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Ways to warm up to the winter outdoors

The great outdoors doesn't hold great appeal on these cold winter days, but Zoë McDonald share some tips to guarantee outdoor fun for the kids – and for you too

A few things to try...

A winter treasure hunt

Sounds more enticing to small ears than a walk. Set them a challenge to find a list of items: maybe a fir cone, a leaf skeleton, helicopter seeds, a conker and an interesting pebble. Bring a pen to tick off the items and a bag for each child to collect their treasure in.

...And when you get home

Get busy creating a winter collage with the fruits of their foraging. 'I did this with my three-year-old, Raffi, and he was so proud of the "winter monster" picture we made. It was satisfying for him to create something out of natural materials that he'd found himself,' says mum Amanda.

Gen up yourself

Find out about the trees that grow locally and see how many you can identify. Encourage children to note the different shapes of leaves, the feel and colours of the bark, see how many nooks and crannies, or 'fairy holes' they can spy.

Build a den

Director of the Project Wild Thing film, David Bond, says: 'You don't need to spend hours building an adult-sized den (although if you want to, that's a great way to spend the morning). Challenge children to create a tower of twigs, or make a mini-den for fairies or mini-beasts.'

Find an outdoor playgroup

These are springing up everywhere at the moment. Even if you only go a few times it will inspire your own outdoor adventures, and engaging with other children will help build your little one's confidence and enthusiasm. You might even find it becomes an exciting weekly fixture.

Collect sticks, fir cones and stones

Then wind coloured wool or silk thread around them to create organic Christmas decorations.

If you don't have it already

Download the free Wild Time app. It lets you can search for wild adventure ideas according to how much time you have. Great for inspiring outdoor play.

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