Bundle up for wintertime learning

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By Beth Pinyerd

After the busyness of seasonal activities, it is so good to settle down into winter learning. I love the way early childhood teachers create a “Winter Wonderland” of learning in their classrooms.
Emphasis being made that “no two snowflakes are alike” is applied in realizing that no two children are alike. Each child is unique in their own way!
Teachers do a wonderful job of integrating winter into their reading, language arts, math and science lessons.
The purpose of this article is to pass on to parents, grandparents and caregivers ideas that your young children will truly enjoy. Let’s take a wintertime field trip. Nature’s handiwork can still be observed during its dormant state as well. You can divide your outdoor adventure into four mini field trips. Grab your coat, a pencil and paper to record your findings.
A listening field trip is done simply by walking quietly and listening for :
The wind blowing through trees
Birds chirping
Squirrels scurrying
Leaves rustling as well as crunching under foot
Ice breaking
Rain falling
Sleet falling
A seeing field trip is a lot of fun as you can make several observations:
Shapes of clouds against the majestic blue sky
Colors of nature during the winter
Angles the sun is peeping through
Counting the varieties of animals and birds
Count the many bright stars in the winter sky as well as looking at how the moon changes shape
Comparing what trees retain their leaves and which ones don’t
Observing buds that have not yet opened
Your feeling field trip of course with safety in mind can include feeling:
Moss on a tree or rock
Snow, ice
Rocks
Soft sand or soil
Rough tree bark
Smooth stones
Sun shining on your face
Wind blowing on your face
Prickly pine needles, pine cones, and leaves
Your smelling field trip includes:
Fire burning in a fireplace
Pine trees
Cedar trees or wood
Mulch
The different smells that the wind blows in.
Throwing pieces of bread out to the birds can create a bird sanctuary in your yard. Hours of looking, observing, and comparing is a science lesson that could last for several hours.
One of my favorite bird feeders is a pine cone feeder. Gently pick up a pine cone, put small spoonfuls of peanut butter in between the small cone leaves and sprinkle bird seeds in the peanut butter. This makes a bird feeder that your child will enjoy all winter. Just hang the pine cone birdfeeder by a piece of yarn or string and observe the birds flying in over time.
Top off your field trip and outside fun with a tasting party of your child’s favorite snacks.
Again, enjoy this special time with your child and it doesn’t have to cost you anything!

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