Wednesday

The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)

Spending time outdoors as a family can sometimes take a backseat during the holidays. Even though a lot of holiday events and activities include family, it doesn't always allow for quality, one-on-one time. Pretty soon the whole season has passed and you feel nothing but relief when it is over. Simply spending a little time outdoors as a family can be a great way to relieve stress and enjoy quality time together. I have never been into advent calendars but I thought it would be fun to combine spending time outdoors and counting down to Christmas with my kids this year.
Picking berries on our scavenger hunt last year.


I rounded up some very simple outdoor activities that can be adjusted according to the amount of time you have. Most of them don't require special equipment or snow. We live in an area with only intermittent snow; so we have plenty of cold, snow-free days that we need to fill up with activities. The free printable link is at the end of the post. You can print it out and just cross out the days as you complete them. Hope you enjoy!

1st Day: 

Enjoy a cup of hot chocolate together, OUTDOORS. We went the park today and brought hot chocolate to help keep us warm. I don't have an insulated water bottle so I just wrapped our regular water bottle in a towel and secured it with a rubber band. I also helps if the water/milk is close to boiling when you fill the bottle.

2nd Day: 

Take a walk and enjoy the Christmas lights. We walked around our downtown today but it would be just as fun walking around your neighborhood.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)

3rd Day: 

Make ornaments using natural materials. Check out my Holiday Pinterest board for a ton of awesome ideas (see bottom of post) or try my pine cone ornament inspired by the book A Wish To Be A Christmas Tree.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
We made a twiggy stat last year that we are still using for our tree topper. 

4th Day: 

Play in the snow, leaves or with ice; whichever is available. We don't have snow consistently but it is cold enough that the kids can play with ice cubes outdoors. My kids like to build castles and such. The ice takes a long time to melt and is a bunch of fun. I just have to make sure my son doesn't start throwing them.  And yes, we still have leaves on the ground at the parks. If you have snow, try snow painting. Fill a water bottle with water and food coloring; then spray the snow.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
Jumping in leaves is the best. I didn't even prompt my son. He just made the pile and jumped. I don't remember teaching him that. 

5th Day: 

Create art using natural materials. BP Photo Art has some great ideas and resources for natural art.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
My kid's art project during our last camping trip. 

6th Day: 

Make Ice Ornaments to decorate yours trees outside. Such a beautiful idea from Red Ted Art.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
Source

7th Day: 

Go for a nature walk or hike. Hiking is my favorite but How Wee Learn has some great tips for winter nature walks.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
Because hiking in superman capes is just plain awesome. 

8th Day: 

Start a new outdoor Christmas tradition. Rain or Shine Mamma started a fun tradition last year that her girls couldn't wait to do again this year. Here is a small preview. Head over, check out her post and be inspired.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)

9th Day: 

Spot a bird's nest. With all the leaves off the trees is can be easier to spot them. Check out this post for a few more ways to explore and help your kids understand trees in the winter.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)

10th Day: 

Go on a scavenger hunt. Here is a great printable if you want to stay in your neighborhood and one if you want to visit a natural area. Inside Outside Michiana even has a natural Christmas scavenger hunt. Tons of options out there.

11th Day: 

Cloud watch. Might want to bring some more hot chocolate for this one. Rhythms of Play has some fun ideas for watching our big blue sky.

12th Day: 

Just get out and explore. Here are a few ideas for exploring using your 5 senses. Even exploring a playground can be fun; it can be fairly different in the winter. Shadows are much clearer on the white snow and icicles usually abound. Just be careful, the slides are much faster covered in snow.
The 12 Days of Outdoor Play Advent Calendar (free printable)
It is amazing how fast slides are when covered in snow. Be careful. 

What are your family's outdoor Holiday traditions? Please leave links to any posts with your ideas in the comments.

Follow Mae @ Mommy Loves Trees's board Holidays - Christmas: Au Naturel on Pinterest.



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