Although spring is right around the corner, there’s still time to do a nature study in the winter. Most homeschooling moms hibernate from doing nature studies (and rightfully so) because the weather grows colder. This weather can also be accompanied by a fair share of snow, sleet, and ice – all perfect candidates for a good nature study.
Before the opportunity passes, I want to encourage you to try a winter-themed nature study, including nature walks, so your children can explore a new wintery world around them. This world has many lessons and will become fascinating to your children. Here are some ideas for continuing your nature study in the winter.
5 Winter-themed Nature Study Ideas
Find a large window in your home to become your observation window, especially on those days when it is too cold to venture out. Provide a place to sit, paper, pencils, colored pencils, and perhaps hang a birder feeder outside. You can use this window daily to help your children gain a keen eye for subtle daily changes.
Have a chat (or do a unit study) about what trees look like and begin to do in the fall season. If you can, right before winter begins, have your child pick a nearby tree to make observations as the tree changes throughout the winter. If winter has already began (like it has since writing this), pick a tree to monitor its changes as the spring seasons ushers in. This can easily become a seasonal activity!
Children can have a wonderful time catching snowflakes and seeing the beauty and uniqueness of each. Look closely for animal tracks and identify them. Walk quietly and listen, perhaps you will hear singing from winter birds. Look over past nature journals and take note of the changes from warmer months to the colder months.
Winter Sky Watch
Track the sunrise and sunset each day. Since the days get darker earlier, children have a chance to observe winter constellations. Here’s a cool video about constellations, how to spot them, and what people think they look like. Your kids will also be able to tell when the days get longer as spring approaches.
Snow always brings a smile to children’s faces, and there are many ways to enjoy snow with your kids. They love to go out to build a snowman and get into a snowball fight. Children can keep track of how much snow has fallen. Look up the different types of snow such as wet snow or powder, and have children determine the type of snow and which type is best for building a snow fort. Have children pay close attention to snowflakes. Carefully catch them so you can see their beauty and uniqueness. Draw what you see in your nature journal.
Other Nature Study Ideas
When doing nature studies, the possibilities are almost endless. Besides what I suggested above, you can also do the following:
- Create a YouTube playlist of go-to videos about winter, winter weather, and other winter-related topics.
- Consider doing winter-themed projects and experiments.
- Include winter art, sensory bins, and other hands-on activities.
- Plan winter-related field trips and use vacations taken during this time as learning moments too.
Overall, the winter season doesn’t have to be boring. Keep the momentum in your home and homeschool by intentionally using the season to your benefit. The suggestions above will help you do just that!
CHIME IN: What are some ways you and your family enjoy the winter season and/or use it as a way to learn? Let me know in the comments below!
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