The groundhog has spoken and it will be 6 more weeks of winter here. I’m not surprised with a storm in the forecast. We’ll be continuing our winter nature study for awhile longer as things melt and freeze again and again. After living in the freezing Saskatchewan for years, we’re enjoying learning about everything about winter on a lake.
Homeschool Winter Nature Study Tips
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As a child I hated going outside. It was boring as an only child with no one to play with. My children love being outside and have since my oldest was little. I made a point of going outside with them so that they could love it out there. 10 year later, my kids would rather be outside than in the house. And if we could get some more great sledding snow/weather, I’ll be right out there with them.
Tip #1: Go Out in the Sun
Watch the weather forecast and make plans for the sunny days. This was the biggest challenge after leaving Saskatchewan, it’s not always sunny here in New Brunswick, and I am a sunshine person.
The afternoons are often the warmer time of day to go as well, so that’s when I venture out. And when my kids go out and stay out for longer periods of time too.
Tip #2: Study Winter-Specific Topics Outside
Spend time learning about hibernation and winter adaptations of local animals, and animals in other parts of Canada. Look for and study tracks and scat. Ice, snow, and conifers also make excellent winter subjects for nature study, including building snowmen, and igloos. You can check your local library for books on animals that you have in your area to learn more about them.
Tip #3: Invest in Good Winter Clothing
I buy the majority of our outside winter clothing – boots, coats, snow-pants, at the end of winter, beginning of spring. It can be expensive to buy boots for 3 kids, and I want warm boots, no frozen toes over here please.
Mommas, don’t forget to buy warm outside winter clothing for yourself. Snow pants, boots, winter coat, hat, mittens, the whole works. It’s a lot more fun when you can feel your legs still.
My kids are super hard on things and I am always sewing them back together. This year I found this waterproof spray to coat their things after I sew them and it has been reported back to me that they are staying dry!
Tip #4: Enjoy the Cozy Rewards
Come in from learning about animal tracks to a cup of hot chocolate. Grab your read-aloud or book of poetry to enjoy at the same time. Talk about what you learned, what you observed while out there. Maybe make a plan for your next outside adventure.
If you are lucky enough to live where you are able to make and enjoy an igloo, maybe take your hot chocolate outside to enjoy in your igloo… I really wish we could do this!
Tip #5: Stay Inside and Keep Learning
Observe what is happening out there. Watch the squirrels come down from the trees to dig through the snow for seeds, or to come down all crazy as the snow is melting. Or the hawk that is enjoying a duck for lunch out on the ice and we can watch from our living room with binoculars.
We have learned more about nature from standing in our living room. Nature is beautiful and prefers us to take a step back from them. Set up or make bird feeders for the birds that are around all winter.
Arts and Crafts
Make a mobile out of pieces of nature.
Make frozen bubbles if the temperatures get really low.
Fill balloons with water and food coloring and freeze. They make beautiful outdoor decorations.
Nature-based learning during winter could be a lot of fun if you plan for it. It doesn’t have to be completely outside, but you can bring outside elements inside.