Thursday, February 2, 2012

Ways to Liven Up Winter at YOUR House - Part One

As we move into the midst of this season, the winter doldrums begin and symptoms of cabin fever appear. Like many families, we tend to read more, work on home and craft projects, and of course, our learning continues full speed ahead. I thought you might enjoy a few suggestions to help you enjoy your family's studies as well as the season.

I've discovered a fascinating book about the man who really opened our eyes to the structure of snowflakes—William Bentley. The book that I refer to is Snowflake Bentley, written by Jacqueline B. Martin and illustrated by Mary Azarian (published by Houghton Mifflin Company, 1998).

This book is a biography of Bentley’s life and fascination with nature and snow, from childhood through adulthood. It is a picture book for all ages, to be enjoyed by all. It lays out the interests of William Bentley and tells how his family supported his interests, along with the point that his mother was his teacher until he was fourteen years old. Imagine! When talking about this, the author includes the quote: "She had a set of encyclopedias," Willie said. "I read them all." Through his efforts, he discovered that most snowflakes have six branches, and that each one is a unique "masterpiece of design." This book, along with the book that he wrote and filled with his photographs of snowflakes, Snow Crystals, is all that you need to enjoy a study of snow, as well as perseverance.

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 who 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.

Winter also brings everyone closer to home, and there’s plenty of time for cooking, games, and other "together" activities. At our house, we keep the Pioneer Lady's Hearty Winter Cookbook (written by Jane Watson Hopping) handy. This book is written like a journal, with some wonderfully simple recipes for delicious home-cooked meals.
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.


Amanda B.

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  1. My kids really enjoy the snowflake book when we did it last year. They enjoyed freezing black paper and then catching the snowflakes. Thanks for the reminder. if we EVER get snow here in NC we'll do it again. We keep having a 60 -70 degree winter. Feels like FLA. :)

  2. jkmom- 60-70 degrees sounds wonderful! Glad they enjoyed the book last year! :)

  3. We did Winter Wonders on a whim in January and did not get that book about Snowflake Bentley. I think you have convinced me to use my amazon credits to get these two books. :-)I They sound great! Thanks!

  4. Jeremiah and Stephenie - I think you will enjoy them!


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