Winter Break Activities for Kids and Families

Photo credit: US Fish & Wildlife

Central Oregon is a winter wonderland, full of things to do to keep you and your family outdoors no matter the elements! While hanging by the fire pit is an obvious great choice, our Youth Education team put together a few more ideas to enjoy this season.

We hope you find some time to embrace the chilly weather and maybe even learn some new things about the high desert ecosystem we share with organisms large and small!

Snowshoe with a Forest Service Ranger

It’s free at Mt. Bachelor!

Go tracking in the snow

Learn some tips and common Central Oregon animal tracks before heading out, or take a guidebook with you – from the library, or print one online.

Birdwatch for science

Join the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count if you’re into citizen science; or you can set up a bird feeder in your own yard and enjoy the visitors! Bird ID guides can also be found at the library or online.

Forage for conifer needles and cones

Be sure to know how to correctly identify conifer needles, as yew needles are toxic and can be found scattered among other coniferous trees. Other needles like pine, spruce, and fir needles are rich in vitamins and can be used to make tea, or packed in a jar with sugar and water to make syrup! This article has helpful tips and recipes linked.

Practice data collection like a climate scientist

Set up a metal ruler perpendicular to the ground and record the snowfall where you live. Clear the area around the measuring stick between snows to record the amount of each individual snow. Make a hypothesis of how it will compare to next year and repeat each year!

Go on a winter scavenger hunt

Create your own or download this free one from another Oregon-based nonprofit, Ecology in Classrooms and Outdoors!