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Lessons in Sustainability: 3 Kid-Friendly Winter Activities

November 26, 2018
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By Lori Melton

Cold weather and shorter days can make winter seem like it drags on forever. It can also mean spending more time indoors. If your kids are getting fidgety, bored and fighting the winter blues, consider doing these activities that should not only perk them up, but also teach them valuable lessons in sustainability.

Go on a Winter Scavenger Hunt

Doing scavenger hunts can be fun all year round, even in wintertime. Everyone loves to seek out and find hidden treasures. Having children look for items in nature is a wonderful way to teach them about the seasonal life cycle and explain what happens to trees, plants, and the earth during the coldest season of the year.

Make sure the kids are bundled up and then set them loose looking for items on the list. Things like pine cones, sticks, leaves and rocks, make great items to search for and collect. You can also involve senses of smell, sound and touch by having them complete related action items.

For instance, have them “listen” for the sound of a bird chirping, the wind blowing or snow crunching under their boots. Have them “feel” an icicle or a tree branch. Have them “smell” pine needles or snow. Once everyone has found or completed items on their list, have the kids come inside and warm up with some hot chocolate and talk about what they found, learned and liked best about the game.

Grow an Indoor Garden

One of the best things about winter is that it eventually gives way to signs of new life and spring. In many colder climates, however, it can be months before there is even a small hint of a thaw or the sight of a new bloom. Planting and maintaining an indoor garden is a fun way to watch something grow, even in the middle of winter.

Growing an herb garden in small pots on your windowsill might be one of the easiest gardens to start in winter. You’ll want to place the pots on a spot that gets at least six hours of natural sunlight a day. Help your child pick out plants or seeds and place them in potting mix according to seed packet instructions (or follow this list of instructions).

Water them regularly (without soaking) and use a half-strength, all-purpose fertilizer that’s suitable for edible plants about every two weeks. Once plants are about six inches tall, they should be ready to use in your favorite recipes. Bonus: have the kids help you cook nutritious meals with recipes that contain ingredients grown in their very own herb garden!

Get Crafty with Repurposed or Recycled Items

Kids love doing crafts and there’s no better way to pass the time on a blustery winter day. Make sure your projects are eco-friendly by repurposing, reusing or transforming common household items like recycled cardboard boxes and wrapping paper (which can be found in abundance after the holidays), brown paper lunch bags, pine cones, old socks and more. A quick search on Pinterest for recycled craft projects will yield tons of clever ideas. A really cute, winter-themed project involves making a snowman out of socks, bits of fabric, buttons and other items you may have in your crafting box. Get detailed instructions from Darkroom and Dearly here.