Nature Study in Cold Weather Climates

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • Author
  • As I am thinking about how to prepare for homeschooling I am just confused on how daily outdoor time is even going to be feasible in our climate.  Most Wisconsin winter days are too cold to go outside at all, not to mention for several hours at a time.  I know CM mentioned doing so mostly April through October but this is the opposite of the regular school year.  Any clarifying advice or info on this would be helpful.


    Here is a blog post I did a while ago on this

    That said, nature study has kind of fallen by the wayside this last year, partly because of weather (I’m in Canada) and partly because of a new baby…

    We do most of our heavy-duty nature study from April to October though… as it is a great way to spend the summer.  Nature Study does NOT have to follow the school year, and some should be done all year round.

    I like the spring and fall best… in the summer we have problems with mosquitoes (more july, but throughout) and in August we tend to have Wasps… or at least we have the last 3 years.   

    I’m planning to start doing better work on nature study this spring, and hope to get the habit going again.

    hope my blog post helps some!

    I’m in WI too! I feel your pain. lol When I started CM education many years ago, we did most of our outdoor nature study / nature notebook entries in that April-Oct timeframe you mentioned. It was lovely! Even in the dreadfully hot and humid summers we just got out early and did stuff and could easily be back home by 9 or 10am, even with rme to play at a park or int the woods. Worked very well. In the winter months, just getting outside for a walk can be a major (and at times dangerous) accomplishment. We’d usually try for a couple of indoor opportunities like an indoor wildlife sanctuary or take advantage of that rare “balmy” day outside when it gets back up close to freezing…but realistically the outdoors stuff is just rather limited here at that time of year.

    Winter can, however, be an excellent time to watch nature DVDs (love David Attenborough’s stuff!!), work on drawing or watercolor skills (for improved nature notebook entries in the spring), and read wonderful nature books. Oh, and you can always do nature notebooks from a window! (Track the same tree you can see out your window, through the seasons…etc.)

    EDIT: I just reread your post and realized you weren’t talking about nature outings as much as outside time. Oops! I should practice the habit of attention more, eg? 😉 OK , so ya. Not much good advice for you there… Other than to grab the opportunities when they are there. I have a CM friend here who is very good about sending her kids out to play quite often, on days I would not really consider. The kids are more resilient than we moms are, I think. lol. But of course you still have to use wisdom with dangerous temps/windchills.

    I should probably delete the whole post since I’m not really helping here, lol. I guess I was just excited to hear you were from WI!

    Slinking back to the shadows now…. 😉


    Here is a list of things we do for nature study in the cold months.  We do nature study weekly all school year.

    draw what is out your window, draw family pet (if you have to you can get cheap feeder fish that won’t last long-I promise!), take pictures of nature around your area in the good months for drawing during the cold ones, draw pictures from websites or books based on what you are doing in science, collect items during the good months for a box (a friend uses a tackle box) like abandoned wasp nests, feathers, cool rocks, twigs, shells, bark, cicada shells, etc to choose from and draw at the table,

    That is off the top of my head, if I think of any more I will write back!  It has not been that hard with these ideas, good luck!

    This was all very helpful thank you!  And please don’t erase any of your posts!  My question really was just nature study and outdoors time during cold weather so this gave me a pretty well rounded idea of ways to comprise and alternatives.  Thank you


    I loved all the ideas.  This makes it more doable – I also liked Sonya’s suggestion from one of the videos about taking pictures of the animals and birds with your digital camera and then putting it on the computer for them to draw from – more detail and the model doesn’t run away mid-sketch. 

    Thanks for the ideas, I might even let them get out their tubs(!) of neat rocks they have been collecting for years and use those.  =)

Viewing 6 posts - 1 through 6 (of 6 total)
  • The topic ‘Nature Study in Cold Weather Climates’ is closed to new replies.