Enjoying Nature in Winter

I’m almost ready to begin the posts on Monet and his cathedral and haystack series—look for it soon!

But first I just had to encourage you not to give up your nature studies just because it’s winter. There’s still so much to see out there! Continue reading to find out some of the things I have recently seen outside in the cold and snow and to see a list of classic winter children’s books—all but one are Caldecott winners—that you’ll want to share with your class at school or with your children and grandchildren!

Here are some reasons to get outside in winter:

  • Because it’s beautiful out there, especially after a new snow!
  • Because now that the leaves are gone, winter is a great time to spot bird nests and see all the different sizes and shapes . Recently I passed a young tree that doesn’t have many branches yet. Even in summer it didn’t yet have dense foliage, but I had passed it all summer without seeing the humming bird nest in it! Small as a doll’s teacup, the nest has survived fall winds and winter snows and maybe next year the humming bird will reuse it. Now that I know it’s there I’ll be keeping a close eye on it in the spring and summer!
  • Because you can observe animal tracks in the snow. If you go out soon after a new snow, you may see rabbit or squirrel or even deer tracks. It’s even fun to pick out different dog feet and their human’s shoe sizes and patterns!     In our area we have large jack rabbits, and after the last snow, their tracks criss-crossed the park and its paths. I could even tell from how widely spaced the tracks were, how fast he was traveling! You can google tracks you’re not sure of.
  • And last, but certainly not least, because it’s fun to watch year-round birds and observe their winter habits. Maybe you and your family can put out a feeder to attract winter birds. In our neighborhood flocks of crows have been visiting lately. They come in groups of about 25 and wander over the park and nearby lawns, looking like black chickens pecking at the ground. 

Make some winter memories! Go for a walk or build a snowman with your class or your own children or grandchildren, then come in and gather in your cozy classroom reading spot or around the fire because it’s time to warm up with some great winter reads:

Hot Cocoa, Anyone?

The following books are classics—all but one are Caldecott winners—so they’re readily available in your library or in many bookstores as well as on Amazon. It’s amazing how many Caldecott winners have been about winter!!

  • The Tough Winter,  in this chapter-type book, Little Georgie, Willie Fieldmouse and all the other woodland creatures are back from Rabbit Hill, Robert Lawson’s Newbery Medal book. They must survive many winter hardships, but they do it with lots of humor and warm friendship.
  • White Snow, Bright Snow by Alvin Tresselt, 1948 Caldecott medal. While adults work to shovel or continue their work through the snow, the children build snowmen and taste snowflakes on their tongues.
  • The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader, 1949 Caldecott medal. Forest animals prepare for a big snow.
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats, 1963 Caldecott medal. A young boy enjoys the first snowfall in the city.
  • Frederick by Leo Lionni, 1967 Caldecott Honor book. While the other mice gather food for winter, Frederick, a mouse artist and poet, gathers beautiful colors and stories for long, bleak winter days. As an artist and one who sometimes moans about winter’s dark days, this book has always touched my heart!
  • Owl Moon by Jane Yolen, 1988 Caldecott medal. A little girl and her father take a late night walk to see and hear an owl. Other forest creatures appear in the illustrations.
  • Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin, 1999 Caldecott medal. A nonfiction picture book about Wilson Bentley (1865-1931), a Vermont farmer. He loved nature, and with great patience and determination, learned how to photograph individual snowflakes.
  • Finish up your story time with verses from Job 38-39 or Psalm 104, which remind us that God is the loving and wise Creator of the world and all it contains. And He continues in power to uphold and sustain it.  End as Psalm 104 does: 

“Praise the Lord, O my soul. Praise the Lord.”

Does your family have a favorite book about winter? Let me know in the comment section below!

This is how Molly relaxes at our sliding door after one of our winter walks! Notice her little crossed back legs!

I have some good writing news. I have seven devotions in the winter 2018-2019 (December, January, February) of The Quiet Hour quarterly devotional available from David C. Cook. If you’re interested, you can enjoy 3 months of short, daily devotions by a number of authors.

Happy New Year to you all. I appreciate all of you who read and tell me you enjoy KathythePicturelady blog

Molly is looking forward to our Monet series. Monet painted some of his favorite haystack paintings in the winter! Sign up to see Molly as a French corgi and enjoy some sights and art from France!!

 

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8 thoughts on “Enjoying Nature in Winter

    1. Kathy The Picture Lady Post author

      Hi Leslie. Thnks for commenting!! I’m familiar with Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink–a great family frontier story about a adventurous girl, but had never heard of this, so I googled it and found the title goes with a different author–Mary Ellen Taylor. Sounds like an interesting read, though!! Was there one by Brink that I missed?

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  1. Susan Ellis

    Love your blog! During the winter here (which isn’t really winter compared with where we’ve lived up north!), the Telfair Art Museum here in Savannah is having a special showing of Impressionism. We intend to go! And I’ll look forward to your next blog!

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    1. Kathy The Picture Lady Post author

      Hi Susan! Thanks for such an encouraging comment!! That will keep me writing! I hope you’ll enjoy the Impressionist exhibit. That’s one nice thing about their art–Americans were among the first to appreciate and buy their art when it wasn’t as expensive, so there’s lots in this country! I hope you’ll enjoy my posts about Monet also!

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  2. Ellie Bullock

    Hi Kathy: I am anxious to read your blog. We watched bluebirds checking out our bluebird houses this past week. They come in January to inspect and pick their nesting homes. Unfortunately, when they return in the Spring often the barn swallows will steal the houses away from them. Maybe that won’t happen this year!

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    1. Kathy The Picture Lady Post author

      Hi Ellie! So good to hear from you and I’m glad that you’re reading my blog! I have fun writing it. Bluebirds in January!!? Have you folks moved south? I must have missed that if you did. If you haven’t–bluebirds in January is amazing even if they don’t stay!! Barn swallows can be pretty aggressive. we had lots in Texas and they were fun to watch as they swooped around catching insects on the fly.

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