Helping children and families connect with the natural world

"In a Nut Shell" Blog

Penny Folsom shares her thoughts on a monthly basis with those interested in helping children and families connect with the natural world.

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Winter is Back

Winter is back. Here in West Michigan we had a January thaw and it felt nice. But now it is time to accept the fact that we will be under snow for a while to come, which is great for getting out and doing the things you can only do in the winter. What outdoor activities can you engage in? How about snowflake catching? Cut a 3 inch square of black felt. Glue two popsicle sticks (or sticks from trees) together to form the letter V. Attach the sticks to the felt with glue so that it creates a handle. Go catch snowflakes. Be sure to carry a magnifying glass with you to examine the beautiful intricacies of each. Did you know that there are no two snowflakes alike? Wonder at the beauty of them.

If you have no snow but the ground is wet where you live, how about searching for animal tracks? There are many great beginning guides available at your local library. Which way is the critter heading? Can you find where they may have gone under the grass? Did they leave behind any scat (poop)? Is there more than one kind of track to follow? Write a story about what you have found. Be curious and creative. Can you draw a picture of what it may have been? Nature journaling is a great way for children, and adults, to retain their discoveries. Revisit often.

Continue feeding outdoor birds if you are able. If it is winter where you are, and you have started feeding them, don’t stop. They now depend on you for the steady supply of energy they need to get through these last weeks of winter. Providing open water using a heated bird bath provides much needed hydration for them. Birds need water year around.

Get out, enjoy, embrace the seasonal changes. Contact me if you have specific questions, I will try to help you answer them……..Penny

Kathy Reed2018