Saturday, January 14, 2012

Winter Unit Study: Week 1

**Warning - very long post! But lots of fun for the kids!**

While still pregnant with Miss Z, I knew I wanted to have some fun activities lined up for the kids post-baby - a way to do a little "school," to keep the kids busy for at least part of the day, and to just have fun. With Skipper's help, we decided to do a piece on winter and penguins. My requirements? It had to be hands-on, fun, and easy to bring together. I think it worked out. We all had fun, and it was a great reminder of what I want to get back to with our homeschool. So I have plenty to think on and pray about over the future of our homeschool.

The basis of our winter unit comes from Simple Schoolings Winter Unit Study (that I can't seem to find a link for), but I used many outside sources to fill in the gaps, trying to find something daily for each "subject." Again, simple, fun, and quick to throw together were all I required. When I asked the kids if they had fun this week and would want to do another week of winter, they said, "YES!"

Here's what we did this week:

Play with Language
  • Reading books on winter - full book list next week but a favorite this week was "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats. What a great author!
  • Snow Rhyming - come up with words to rhyme with snow
  • Creating a Winter Acrostic
  • Copywork - This is a struggle for Skipper. His handwriting is not great whatsoever and it is difficult for him to sit and do copywork. I still have not figured out what trips him up so much, but this week I decided to have him work with a timer for 5 minutes, concentrating on his work - not necessarily finishing it, but trying his best in that time. This really seemed to work this week so I plan on doing more of this, gradually extending the time and trying to focus on details (he will completely skip out on the punctuation or put capital letters in the middle of a word or completely forget how to make a letter). Very frustrating when he does great in so many other ways! Skipper's copywork this week was from Ecclesiastes 3:1-2: "There is a season for everything, a time for every occupation under heaven: A time for giving birth, a time for dying; a time for planting, a time for uprooting what has been planted."
  • Reading a thermometer (and practice worksheets)
  • Snowman marshmallow estimation - the kids had to guess how many mini marshmallows would fill up the big circle on the snowman and then count how many actually did (they were way off!).
  • Telling time - nothing to do with winter but Skipper wanted to start working on it.

Studying science can be such a simple, fun thing to do with kids. Really, there is no messing it up. Science is observation and experimentation. The doing creates the learning. And kids love it. Plus, it can be easy. Just see what we did this week:
  • Melting colors - freeze colored ice cubes. Place two cubes in a zip-lock baggie and let kids "play" with them to melt the ice and change the colors. Also fun to see how cold ice is, how fast it melts, etc.
  • DIY dew and frost - take two empty tin cans, labels removed, and fill with ice. In one, mix with salt. In the other, add water half-way. Watch as frost and dew form. While you will see results quickly, it's even better after sitting five minutes or so.


Winter Landscape (Skipper) - "Ice Skating"

Winter Landscape (Critter) - tree and snowman 

Clay Snowman (Critter)

Clay Snowman (Skipper)

Glue Snowman (Miss Bear with my help)

Glue Snowman (Critter)

Glue Snowman (Skipper)

Paper Snowflakes

A Play on Food

Snowman pancakes

Snowmen ice-cream

Homemade ice-cream

Other Fun

Ice Mold Excavation: The kids loved this! I froze some winter-theme, water-resistant toys in our bundt pan. We had a beautiful day for playing outside and I let the kids have at it with a hammer, little pick, and a screwdriver to "dig" their way to the winter treasure. Neighbor kids drifted by to see what was going on. Definitely a hit! 

Snow & Geography: We took a look at a map of the U.S. and made guesses as to where it snowed the most. I also explained how winter storms develop. Skipper was quick to point out that tornadoes form the same way too (cold air meets warm air). He has a thing for tornadoes.


I found some cute winter songs to learn throughout the study. Miss Bear just loves to sing and dance, and Skipper is catching on to music as well. He only needs to hear the lyrics once and I catch him singing it all day. Very cute! We choose the Snowflake Dance, 5 Little Snowmen, and Ring Around the Snowmen.

And on Friday, we had our first real snowfall! Naturally my camera needed a battery charge, but the kids had fun playing in it. My joyful moment came the night before watching our cat jumping after flakes during his nightly jaunt outside.

I cannot wait to see what goes on next week to finish our winter study!


  1. You are one great mama! I don't know if I'd ever be able to do so many great activities w/ my kids. Love your ideas. Thanks for posting.

  2. Elisa, planning goes a long way! And seeing their enthusiasm really kept me going - as well as feeling really good postpartum and having a sleeper. :) Plus, simple is key. It felt like having a menu plan and looking it over the day before.

  3. Oh what fun!!! Visiting from TGIF. I'd love to invite you to link up with us for Fun Stuff Fridays.

  4. So much fun!! Love the ice project and all the different kinds of snowman!! So glad you could make use of some of my snowman pack =-) Thanks for linking up to TGIF! Have a great week,
    Beth =-)


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