Family Fun and Activities
Winter Scavenger Hunt
- Complete this fun and educational scavenger hunt at the Portage Site, in your backyard, or at a neighborhood park! Nature may become a little quiet during the wintertime, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t plenty to find and learn about when you are outside.
Hunt for Animal Tracks
- Finding animal tracks in nature can be exciting! What type of animal made these tracks? How long ago were they here? What were they doing when they made these tracks? Running? Eating? Playing? Many of these questions can be answered by analyzing the tracks carefully.
Make a mold
- The Chicago Portage National Heritage Site is a great place to spot birds year-round. In the winter, there are many common birds that you may see, hear, or both. Use these guides to become a better beginner birder. Once spring hits, you may be on your way to being an expert.
- Use Field Museum guides
- Birding for beginners: https://www.audubon.org/news/how-begin-birding
- Watch an eagle cam from home: https://naeaglecam.org/
- Bird song hero: Learn bird songs through a game: https://thekidshouldseethis.com/post/the-cornell-lab-of-ornithologys-bird-song-hero
Make icy art and a sundial
- Making art is not always an indoor activity, and that can include wintertime. Use what winter gives you to make some art and learn how to tell time via the sun and shadows.
Get to know a beaver and a bur oak with coloring and connect-the-dots
- The North American Beaver and the Bur Oak are our featured species this month. Now that you know all about them, make some art to hang on the fridge until next month.
- Beaver Connect-the-Dots https://www.exploringnature.org/db/view/2905
- Oak Leaf Connect-the-Dots https://www.tes.com/teaching-resource/oak-leaf-dot-to-dots-6123163
- Oak Leaf Coloring Page: http://www.supercoloring.com/coloring-pages/oak-leaf
- Beaver Coloring Page: https://coloringonly.com/pages/american-beaver/
Ojibwe tales to be told when there is snow on the ground
- "Why The Fawn Has Spots" as told by Carol Annette Kramer
- "Nanaboozhoo and the First Newebiboon Migwewin (Winter Giveaway)" as told by Martin Reinhardt, an Ojibwe from Sault Ste. Marie
- "Why the Porcupine Has Quills" as told by Mike Swan
- "Wenebojo and the Cranberries" as told by Mike Swan
- "Wenebojo Made a House for the Tortoise" as told by Mike Swan
Deep Listening: Solo time and sound mapping activities. (details to come)
Make a rainstick (details to come)
Pick up Litter
- Picking up litter near the river and in our green spaces is an activity that can be done all year round. Bring a bag with you to collect litter during your walk in nature. Make a note of what you are picking up and discuss the types of litter with your family and where you think it may have come from.
- Sledding is fun and scientific! Whether it is in your backyard or in a park in your neighborhood, sledding can provide exercise and introduce basic scientific concepts.
- The science behind sledding: https://www.canr.msu.edu/news/teaching_science_through_sledding