Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

A few years ago, I started trying out slow parenting, where you sloooooow down and soak up the moments (bubble baths, eating crackers, an ant on the sidewalk) with your kids. But, I have to say: it feels easier in the summer! My boys are the GROUCHIEST when it’s cold out, even though I’m always trying to get them out of the house. So, when photographer Katherine Wolkoff shared her brilliant idea, I was thrilled…

Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

Katherine Wolkoff (of deer bed fame) lives in Brooklyn but spends a lot of time at her mom’s house in Block Island, Rhode Island. Her mother is a science teacher, and they’ll often take walks together, boys in tow. To make things fun and playful, they give them a scavenger hunt.

Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

“Today’s game was that the boys had to find: something green, something red, something left behind by an animal, something alive, and something dead,” Katherine explained. They ended up finding green grass frozen in the ice, red berries, tracks left behind by deer, an owl pellet with mice bones, alive lichen, and a deer jaw. “They always laugh over finding scat, of course!” she adds.

Winter scavenger hunt with kids by Katherine Wolkoff

At home afterward, the boys observed their specimens through magnifying lenses and drew everything while sipping hot chocolate. “In the summer, the scavenger hunts morph into tide pooling, which the kids also love because it involves nets and muddy feet and humming to periwinkles,” says Katherine. “This has become a wonderful way to learn about plants and animals, and also to have a larger conversation about the environment and taking care of the earth.”

Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata by Katherine Wolkoff

Katherine’s beautiful new work — also inspired by nature — is now on view at Benrubi Gallery, until March 2nd.

Would you do this? What a fun way to spend a winter afternoon, right? I’d love to do one in Brooklyn, but we might have to use different clues: leaves, rocks, the library, a Toyota!

P.S. The best parenting advice I ever got, and our winter guide to NYC.

(All photos by Katherine Wolfkoff, including her final photo Lichen, Flavoparmelia caperata. from her current gallery exhibit Critical Zone.)