Painting Animal Tracks in the Snow

by | Jan 11, 2016 | Wild Activities | 3 comments

Temperatures are dropping and it feels like winter has officially arrived. Here in Michigan that means more fun in the snow with the kids! We started out as usual, with my daughter wandering off on her own to do some free play without mom hovering around (I’m working on this). After awhile she called me over to see some tracks. We already had our paints outside because we were doing some snow painting  (an awesome winter activity for kids outside), so we  just decided to add a little color to the prints.

It was a spontaneous idea, but it ended up enhancing our play and investigation. The paints highlighted the tracks and made them so much easier to see and follow.  Also, the color definitely kept my three-year old more focused and added to her excitement.

Here’s a quick how to and some observations on our experience. Also hang in there until the end and there’s a giveaway!

What You Need

  • A cup of water (if the snow isn’t wet or slushy)
  • A paint brush
  • Non-toxic watercolors or acrylics
    Notes: We love art supplies from Nature of Art for Kids, they are non-toxic and made in the USA. You can use acrylics or watercolors for this project. If you’d prefer to make your own watercolors, this is a great recipe.
  • Some animal (or human) tracks in the snow

What You Do

  • Find your tracks
  • Observe and discuss (optional)
  • Paint the tracks – just be creative and have fun. There is no need to choose the same color for every track, but we did find that darker colors worked better
  • If you’re done painting the real tracks, imagine and paint some of your own

Wild Connections
Here is a wonderful resource on inquiry based learning.

Questions this activity inspired:

  • Why do the tracks end?
  • Is this a mommy animal?
  • Is there only one?
  • When were they here?
  • What were they doing?
  • Did another other animal die (if this animal hunted it)?

Topics we touched on in some way or another:

  • Animal identification
  • Weight distribution
  • Past observations of animals previously in our yard
  • Winter food sources and hunting patterns
  • Death and the food web (this comes up every time we talk about hunting)
  • Carnivores and other types of eaters
  • Nocturnal and diurnal animals
  • Blending colors and rainbows

Wild Resources 
Here are some of great books on the tracking and reading signs!

Tracks, Scats and Signs by Leslie Dendy
Big Tracks, Little Tracks by Millicent E. Selsam
Petersons Field Guide to Animal Tracks
Wild Tracks!: A Guide to Nature’s Footprints by Jim Arnosky

Alrighty, last but not least, I’m excited to giveaway a Watercolor Kit from Nature of Art for Kids! These watercolors are completely non-toxic and safe for children. This kit is also perfect for finger painting and contains:

All natural paint supplies for kids

  • 3 Primary Watercolors, Red, Yellow Blue (8 oz each)
  • Kids Smock Cover-up
  • Large Palette – 6 well
  • 3 paintbrushes

Winner will be contacted through email and posted on this site. US residents only. Contest runs from 1/11/2016 – 1/18/2016. THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED. 

Your Woman Gone Wild,

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Winter activities in the snow for kids and toddlers

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