Winter is almost over but we will still have those cold days and long dark evenings for at least another month or two… You need to be very creative to keep little children happy over this cold season. We have been quite busy over the last couple of months taking advantage of all kinds of weather – cold, rain and snow. Our motto has been – wrap up warm and go out to have some fun!
In this blog I describe what we did last winter with a hope that this inspires others with young families to go outside and explore the outdoors. And the good news is that you can do all this without spending money – all you need is some motivation to go out and have fun with the children!
Snow and cold
You probably noticed that we managed to have some proper snow for something like…two days this winter in Tayport. Our children loved it from the very first moment they saw it through the window in the morning. Predictably, we had to build a snowman… or even two. We also tried snow angels which my older daughter loved doing.
Tayport snow did not last long enough for us so we decided to head towards Glenshee to try out some proper snow sledging. It was amazing! Even the grown-ups had some fun sledging down the snowy slopes…Actually, I think we had more fun than the kids.
On sunny frosty days we strolled to neighbouring Morton Lochs to explore nature. We did not manage to spot the squirrels this time but there were lots of different species of birds to observe from the hide. It was freezing cold but we loved it anyway!
Rainy winter days in Tayport can be very miserable. But we found a remedy that cheers us up – we go out wearing our wellies (and suitable clothing) and jump up and down in puddles. My older daughter, like most kids, loves puddle splashing!
Playing pooh sticks over Tayport’s burns has been another winner with the kids. Funny how this simple game gets everyone excited – all you do is drop a stick from a bridge over a stream and watch for it to float through to the other side…
Our garden has been dormant over winter but we have been busy setting up a few winter growing projects indoors. We planted some clementine pips in pots a while back and our mini-clementine plants have been growing very slowly but surely. Our daughter is making sure they are watered regularly and we are all waiting for them to grow bigger and bigger until we can spot some clementine fruit on it. Keep your fingers crossed! It’s a rather long process I guess…
We are also growing our own indoor spring onions which is a very simple activity that requires no more effort than waiting patiently for around seven days. It’s been fun for the kids to watch the leaves grow – and as a bonus I end up with some fresh bits to put in our salad too.
Here is our ‘recipe’ you can try at home.
Growing your own spring onions in water
Take leftover spring onion bases with their roots and drop them in a glass with enough water to cover their lower halves, making sure that the roots are pointing down. Change the water once every couple of days so they don’t get slimy. Within about a week you’ll have a brand new set of spring onions. You can do the same with a brown onion – simply place it on top of a jar full of water so that the white roots are covered in water (see pictures below). Make sure they are constantly covered in water and in a week you have fresh spring onions ready to use in your cooking.
You can try this simple vegetable regrowing technique with lettuce, garlic, parsnip or even leeks. Older children will love learning about plants and how they grow by experimenting like this.
I hope you enjoyed my ideas for spending quality time with children over winter on a shoestring. I would love to hear what gets your little ones entertained and enjoying outdoors despite the cold and the wet – please share your ideas in the comments below.