Wonderful Winter

Winter brings short days and cold temperatures, but it also brings opportunities for togetherness and learning. Here are some of my favorite things to do to keep the winter months magical.

Get cozy with a good book. When it's cold or gloomy out, we love to snuggle up by the fireplace with a good book.  Some of our favorite read-a-louds lately (according to my littlest) have been George's Marvelous Medicine, Robinson Crusoe, Julie of the Wolves (disclaimer: contains some upsetting content that can easily be edited for younger listeners or discussed while reading out loud), and The Family Under the Bridge.

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Learn about winter weather. We took time with our Nature Club friends to learn a bit about snowflakes and how they are formed. The kids bundled up, played with the ice in the yard and had a blast. Big sheets of ice had formed over our garden boxes and pulling them up and breaking them were the highlight of the afternoon. Inspired by Wilson A. Bentley, my littlest took pictures of snowflakes during our last snowfall. He experimented with a microscope and trying to catch the flakes on his hands, but then decided on using a black sheet of cardstock to collect snowflakes and asked to borrow my phone to zoom in and examine them.  The pictures he took were amazing and really helped us to see firsthand what we had learned about through books and videos.

This was the video that packed in the most information. (Heads Up: I skipped the first few seconds of joking around when showing it at Nature Club, as we don't use the phrase, "Shut up" in our house.) The following photos are a few that my littlest took. Look at those details! Snowflakes are little works of art!

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Get baking. Winter is a fun time to get together in the kitchen and bake. The extra heat from the oven is just a bonus.  We love to make cookies and bread together. My middle-est and littlest had learned how to make some new Holiday cookies at a cooking class and we had fun making them together.

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Indoor projects. This time inside allows me to catch up on projects around the house.  So far we've cleaned out closets and drawers as well as our art area. I even painted our window seat/bench in our kitchen a happy yellow.  Getting the house organized helps us to enjoy our time inside so much more.  Bright colors offset the grey skies and bring in a little sunshine. 

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Play Board Games. Winter is a great time to break out all the board games. Cooperation, turn taking, good sportsmanship, strategy, memory; so many skills are learned when playing board games. This is one of our favorite all ages pastime. The boys even had a two day board game marathon this week.  Some of our favorites include classics like Chutes and Ladders, Sorry, Candyland, Uno (I know, it's a card game), as well as ones that are *new* to us Settlers of Catan, Catan Jr., Labyrinth, Enchanted Forest, and Tsuro.

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Winter can be a magical time when we slow down and embrace it as its own season.  What do you especially like to do in the winter?

-Mary