January can be a great time to set some intentions for the rest of the year, and to encourage the little ones to get out and about, regardless of the weather. What’s more, many outdoor activities are free, and surely beats spending days on end trapped inside, glued to the sofa. So, without further ado, here are some of our best ideas on outdoor family pursuits, which are bound to create long lasting memories, and wear out the little ones, too!
Explore local woodlands
Arm yourselves with some wellies, a proper map and a picnic, and have a good old traipse through local forests. Don’t let the cold weather put you off, a winter walk is great for clearing away the cobwebs, and there’s no better time of year than January to discover a new hobby. Spending just a little time outdoors every day can work wonders for mental health boosts, and is a natural source of Vitamin D. Plus, most woodland areas are free to roam around in, so win, win!
Visit a National Trust property
With over 300 National Trust properties and buildings waiting to be discovered, there’s bound to be a little piece of history that you’ve not yet seen. Most properties have gorgeous gardens to be explored, which are well worth a visit throughout the seasons, as different plants will be in bloom. Top tip – remember to take a camera, or even just a fully charged phone, as natural daylight is the best type for capturing candid family memories. Click the link to discover properties local to you:
Play in a park
For something a little closer to home, not just for the warmer seasons, parks can be just as fun in the winter, and are great especially for encouraging toddlers to discover different terrains underfoot. Just take care to ensure that surfaces are not too slippery, and use shoes with a good grip to the soles. Top tip – take an old towel and waterproof bag to wipe away any dew or rain from the play equipment, to prevent wet patches!
Spot the stars
Good thermals, a warm hat and gloves, a couple of blankets and a starter telescope should be all you need for gazing up at the stars. It may be a little chilly, but during the winter months, the skies are more likely to be clear, so you may be able to spot a few constellations above.
Take a trip to the seaside
Breathing in the salty sea air, flying a kite, and rock-pooling are all wonderfully fun winter coastal activities. Visiting a beach may not be front of mind for January, but use this to your advantage and you’ll find the coast far more peaceful away from the summer hoards. - Perhaps just leave the paddling for a warmer day! Take a look at this handy website to discover beaches near you:
Sticks and stones make for creating the most amazing wild art, and during winter, there are so many different types all over the ground just waiting to be discovered. Why not try collecting different sizes of sticks, and make natural star shapes, or even stacks of stones to help with hand-eye coordination. Leaving nature in nature for others to discover after is all part of the fun! Why not set up a local forum on social media, whereby you inform other families of where you’ve been, and set up photo opportunities in the great outdoors. – There are many rock painting groups online that combine craft and the great outdoors.
Watch the birds
As the trees lose their leaves in winter, this time of year is one of the best to spot birds. Many birds migrate to the UK during the winter time, and sometimes you can even spot coastal birds quite far inland such as around lakes, in search of food. A pair of binoculars, and a bird book can be handy tools to have with you, and if you have a little one who enjoys drawing, why not bring a small sketch book or notebook to create some original art to hang on their wall at home, after? If you live in a more rural area, why not spend an hour or two in the garden, seeing how many different types of birds you can spot? Encourage wildlife into your own outdoors by installing bird feeders.
Here’s hoping that 2020 is a great one for getting out and about and connecting with nature! – Let us know if you have any other ideas for outside family fun at winter time.
Happy exploring! x