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Unique, Free Ways to Enjoy Winter Outside

By Terri Hall
12/17/2012 1:50:50 PM

"It is not enough to take people out of doors. We must teach them to enjoy it." -Ernest Thomas Seton

I'm learning to enjoy it. Being a city-born and bred girl, winter joys consisted of seeing department store holiday windows, maybe ice skating once or twice, but mostly of staying warm, indoors and boot-free. Now that I live in the country, I want to enjoy a new romance, even in the winter, with nature. And I hope to teach my kids not to be wintertime couch potatoes, but instead to look forward to being out in the winter wonderland.

Finally, I've stopped denying the fact that winter is COLD! Enjoying the outdoors in winter is much easier when you're not shivering and freezing. Investing in a warm coat, boots, gloves and a hat made of natural, breathable materials for all will lessen whining and increase the fun factor.

Beyond the pricier winter fun options of skiing and the like, there are many ways to cultivate an appreciation of the outdoors during winter.

Observing Snowflakes

You know those huge, detailed snowflake ornaments decorating stores and holiday trees this time of year? Well, they kind of look like the real thing (except the real thing doesn't come in red, lilac or blue). Taking a walk or standing outside during a snowfall is a great way to remember the infinite creativity in nature. After being outside long enough for your clothes to cool down, observe the beautiful falling crystals as they stick to your gloves or sleeves. Each undamaged snowflake has six arms, yet like us, each one is unique, a fact that should boggle even an adult mind.

Hunting for Nests

After the first heavy snowfall, hunt for bird nests. They will be the snow-covered mounds in the trees and bushes around your home, neighborhood or park, now made visible by the falling of the leaves and the clumping of the white snow. Did you have any idea there were so many feathery families living so near during the warmer seasons?

The Classics

There's nothing like a good old-fashioned snowball fight or sled ride. Just play fair to keep it fun.

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