I received a sample of this product in exchange for my review. However, I only recommend products or services I love, that I use personally and believe will be good for my readers. The links to Amazon in this post are affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase using them.
Winter seems to be lasting extremely long this year. I’m usually all for going outside and playing in the snow, but this year it has been really cold and windy, making time outside unpleasant and pretty much impossible. In the spring and summer, we love hiking and exploring in the woods at a nearby park. I’m sure we could explore nature and make some awesome discoveries there in winter too, but I’m just not motivated enough to brave the cold.
You can still explore nature in your own backyard
Luckily, we have a yard that is surprisingly full of things to discover if you look. After we dropped my oldest off at school, my son wanted to go exploring the puddles that had turned to ice in our driveway. We observed that you can easily break up ice that is thin, but not the thicker spots. We strolled around the driveway looking for ice as he exclaimed, “There’s ice everywhere!”. Of course he had his magnifying glass to make it more official, but you can make these observations without any tools. As we walked, we talked about ice and how it got there, plus did a little “skating” on the larger frozen puddles.
Then we moved onto the back yard. Over near the garden, we spotted these tracks and tried to guess what kind of animal might have made them. We observed how the path of tracks came in one corner of the yard, looped around, and left out the other corner. Upon closer inspection, we noticed the prints had 3 toes and realized they probably came from the wild turkeys that often visit. It was really cool, even for me, to see the path that they traveled.
We also saw these smaller tracks from the neighborhood feral cat and once we saw deer tracks in our garden too.
This activity can be as long or as quick as you’d like. If you don’t have animals in your yard (although you might be surprised what you find), you can observe your own footprints. We compared the tread on Daddy’s work boots to the tread from my sneakers and noted that my son’s feet prints were smaller. It all might seem obvious to you, but these types of things are great conversation starters and new discoveries for kids.
If you want to extend the activity even more, you can go inside and use a batch of play dough to make tracks with your child’s toy animals.
Have you made any new discoveries in nature with your kids? I love to hear them.