Monday, January 27, 2014

Going a Little Stir Crazy: Inside Winter Fun

I know many of us are dealing with lots of snow, wind, and very cold temperatures. We haven't been out of the house very much since last Wednesday after school. It's been nice to not go anywhere, but we'd still like worthwhile activities to do with the kids. How can we still enjoy nature when the weather is pretty bad outside?

I rounded up a few activities we've done in the past to give you a few ideas. Our current project is #1.

1. Make a homemade bird guide. We can still see the birds quite active through the front windows. We've observed them plenty over the last week. With guide books and binoculars by the window, discussions on our observations, and starting our homemade bird guide, we're all honing our skills and learning to share characteristics of the birds with others.

2. Have old magazines? A nature collage is a fun way to think of warmer days and gather inspiration in one place. These were a fun way to think of our hopes and goals for the coming year. 

3. It's already cold outside, why not make an ice sculpture for the birds? It could even be frozen outside to not take up extra freezer space right now!

4. The birds would also appreciate cardboard or pinecone bird feeders. With Valentines Day coming up, I think we'll make them heart-shaped again!

5. Whip up some homemade playdough and make sculptures! Add natural elements, essential oils, herbs, etc. for endless creativity!

6. Gather some "natural treasures" from around your house to a centralized nature table. I started one this month and have found little plastic animals, acorns, rocks, tree cookies, shell collections, books, and more! It's been nice to have many of these open for exploration in one area.

7. Make a fairy house! We're reading Fablehaven that is filled with magical creatures right now. It would be a great tie in. My niece is staying over--I'm sure she would love it!

8. Start a rock collection. You may have many rocks already around the house. Gather them in the empty egg cartons that are collecting since you haven't been able to make it to the store. There are plenty of indoor activities to do with rocks, like in our rock grid post. We had fun doing these as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge: Handbook of Nature Study. We've really enjoyed these challenges and the snow ones right now are perfect for suggestions 9 and 10 in my list.

9. Celebrate the snow! This post has several ways to include snow with playing inside--making snowflakes from coffee filters, make snowflakes out of pipe cleaners, etc.

10. Here are more ideas for winter! I especially loved (okay, the kids did!) hiding the "parts" of the snowman inside the snow and retrieving them with tweezers. The kids came up with so many ways of putting a snowman together.