EYFS Winter outdoor activities
Winter is often a tricky time of year to try and plan outdoor activities as the usual planting, growing, water play, bug hunts and even mud play can be harder for the children to participate in as temperatures drop, the ground hardens and any signs of bugs seem to disappear along with the flowers.
However winter is a fantastic time of year and one that seems to last forever so it is crucial that planning is still effective and children are still getting the most out of the outdoors. In previous articles Early Years Careers have discussed the benefits of accessing the outdoors in all weathers which can be found here, and also how to ensure you can access the outdoors in the winter. Now this article will address activities and give some direct ideas to support planning and give practitioners some inspiration to get outside this winter.
Top 10 early years winter activities
Here is a list of some favourite outdoors activities that are specifically perfect for the winter months.
1. Bird feeders – These can be made in a variety of ways and some specific recipes can be found on our Pinterest board which will be added at the end of this article. These help birds stay well fed during the winter months when bugs are harder for them to find and eat. These can be made outside and left outside to set before being hung in the trees. These can be made as often as needed.
2. Bird café – Use all the bird food you have made and sell them in your very own role play bird café. This always sparks some amazing imaginative play and really allows the children to think creatively, learn number skills and make the most of the mud kitchen even if the mud is too hard to play in.
3. Snow painting – If you are lucky enough to get some snow you can go outside and do some snow painting. The simplest way to make snow paint is water and food colouring. This can be placed in spray bottles, water guns, pipettes or paint brushes. It makes some beautiful watercolour tie dye art.
4. Winter scavenger hunt – These are often done in autumn and spring but there is no reason why these can’t be done in the winter months too. Include things such as melting ice, a bird, Christmas lights, an insect, a green tree, a tree with one leaf left etc…
5. No snow, snowball fight – Just because it has not snowed doesn’t mean you can’t pretend it has. Encourage the children to warm up by moving around like they have had a deep snow fall. Create lots of pretend snowballs using old newspapers and then allow children to have fun throwing the paper snowballs around. This is great for motor skills.
6. Outdoor tree decorating – This can be done using baubles, bells and tinsel that would be used on an indoor Christmas tree or you can make Christmas tree decorations out of bird feed recipes and cookie cutters such as stars, trees and circles. The outdoors can be Christmassy too!
7. Ice sun catchers – This is a great science activity and can be done by children of all ages. Fill some lids or shallow containers with water and something from the outdoors such as twigs, fallen leaves and berries. These can then left overnight if it’s cold enough or practitioners may need to place them in the freezer. Once frozen these can be taken out of the containers and stood up to catch the sun. You could also ask the children how long they think it will take to melt or what will happen if it gets warm etc.
8. Don’t ring the bells – As it is Christmas setting up a fun outdoors Christmas obstacle course is always fun and tests children’s motor skills. Fill the obstacle course full of bells for a Christmas twist and to encourage listening skills. Bells could be hung from hoops that children have to crawl through or on tables that children have to crawl under.
9. Decorate stones – collect lots of stones and decorate them white. Turn some of these white stones into snowman faces with a black marker. The children can then use these stones whilst they are outdoors to build their very own snowmen. Great construction activity.
10. Den building – Den building can be done in all weathers and can involves outdoor materials such as crates, branches, leaves etc or indoor materials such as chairs and sheets. Encourage the children to think about how they might use these to keep warm. You could always turn these dens into igloos by covering with white sheets or a sprinkling of flour and glitter.
For more great outdoor winter activities take a look at our outdoor winter Pinterest board.