by Nicolas Walker, Brand Ambassador for kathy ireland Designs – Jardin
For those of you who live in chilly climates January can be a bleak month, especially for children, as after weeks of being more inside than outside most kids are longing for some outdoor fun. There are some cool things to do in the snow other than sledding or skiing and one of them is animal tracking, kid’s love this activity as it is a wonderful combination of adventure and exercise and it is as easy as putting on your snow clothes and stepping into the great outdoors.
The best time to go animal tracking is soon after a fresh snow fall as the tracks will be clearer and easier to identify. Think about what kinds of animals are in your area and you are sure to find tracks of some of your local residents. If you don’t have much snow mud will do just as well; paw prints are just as clear in the mud, so put on your rain boots and you will be in the critter tracking business.
Many animals are nocturnal so the morning after a snow fall is a fantastic time to see what was going on in your backyard the night before. Purchasing a notebook or scrapbook to log your findings in is a wonderful way to get kids excited; after a winter walk you can go inside and have the kids draw pictures of the different footprints and a picture of the animal associated with that footprint; discuss what the animal eats, where it sleeps in the winter and how it survives in the cold.
Purchasing a field guide is a great investment and can really help in identifying animal tracks and make it a more accessible and interesting experience for kids and grownups too. Bringing a camera along on your expedition is a great idea as you can record the various tracks and paste the photos in a scrapbook to keep ‘track’ of your findings.
Taking a walk with the critters is a great cure for the winter blues and a fun way to learn about your animal friends; so what are you waiting for the great outdoors beckons with a call from the wild?