Bring Your Students Outdoors This Winter
Getting students outside during winter isn't as hard as you might think. Once there is snow on the ground, most elementary students at least are ready to be outside for recess, so they already have their winter weather gear available. But what else might you want when learning outdoors during winter? I thought I would share some of my favorite winter supplies. Most are easy to carry and inexpensive.
Dawn's Top 10 Winter Learning Supplies
Sit pads - These are folded, foam insulators that keep students dry and warm. You can use them to sit on logs, snow, wet leaves, anywhere.
Books - I love to read a short book (indoors or outside) with younger students to warm up our minds for thinking about our topic of study. My favorites are include Over and Under the Snow, Winter Sleep: A Hibernation Story, Owl Moon, The Story of Snow, and Tracks in the Snow.
Clipboards, pencils, paper - Students can still record information in winter through drawing and writing. I like write in the rain paper for wet days.
Soft measuring tape - I use the kind for sewing. We measure tree circumferences, track lengths and widths and the distance between them.
Birdseed, grapes, cotton balls, feathers - These consumables are great for learning about food caching, hibernation, and insulation.
Magnifying lens - A closer look at anything gives us a new perspective. Observe evergreen needles, bark, seeds and even snowflakes.
Thermometers - I like the digital probes. These can be expensive, but very useful for studying thermodynamics, habitat warmth, and insulation. They can be used in air, water, and soil.
Laminated field guides - small, laminated guides are great for winter identification of trees, tracks, and animal signs. NH Fish and game has some for free that I laminate myself. There are also some foldable pocket guides.
Fire ring, permit, and fire starting supplies - If you have access to an area where you can have a fire, this helps with moral and can warm fingers and toes. You might even make hot chocolate or evergreen needle tea on it.
Pruning Shears - I use these to collect twigs to bring in for further examination and to watch the buds burst in March. You might also use it to trim any paths you use of thorny or vine-like plants.
Bandanas, water color paint sets - Okay, I might have more than 10 favorites. The theme is Abundance for a reason. ;) Bright colored bandanas are great to set boundaries and use to take away sight for games and explorations. Water color paints are fun for nature art when snow and ice are present.
If you'd like to learn more about where to buy these supplies, how to use them, or where to get funding to buy them, please get in touch. I'm happy to share.