Looking for ideas for last minute gifts this holiday season or a fun project for the shorter days of winter? No need to look any farther than outside your window! Nature is brimming with gifts for all ages and interests; affordable and local! Below are 5 simple ways to welcome nature into your house (or yard) during the holidays and into the new year.
- Build a quinzee (snow shelter) with your family and take turns reading a favorite winter tale via candle light or lantern. For instructions on how to build a quinzee, visit Learning By Nature Nature’s Blog or Facebook page.
- Make a wreath out of wild goodies found in the woods, yard or park. Include twigs, tall grass (with seed heads), dried berries and rose hips, dried flower heads, cattail spike, pine cones and pine boughs. You can even coat a few pine cones in peanut butter and roll in bird seed. Hang the wreath up in a tree or near cover to encourage birds to come feed on it through the winter.
- Make a fun gift certificate for a child, giving them permission to get wet and dirty while playing outside.
- Make a snow sculpture (or snow man) and decorate with natural edibles that would attract birds and mammals. Include birdseed, carrots, grass seed heads, flower heads, pine cones, twigs, dried berries and other goodies you can find outdoors.
- Create a ‘bucket of fun’ with instructions. The bucket can include a variety of (recycled) containers, instruments and ‘tools’ to scoop, measure, pour, fill, mix and dig, take temperatures and magnify. The instructions could read: only use outside, always have fun, never bring back clean!
Start a “Nature’s Gifts” calendar to track ‘nature’ observations members of your family make every day of the month. Notes could include weather (snow, rain, sun, temperature, wind, clouds), colors and stages of plant growth and identification (grass, trees, shrubs, flowers), wildlife, fish and insect observations, nature sounds. Soon everyone will be looking for something to add to the calendar! Look back at the end of each month and each year and share stories about all the ‘Gifts’ nature has provided.
Any fun ideas you have OR have done, we would love to hear about them! Enjoy the gifts of nature everyday. Happy new year!