I’ve learned a thing or two about winter and snow having grown up in Vermont, moved away, and come back:
1. Snow is most fun to play in with good winter clothing: snowpants, mittens, boots, and a coat. A similar adult situation: driving becomes less stressful with appropriate tires and window scrapers.
2. Spending time around others who love the snow is infectiously exciting. Vice versa for too much time spent around those who hate it (remove “exciting,” insert “terrible”).
3. Snow can be transformed into thousands of games and activities. It is slippery, sticks together, can be sculpted, acts like a giant chalkboard, tells you which animals went where, and much more.
4. Cold winter days are the perfect excuse for increased hot chocolate consumption
Going outside after school on our first very cold and snowy day was a blast! All the students had boots and snow pants. Donated used snow pants were available at the school for anyone who didn’t have any. We could jump, role, slide, and make snow angles without getting cold or wet. Last winter in the city, snow piles were off limits. School yards were plowed and salted. Touching the snow was pretty much against the rules. This year’s contrast has me crossing my fingers for a snowy winter!
If you work with elementary students, there are great snow and winter activities in several recommended books:
– Project Seasons: Check out the “Sole Search” page and accompanying tracking activities.
– Hands on Nature: I like “Flakes Up Close,” “Make a Flake” (see below), and “Snowflake Fantasy.” There’s also great stuff on hibernation, tracking, trees in the winter, and more. In addition to lesson plans, this book provides great 2-page overviews of each subject (including snowflakes, hibernation, etc.) for adults.
Cutting paper snowflakes, like in the “Make a Flake” activity, is not only fun for kids. One of my fondest winter rituals is to cut snowflakes by a roaring fire. I toss my scraps into the fireplace as I create winter decorations for the house, note cards with snowflakes glued to the cover, and flakes to slip into winter letters to friends. As you gain experience, you can predict how your snowflakes will come out – at first it’s a fun surprise! I think cutting holes so that the remaining white paper is evenly thick makes the best snowflakes. Check out the illustration below to cut scientifically correct six-sided snowflakes. Drawing lines on a square paper in advance makes this possible for students of all ages. Enjoy the snow!