I can reflect on this special warm memory like it was yesterday. My mother, the late Marie V. Jones who lived in Opelika all her married life, had moved down to Spanish Fort, Alabama, to be close to me, my husband and grandchild in her elderly years. I cherish those special years with her. As I went into her apartment at the retirement village, she was squinting and looking out the window in the forest that adjoined the retirement village. She was looking very intensely to see the forest. I asked her, “Mama, what are you looking at?” I didn’t see any animals or anything unusual. She told this daughter, “Beth I just don’t see Fall or Winter in South Alabama like I was used to seeing in Central Alabama with the changing of leaves in the Fall and frost on the ground in the Winter.” After living in South Alabama for so long I had not really thought about seeing the change of seasons as much. My mama was so right, we are so blessed in our area of Lee County where we do have beautiful Fall and beautiful frosty Winter mornings. Too, we just might see a snow drift or two in our area. In our area, the seasons are more pronounced and beautiful in their displays. This is where we can open God’s world in teaching children.
I would like to review some suggestions for winter field trips for children. As I was reading some wonderful winter books this week at the Trinity Methodist Pre-school, I was reminded that it is important to put on sweaters, coats, caps, and mittens before taking a winter field trip. So, let’s go.
Be sure to record what you observe.

  1. Listen — hear the birds chirping, squirrels scurrying, leaves rustling under the feet, wind blowing through the trees, ice breaking, rain falling, sleet falling and snow falling.
  2. See — Observe the color of the sky, shapes of the clouds, colors of nature, the angles of the sun shining, frost on the ground, trees that do not have leaves and trees that have retained leaves and seeds and buds that have not opened up. Children love to see their breath as vapor in very cold weather. Also, seeing frost on windows on cold days provide opportunities to draw pictures on the frosty windows. Throwing bread or seeds to the birds as well as setting up a bird feeder close to a window for your child to watch, provide wonderful winter observations of birds and other animals. Bird feeders can be inexpensively bought or made out of a pine cone, scooping peanut butter into the sides of the cone, then sprinkling birdseed onto the peanut butter. Hang the pine cone with a piece of yarn or string on a hook or limb of a bush or tree. In making this kind of bird feeder you have to be safe with the pine cone with your child and the stickers on the pine cones.
  3. Feel — Touch the ice, frost, snow, moss on trees or rocks and cold smooth stones; feeling the cold of tree bark, the warmth of sun shining on your face, and the wind blowing on your face.
  4. Smell — Sniff and smell fire burning in fireplaces, pine trees, cedar trees or wood, mulch and more.
    Tuesday, Jan. 9, was National Static Electricity Day. Walking across a rug or carpet and touching the cold doorknob as you go outside. Ouch! That hurts with a little electric shock to our fingers and hands. On cold winter days when coming in from recess and playing outside, preschoolers laugh in glee when they take off their hats and their hair is standing up from their heads. This is where a lesson can be taught about what static electric is according to the age level of each child. There are many age-appropriate lessons online for parents to look at on atoms with the middle called a nucleus, the nucleus contains particles called protons and neutrons, then electrons orbit around the electrons. Protons have what we call a positive charge, electrons have a negative charge, and neutrons have a neutral charge. Static electricity is described as the imbalance of positive and negative charges.
    Thursday, Jan. 11, is National Milk Day to recognize the first time that milk was delivered to homes. I can remember the milkman would deliver milk in bottles to our door. It seemed magical to open up the door and see bottles of fresh milk delivered for families to drink and enjoy. I can remember the change from milk being put in cartons, which were delivered at doors, too.
    Friday is recognized in the Teacher’s Corner as “Work Harder Day.” This day provides an opportunity for us to encourage our children not to give up when something may be hard for them to do. As parents and teachers, we can remember those challenges in learning that required us to put forth a little more of an effort. Share those times with your children. Time spent with a child and praise truly encourages children to keep on trying.
    Have a good week and stay warm!

Beth Pinyerd has taught in the early childhood classroom for many years. She holds a master’s in early childhood education.