5 Fun Ways to Enjoy Nature on Family Day
This blog was written by guest blogger Rebecca Kennedy.
Today is Family Day in Ontario, Alberta and Saskatchewan, and what better way to enjoy the long winter than partaking in some nature appreciation activities, whether you and your loved ones want to go outside or stay indoors!
Look for wildlife wherever you are. Whether you’re in the city or country, animals are still around you during the wintertime. Go for a walk and record the types of animals and insects you see or hear — list them in a notebook or even sketch them. Observe birds and squirrels in your backyard or ducks at a nearby body of water. Set up a feeder on your porch or balcony to get a closer look at the birds in your NatureHood! While outside observing wildlife, check out our e-Book series for identification tips of various types of birds.
Stargaze. Bundle up and grab a set of binoculars. One benefit of winter is that the early darkness gives younger children a chance to enjoy this activity. There are weather forecasts specifically for stargazing – for example, Toronto, Ottawa, Vancouver, and Moncton. If you live in a city or highly lit area, try heading out to a designated dark sky area or preserve. A map from the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada can you help locate a site. There are also several astronomy apps to help you read the sky — Star Chart and Night Sky Lite are both free ones.
Read together as a family. Cozy up with a thick blanket and mugs of hot cocoa, and read aloud your favourite books. There are many picture books on weather, animals, outdoor environments and other subjects in nature education and appreciation. Vancouver Public Library offers some recommendations to start you off such as Raindrops and Snowflakes and Natural Worlds.
Go ice skating. Stay active together this winter! Tie up your skates and bring a thermos of hot chocolate to a nearby park, pond, lake or river. Near Vancouver, skaters can enjoy an 8,000-square-foot pond at Grouse Mountain. In Ottawa, the Rideau Canal Skateway offers up a free and exhilarating way to experience the brisk winter air and get moving during a sometimes dreary time of year.
Make a nature-inspired craft. Get creative with found objects from the natural world (or sometimes, Michael’s or Value Village). Our blog offers several ideas, such as a pine cone wreath, a gourd bird feeder and walnut boats. Bring the outdoors inside as well by making a terrarium or a miniature fairy garden. Short on supplies and don’t feel like leaving the house? Use plain white printing paper and scissors to cut out snowflakes to display in your windows or paste on a card.
What is your family doing on Family Day? Let us know in the comments below!