Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Ways to Liven Up Winter at Your House - Part 2

If you have the luxury of having snow on the ground, send everyone out with a magnifying glass to study the snowflakes as they fall. They can sketch their favorite flakes, and cut them out to hang in the window. For those of you that don't live in snow country, use the opportunity to study some of William Bentley's photographs of individual flakes and then draw them and cut them out of white paper. The variety in shapes and structures is fascinating, and fun to try to capture on paper.

Of course, when the opportunity presents, the art of snow sculpture has a definite attraction. We've had snow dogs, snow men, snow women, snow bears, and all kinds of fun sculptures! Don't forget to keep the camera handy for these ventures -- the memories are priceless.

So, we've begun our gardening study, covered up the hall walls with sketches of snowflakes, gone outside with a magnifying glass to look at our own snowflakes, and have a whole tray of seedlings started on the kitchen counter what now? As my son reminds me Spring Training begins in mid-February! If there is an interest in baseball or softball in your house, use the time to explore the Internet baseball sites to find out Spring Training plans, trading of players, etc. There are sites for all of the major league teams, as well as many of the minor league teams. The Major League Baseball Association has a very informative web site, as well as the usual sport sites like ESPN.com, etc.

Don't forget have your baseball fans write to the major league teams, and ask for team information, along with a spring and summer game schedule. Several of the teams send bumper stickers, posters, and plenty of fun information. If you want to encourage their interest and learn while in the process, order the Baseball Unit Study on CDROM now, and get ready for a fascinating adventure into the history and science of baseball. What a way to liven up learning during dreary winter days, poring over baseball cards, learning how American history and baseball history intertwine, and more!

For those students interested in playing baseball this spring, the winter can provide some opportunities to begin to get in shape for the season. The books at the library on Little League, baseball training, sports fitness and other topics for children are usually VERY available in the wintertime don't forget to include them in your next library search.

The wintertime also brings everyone closer to home, and plenty of time for cooking, games, and other "together" activities. At our house, we keep the Pioneer Lady's Hearty Winter Cookbook handy, written by Jane Watson Hopping. This book is written like a journal, with some wonderfully simple recipes for delicious home cooked meals. We've dusted off the old Monopoly game, as well as Scrabble, Yahtzee, and a few other classics.

I hope that these ideas help brighten your family's winter. These are special times, that can't be relived and will pass all too quickly. The runny noses, midnight cough sessions and rocking a feverish child will be endured, in love and of course, much patience. Use this season to look ahead, and anticipate the next season of growth and learning, and many smiles. These ARE the special times!

Open up the WORLD to your child
Encourage thinking skills as well as imagination
Build a strong tree of knowledge
Help develop lifelong learners, thinkers, wonderers.
What are you waiting for?


Amanda B.


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