Here’s a few simple outdoor activities to do that can be easily squeezed into the hectic schedules.
1. Decorate A Tree Or Bush Outside As A Bird Feeding Tree
Smear pine cones in salt-free peanut butter or lard and dip in bird seed – Make strings of popcorn – Create birdseed fatballs to hang up. Enjoy watching quietly to see which birds come and visit. If you don’t have a tree, buy a plastic one or put a branch in a large pot filled with stones or peat-free compost.
2. Set Up An Outdoor Nativity Scene
Once children have heard the Christmas story, make animals or use toy farm animals. Buy some allergy-free hay from a pet shop. Get children to think of substitute possibilities for any animals and people you don’t have. For example, the children may enjoy creating animals from natural materials such a clay, sticks and cones. A large cardboard box turned on its side with flaps for the doors makes a simple stable which can be easily taken outside daily by children.
3. Look For Santa’s Beard
Some lichen grows in hairy tufts. These are traces of Santa. When his beard hair falls out, it lands all over the Earth and creates lichen. Have a hunt for some in your grounds or nearby greenspace. You will find lichen growing on rocks, old wall, gravestones, trees, roofs and fences. Give the children magnifying glasses to help see the lichen better. Lichen is very slow growing so it’s best to let the children take photos rather than pick off lots of clumps.
4. Go For A Christmas Light Walk
This is best in a residential area where children can look out for all the Christmas lights and other decorations. Look the variety of lights, indoors and out. Compare this with lights that are used all year round.
5. Create Natural Decorations And Hang Outside
It is possible to create simple stars from sticks and other natural materials. It can be useful for practicing tying ribbon, weaving and other fine motor skills. Think about where would be a good place to put the decorations and who would want to enjoy seeing them. If you have cold weather, then use the opportunity to create ice decorations.
6. Organize A Present Hunt
Wrap up a box in gift paper. Take turns at hiding the box in different places outside for others to find. Clues can be given such as “getting warmer” as a person gets closer to the box and “going cold” if they are moving further away or in the wrong direction. Your family may enjoy make their own gift boxes and deciding what free and found treasures should go in them.