Winter Nature Nut

Winter Nature Nut

Some writers are saying that students in the United States are getting outdoors to enjoy nature less now than ever before. A popular book by Richard Louv is even called Last Child in the Woods: Saving Our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Outdoor play can be healthful. Outdoor play can help you learn some science. Best of all, outdoor play can be fun. Here are some ideas for the coming winter months. Maybe you can get your parent or an older brother or sister to come along to help. 

Look for animal tracks around your neighborhood or at a park. Who made them? How far can you follow one set of tracks? Where did they come from? Where do they go? What do you think the animal was doing? Visit our Animal Detecting Web page for some help.

Make a leaf collection using fallen leaves. If they are dry, press the different kinds of leaves between the pages of a big book. You can also save them by having a grownup help you to iron them between two layers of waxed paper. Can you figure out the names of the different trees they came from?

Go outside at night to see and hear nature for yourself. You will need to take a grownup for this and maybe plan to go when the moon is full. Read Walk When the Moon Is Full by Frances Hamerstrom for some ideas of how to enjoy nature at night. Maybe you can call in an owl like in the book Owl Moon by Jane Yolen. 

Build an igloo or a snow cave. Make sure grownups know what you are working on and where you are. You don’t want to build either one where cars will come too close and you want to make sure it has a breathing hole so you can get enough air. Does an igloo or snow cave get warmer than the outside air when you are inside? Use a thermometer to find out.

Help with a Citizen Science project. There are some that study birds in winter. Send your data in and see if you can find out about the results from others. Visit our Bird Study Web page for more about birds.

Keep a journal with drawings and quick notes about what you did and what you found out. You can use My Nature Book by Linda Kranz for ideas on how to make a good nature journal. 

For more ideas, parents and teachers might visit the National Wildlife Federation’s website.
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