Winter learning ideas

This time of year is one of my favorites.  As the snow in my front yard begins to melt, I can see the tiny, new, green blades of grass from the seed we planted last year.  Winter is not over, but the signs of spring are just beginning.  Now is a great time to decide what you still haven’t quite gotten to this winter, and fit in a few more things.  Once spring comes, the garden and outside activities may just take over your schedule.  While winter is not my favorite time of year, these ideas may help us all enjoy the last of the cozy winter days!
  • Learn to bake/cook something new

Winter is a great time to use the oven and learn to make bread, cookies, or something else you have always wanted to try, but just never did. Find a fun family recipe or something you’ve never had before, and give it a go!

  • Up-date your nature notebook

Go back to the places you have sketched in your notebook and record what things look like in cold, dormant weather. It is a great opportunity to study what the “skeleton” of different plants contain.  Or use the “skeleton” as a starting point, and then return once or twice each season to record the difference.

  • Go on a small animal hunt

After a snowmelt, look for footprints and other signs of animal life. Where do you see them? Are there clusters of prints? Why would they be in that location? Food? Shelter? Hunting? Or are they the prey? Plan to go back in warmer weather and see if you can locate the animals out and about.

  • Study ways to stay warm without turning up the thermostat

How many layers does it take to keep warm? Is it better to keep moving or huddle under the blankets? Does food make a difference? Can you find drafts or areas in which to make changes to keep the warmth inside?

  • Have a read-aloud party

Take a day or two and read a great literature book. Take turns reading. Discuss what is happening. When you have finished, write a play or paper on some of the things you loved about the book. Or try to re-write a scene from the perspective of a different character, or place it in a different setting. You can do this with picture books, or chapter books. Perhaps you could try reading a book cover-to-cover and then watching the movie. How do they compare? Which did you prefer?  What would you have done differently?

  •   Plan a game day

When the whole family needs to “decompress” or “chipper up”, have a day to play games. Pull out the educational games in your closet, look for books about games at the library, or make up your own. Have fun. Break out the snacks. Laugh together and relax!

  • Try a new winter sport

Or play a traditionally warmer weather sport in the snow. Tennis, anyone? (If you do this-TAKE PICTURES!!)

  • Plan your garden

When the cold and dark days seem depressing, get out the seed catalogs and gardening books. Plan for a great summer of fresh food. What new things do you want to try? Let each person pick a crop to plant. Or set food storage goals and research what it will take to meet them.



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