reach your desired depth of colour. And then just have fun with painting, writing or making your own rainbow snowman.
2. Go Plogging
This Swedish fitness sensation comes from word “plocka” which means “to pick” and “jogging” and it is actually a partial work out while you do a good deed for your community as well. When you are plogging, it means that you are jogging and picking up litter at the same time. You burn even more calories than just jogging because you also do some squats and bending over so this is a great way to exercise. And at the same time, you are teaching your children about the responsibility we all have for our planet.
3. Take Pictures in Nature
Have fun on your forest walk and pay attention to the little details you can find in nature. You can use a proper camera or just a phone; either way children will have an amazing experience from capturing moments in nature and spending time together as a family. You can use the photos as a perfect decoration for your house and proudly show them to your future guests.
Stargazing is a beautiful activity for families and a great way to introduce your kids to astronomy. You can use this opportunity to teach them about planets, stars and constellations. Now is actually the perfect time for stargazing because days are short and the dark descends upon us early. You can just enjoy the view and observe what’s visible at the moment or use some tools like binoculars or inexpensive telescopes. Try The Sky Live, the interactive online planetarium to see the sky map of Luxembourg. Another great idea is to download an application Star Chart to your phone or Ipad. With this app, you just point on the sky and it will detect what you are looking at.
5. Treasure Hunt
Preparing a treasure hunt takes a little bit of preparation, but it’s definitely worth it! The biggest challenge is to create a list of clues that children need to solve, collect and follow in order to win a final prize. For example, the clues can involve taking pictures or making videos. To have more fun, it is important to set a time limit and to pick a fun and awesome prize for the winner(s). When you set up a treasure hunt outside you can use the material around you. It’s good to think about using resistant materials that can eventually get wet or dirty. Be inspired by a location close to your home – your backyard, a park or nearby playground. The forest also has great potential for an unforgettable treasure hunt experience. Jado.lu specializes in personalized gifts and they offer a great surprise for your children that is called “Pirates of Luxembourg: Grape juice and treasure hunt.” It consists of a box of locally produced grape juice with a personalized label of a child’s name in a very cool pirate design and an instruction sheet for a treasure hunt!
6. Blowing Frozen Bubbles
Experience science in the outdoors with freezing bubbles! You can make your own bubble solution with ingredients that you have at home. You will need a 1/2 cup dish soap, 1 and 1/2 cups of cold water and 2 teaspoons of sugar. Put it all together and gently stir the mixture. Then you just need to find a straw to blow your bubbles and you have everything for your experiment. The bubbles will form crystals, freeze and then collapse into shimmering fragments. Don’t forget to take pictures of your frozen art!
7. Winter Barbecue
What about a non-traditional cosy version of a nice summer barbecue? We should not be limited by any season to enjoy delicious barbecued food and these precious and memorable family memories, right? If you already have a grill and a house then nothing is easier than just enjoy a good barbecue party with your favourite burgers, sausages, salads and vegetables. Or you can just be adventurous and search for a campfire/fire pit nearby and have your barbecue party in nature. You can teach your children everything about starting a fire, preparing food and just enjoying the rawness of this experience.
8. Make a Bird Feeder at Home and Go Bird Watching
This is an amazing combination of an indoor and an outdoor activity for the whole family. Nature is such a limitless inspiration for activities that we can entertain ourselves with. Winter is a perfect and quiet time to connect with nature and observe the wildlife around us. If you are looking for a crafty activity that you can do with your children, you can make your own homemade bird feeder. You don’t need to run to a craft shop, just get inspired by tools and materials that you have at home. The Spruce Crafts offers you great ways how you can create a bird feeder at home. Prepare your binoculars and you are all set! We can observe 185 species of birds in Luxembourg (you can find a complete list on Birds of Europe). Let us know which species you could identify!
9. Go on a Lantern Evening Walk
Creating your own homemade lanterns is such a fun activity and you can use a lot of things you have at home. The easy option is making lanterns from coffee or tea paper cups if you have them at home. You can start with cutting out small windows in different shapes like circles, hearts, triangles (something easy for children) where the light will shine through. When you are done, you can decorate them with watercolours, glitters, wrapping paper, basically whatever you can find home. At the end you would need a hole punch to make two holes in opposite sides of the cup and you will tie both ends of a piece of string to the each hole so you will be able to hold the lantern with a string in your hand. To make this activity safe for kids instead of a candle, you can use a battery operated tea light or fairy lights which you can easily order online. Another alternative is making lanterns from a soda bottle, which you need to cut approximately in half and wrap it with a tissue paper. You can have fun making a mosaic from different colourful tissue papers, by cutting shapes or drawing some cool patterns. Again, you would need to make two holes and tie them with a string, place the light inside of the lantern and have fun on your evening walk.
10. Jump in Muddy Puddles
In Luxembourg it’s not often we get to play in the snow during the winter, but for sure we definitely have enough rain for the single best activity in this weather – puddle jumping! Children love to splash around and honestly, we should join them too because it’s fun and who said that jumping up and down in puddles is just for kids. Unlock your inner child and remember: You are never too old to jump in puddles! Just make sure that you are prepared for this activity heavily equipped with a good quality rain coat, trousers, boots and a hat for all the jumpers!