Now that we are racing rapidly towards Christmas, the cold weather has descended on us and winter is well and truly here. As lovely as it is to get cosy at home and enjoy everything that the festive period has to offer, it's also a wonderful time to get layered up and spend some quality time with family and friends in the great outdoors.
From crisp winter walks ending with mugs of hot chocolate to evening trips around the Christmas lights in your neighbourhood, there's so much to enjoy outdoors at this time of year!
One of our favourite things to do during winter though is feeding the birds and squirrels. It's such a simple activity but hugely rewarding (especially for children!) and of course, it is so important for small creatures at this time of year as food shortages are more likely to occur during the colder months.
My daughter loves to fill up the bird table, top up bowls of water and hang fat balls from the magnolia tree at the back of our garden where we seem to attract most birds. It's so satisfying to see all kinds of birds and creatures come and enjoy our garden and devour everything that we put out almost every day.
Miss E might only be two years old but she has a great understanding of wildlife and is ridiculously obsessed with feeding pigeons and squirrels!
You can pick up bird food, fat balls and seeds very cheaply at your local supermarket or pet shop and there are also lots of ways you can create your own feeders too. It makes for a nice rainy day activity with your children and they'll delight in seeing their creations being appreciated by grateful creatures!
Here are a few ideas to get you going....
· Spread peanut butter all over a pinecone with a knife and then roll it in a bowl of bird seed so that it sticks to the peanut butter. Tie a piece of string or twine around the top to form a hanger and hang from a tree or outside your window.
· Thread monkey nuts, raisins, pieces or fruit and other scraps onto a piece of yarn to create an edible garland.
· Make a speedy bird cake using bird seed, lard/suet, fruit, small pieces of cheese, etc. Mix everything together in a bowl and set into clean empty yogurt pots and hang with string or twine.
· Bag up small handfuls of monkey nuts and tasty snacks ready to pack into pockets or bags ready for walks in the park. You never know when a cheeky squirrel or bird might fancy a snack!