Get your preschooler outdoors in the winter by going animal tracking. Wild animals are around even though you may not see them. Many wild animals, such as the Red Fox, deer, and mice, come out at night or when there is no one around. Although you may never see these animals, you can tell where they have been by what they leave behind.
Animal tracks (footprints), tree scarring, and scat (animal droppings) are signs that wild animals have been around. Take your preschooler on an adventure to search for the wild animals that might live in your neighborhood.
First, you must have an idea what you are looking for. If you are unfamiliar with wild animal tracks or what wild animals might be in your area, check out eNature.com and insert your zip code in their Local Nature Zip Guide. This guide will give you lists of mammals that are native to your area. The guide provides pictures of tracks to look for. Print pictures of a few of the tracks on your eNature.com list.
Second, dress your preschooler for the weather and get an early start. Walk around your neighborhood looking on muddy, sandy, or snowy areas where tracks will be easier to see. Also look for scat. Even if you can’t identify the scat, it is a clue that you might find tracks nearby.
Finally, take pictures of the tracks you see so that you can keep a record of what you saw and identify the tracks at home. Keep a record of any tracks you see so that next time you go for a tracking walk with your preschooler you can review what you have seen before.
This activity relies on your ability and access to a computer. If you do not have access, your local public library will likely have a good wild animal book.