WOWs of Winter
The hours of daylight are may be shorter, and the temperatures may be lower, but are still lots of reasons to get outdoors into nature to experience the wonders of winter – the WOWs of winter!
Wow Your Health!
Spending time in nature when it is cold can be healthy! Studies suggest is can improve immunity, decrease stress, and flush bad bacteria out of lungs and air passages.
According to Kathryn A. Roecklein, Ph.D., associate professor, Department of Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, spending time outside in the glow of natural sunlight can help raise serotonin levels which in turn can lift your mood! [Reference http://www.roecklein.pitt.edu/]
In addition to mood lifting, getting out in the winter sun provides an opportunity to absorb Vitamin D which can reduce inflammation, improve immune system function and strengthening bone health. As little as a ten-minute walk on a crisp sunny day help you get your daily dose of this beneficial vitamin.
Wow Your Mind!
Try to leave your phone at home and use your outside walk as an opportunity to engage in mindfulness.
Briskly walking or exercising outdoors while staying mindful of your surroundings can help prevent those mid-winter blues.
How to Dress While Venturing Out in the Winter Cold
It can be said that there is no weather bad enough to keep from spending time in the great outdoors, you just need to dress for the weather. Pay attention to the weather details where you are going including temperature, wind chill, and potential precipitation as well as how long you plan to be outdoors.
Use the following chart to guide you to make sure your family time outdoors in the winters cold is safe and enjoyable.
Dress your child for cold weather. [Via: Heathy Essentials]
Dress for cold weather. [Via: Very Well Fit]
Wonderful Winter Activities
1000 Hours Outside
The 1000 Hours Outside movement. It has be estimated that children and adults can consume an average 1200 hours of screen time annually. The purpose of the 1000 Hours Outside movement is to make the attempt to match or surpass screen time hours with outdoor hours. To learn more about the health, developmental, and mental benefits for spending time outside and how it allows the body to get into a more relaxed state, visit 1000 Hours Outside to learn more about how committing to this movement can be beneficial for the health and well-being of your family. The website even includes a printable tracker to keep track of the amount of hours you spend outside.
The Great Backyard Bird Count
Birdwatching is a great activity for the winter! You can learn more about getting started with birdwatching on a earlier Power of Nature For The Birds!
You can combine birdwatching with citizen science with The Great Backyard Bird Count. The Great Backyard Bird Count happens February 12th-15th. This annual event is sponsored by The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, National Audubon Society, and Birds Canada. During the count, participants spend time enjoying, observing, and counting birds and then they share their observations on the EBird website or app. Learn more about The Great Backyard Bird Count .
WOW of Winter Scavenger Hunt
Put on your winter gear and head outdoors to go on a winter scavenger hunt. Awaken your senses and see your surroundings from a WOW of Winter viewpoint. You can observe things that you might not see when the areas are filled with lush green foliage. Do not forget to look up and down. You might see nests in the trees or animal tracks on the ground as you walk.
Start with this sample hunt created by Hike It Baby. You can also make your own!
- Winter Scavenger Hunt [Via: Hike it Baby]
Take a Virtual Wander through the WOW of Winter!
If you can’t get outdoors you can still enjoy the beautiful sights of winter with an online gallery! Click the link below to see wonderful winter images from around the world.
- Wow Winter Wander Tour via Birds and Blooms