It can be a challenge to get out and notice nature during the colder months. Frigid temperatures may zap motivation to get outside. A decrease in plant life and animal activity may make it seem like there’s not much exciting going on. Even so, getting fresh air and a dose of “Vitamin N” is important for our health. Once you accomplish the hardest part of getting out the door, engage your senses and practice your skills of observation for “Learning to value even the most commonplace activities – and finding the teachable moments in each of them – has the potential to make the ordinary quite extraordinary” (Daniel Siegal, MD: 10 Mindful Minutes)
I hope the following prompts provides some inspiration…
In late summer deciduous trees produce buds that will open the following spring. Winter is the perfect time to take a closer look at some. You might be amazed at the variety. With a little practice you will be able to identify a leafless tree in winter by just its buds.
See more of our winter tree study and a list of resources here.
Winter can be a fun time to notice animal tracks. When there’s snow on the ground, you may notice tracks that you wouldn’t otherwise. We would never know about the opossums visiting our yard if we hadn’t seen it’s curious tracks in the snow.
If you would like to identify who made the tracks, this article has some good tips.
Resources to Inspire
- In the Snow: Who’s Been Here by Lindsay Barrett George
Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints by Millicent Selsam
As a fun family activity, try making your own bird feeders. Peanut butter pine cone feeders and bird seed cookies are good choices for young ones to make for feathered friends. Another wonderful option is decorating a tree outside with feeders and edible garland. Check out Rebecca’s post about her family’s After-Christmas tree tradition for ideas.
If you do choose to feed local birds, make a commitment to feed them all winter. Birds need the extra calories and nutrients during this time of year when finding food can be difficult and they may come to rely on the food source you offer.
Did you know that there are animals living in the snow during the winter? There are hidden habitats in what’s called the subnivean zone. You may have walked right over some without realizing it.
Why not take a cue from these snow-dwelling animals and build your own winter fort. Perhaps an igloo or a quinzee. If there’s no snow, maybe a lean-to covered with branches and dead leaves. My kids like to create habitats in the snow for some of their toy animals too. It’s a great winter activity that utilizes creativity and problem-solving skills.
Resources to Inspire
Download and print your copy of the January prompts here. Pin it up where you can easily see it for when you and your children need a little extra nudge to get outside and notice nature.
Have a wonder-filled week!