Did you know that nature study is not confined to just the warm-weather months? The winter season is a wonderful time to explore the world outdoors, and A Kid’s Winter EcoJournal: With Nature Activities for Exploring the Season is a wonderful resource to guide your winter nature studies:
- it inspires kids to write about nature
- it invites kids to read about nature
- it teaches kids to experience nature
The format of A Kid’s Winter EcoJournal is like a nature journal, spanning from December 1 to February 28, with ideas for activities interspersed between illustrated writing pages and short entries from the author’s personal nature journal. The author even grants permission for teachers to reproduce pages for personal classroom use, so each of my kids was able to have his own set of writing pages for his notebook, and we could print out project pages and attach them to a clipboard to take outside.
The book includes a complete table of contents, a detailed introduction to writing about nature, and tips for exploring nature safely, along with plenty of activities and experiments for Charlotte Mason style homeschoolers to cover science and nature study for the winter months. The author’s personal reflections from the pages of her winter journal from Trickle Creek are beautifully descriptive and give kids an example of how to write their own journal entries:
Immediately, birds seemed to fall out of the snowy sky, perching all around the bird feeder and darting under the garage roof to pick up seeds. Sixteen male cardinals decorated a small dogwood tree like round, red Christmas ornaments. Handsome blue jays added another bright color to this bleak, blizzardy day. All of the birds were fluffed up to almost twice their normal size to help keep themselves warm. Half a dozen squirrels came to the feeder, too. They all lined up with their backs to the icy wind. The deer made their way to the corn feeder, their faces and shoulders white with snow. I’m so glad to help feed the animals when they’re hungry and cold.
Several of the nature activities center around birds, such as building an observation bird feeder, making A Kid’s Winter EcoJournal a nice supplement to our science curriculum, which is focused on flying creatures. Many of the activities provide a stepping-off point for further study. We decided to read some additional books about hibernation and snow crystals, and we pulled out our field guides to birds and animal tracks after being inspired by this book. We learned about density and how to identify pinecones from different types of trees, how to make homemade gifts from nature, and how to make a nature-collecting caddy with coffee cans.
I wish there were a list of needed materials at either the front of the book or in an appendix, to make it easier to plan ahead. However, with a couple of exceptions (such as PVC pipe and litmus paper), we already had most of the materials around the house. Some of the activities center around snow (not so good if you live in the Deep South), but we read through them and plan to do them if we ever have a snowy day. A Kid’s Winter EcoJournal is inexpensive and packed with unique nature activities with substance. It is a wonderful way to study nature through the seasons, and the author has written three other books in the series to span the entire year.