Monday, February 10, 2014

A Winter Study

In the first few years of homeschooling I liked to take a week or so and concentrate solely on a theme (like winter) and gear everything toward that. It takes a lot of work to do that, but I still enjoy the fun. What's a mom to do?

School has been pretty mundane and basic, and I kept looking at those themes longingly but with utter exhaustion at thinking of the work involved. Enter Pinterest and inspiration from a friend and a burst of energy. I thought, it doesn't have to be perfect, it doesn't have to be 100% themed, but we can add in some fun things to do over the course of a month.

In future months, it will be geared toward the liturgical and seasonal year, and in-between, with preschool stuff with Miss Bear. The big kids still like themed activities.

We spent a little time on winter over the course of a week. Each day we would read a picture book and change out a normal subject and give it a winter twist. I had some extra to-dos on my list just in case, and some we actually did. It was fun, and certainly reminded me that fun doesn't have to complicated or time consuming or energy draining.

Arts & Crafts

3 Minute Paper Snowman Luminaries. Rolled-up white paper with glued on construction paper eyes, mouth, and nose. Battery-lit candle inside. Make it simpler by using markers or crayons instead of cutting paper.

We are also working on a Penguin Art project, but we are not quite finished.


"Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow." -- Psalm 51:7

The idea was to have the kids do the copywork and then create a snow page, but they weren't interested in making it cute. And that's ok. Inspiration here.


This was a lot of fun!

Miss Bear counted snowflakes and used a do-a-dot marker to choose the right number. We then decided to cut out the pages and make a snowflake # book. Only to find that my stapler was missing.

The boys took turns completing sudoku puzzles (based off of The Mitten) as well as finding and counting winter items with a Winter I Spy game.

All the kids used mini marshmallows to do hands-on, at level, math. For Miss Z that meant stuffing her face as fast as she could. For Miss Bear that was taking a handful and counting how many she had. For Critter, that was grouping and counting by 2's as well as some addition and subtraction. For Skipper, that was counting by 5's or attempting to as I was not clear enough for my literal son who counted each individual marshmallow as a five. God love him. He then did a few addition problems that led into basic multiplication. Inspiration here.


We created a snowstorm in a jar using baby oil, warm water with white paint, and alka seltzer tablets.

And had a contest to see who's cup of snow would melt the fastest. The kids decided where to put the cups of snow in the house. Skipper won of course, knowing that if he put his above a heater vent that it would melt faster. The kids had fun watching. Their 5 year old cousin joined in on the fun of this experiment as well.

Some of our books focused on animals during the winter, and so we didn't want to leave them out of the fun. We created some winter treats, especially nice since it has been so cold and snowy here. Inspiration here.

Inspired by a friend.


Our books:

  1. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  2. The First Snowfallby Rockwell
  3. The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
  4. The Mitten by Alvin Tresselt
  5. Now It Is Winter by Eileen Spinelli
  6. Penguin's Snowy Day by Salina Yoon
  7. What Can You Do in the Snow? by Anna Grossnickle Hines
Fun with Food:

Bagel (Udi's Gluten Free Plain Bagels for the boys) with cream cheese and black olives for eyes, carrot for a nose, chocolate kiss for eyes, and summer sausage for a hat and scarf. Inspiration here.

Polar bear pudding cup with bananas for ears and chocolate chips for eyes and mouth. Inspiration here.

And of course, playing the snow!

Oh, if you like to hoard ideas like me at Pinterest, I have a Winter board (and a Liturgical Winter board) if you wish to follow me.


  1. It looks like you had so much fun! I love how you added in the core subjects and not just arts and crafts! Great job everyone!

    1. Yes, Sylvia, it was nice to break away from the every day. I find that including all subjects makes it easier because sometimes the arts and crafts can feel overwhelming (even if they're not).


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