Winter Solstice Books
- The Shortest Day by Wendy Pfeffer
- The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper
A Few Other Books That Fit the Theme
- The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow
- Winter by Gerda Muller
- Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner
- The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader
- Night Tree by Eve Bunting
- Winter is the Warmest Season by Lauren Stringer
- Winter Days in the Big Woods
Winter Solstice Learning
- Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman (pages 12-13)
- The Reason for Seasons by Gail Gibbons
- Solstice & Equinoxes (Printable from Twig & Moth)
I also used this 24-Hour Pie Printout to have my kids count out the difference in daylight hours we experience in the Summer vs. Winter Solstice (see photo above for my son counting using math manipulatives with the sheet).
Winter Solstice Poetry
We love other seasonal-based poetry like A Year of Nature Poems, Around the Year, and Sing A Song of Seasons.
Activities to Celebrate
MAKE ORANGE POMANDERS
We made simple orange pomanders using clementines and whole cloves, paired with The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow. I find that the clementines are easier for small hands, but if your kids need extra help they can always poke the orange first with a toothpick and then push in the cloves.
Pomanders today are created for beautiful decorations and for a nice aroma. In Medieval times these were made for good fortune and to ward off illness.
CREATE A SUN CRAFT
You could do paper suns, sun catchers in the window, sun luminaries, or any number of crafts you can think of to celebrate the sun!
We chose this year to make Salt Dough Sun Ornaments to hang on our Christmas tree.
Salt Dough Recipe:
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup salt
- 1 1/2 cups warm water
Combine ingredients & knead until incorporated. Roll & cut into desired shapes. (Add a hole for string with a straw if making ornaments). Bake at low temp (200-250 degrees) for 1-2 or let air dry. I usually to a combination of air dry + oven dry. Usually we paint a day or two after we have cut the shapes.
Once they are dry you can paint them. We use watercolors! You may want to seal the finished items with Mod Podge or something similar to preserve.
We use this simple Make Your Own Beeswax Candle Kit to roll beeswax candles — maybe next year we will get in to using melted wax! This kit has lasted us a long time, by the way.
Light is lacking in winter so of course we bring it inside and relish the light we can.
FEED SOME WILDLIFE
We have been reading through All Creation Waits during Advent the last several years and it’s always lovely to consider the natural world this time of year and the extent to which their bodies expend themselves to survive the harsh cold and barren world.
The kids are usually inspired to help our animal friends out, making sure our bird feeders are always full.
We also like to make simple Pinecone Bird Feeders. Great books to pair with this activity are The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader and Night Tree by Eve Bunting.
Simply cover a pinecone in peanut butter, dip & roll in bird seed, then hang outside where you can see and birdwatch!
We made frozen ice orbs using an idea I found in Whatever the Weather: Science Experiments and Art Activities that Explore the Wonder of Weather.
- Fill balloons with water and place in a bowl (coated with vegetable oil so the balloons don’t freeze together).
- Set outside in below-freezing temps (make sure the bowl isn’t in the sun), and wait until they freeze solid.
- Peel off the balloons (use scissors or a knife to help) and enjoy your ice orbs!
After marveling for a bit, we decided to set ours outside in the sun to do an experiment on the sun — and see how long they take to melt.
This is a fun and engaging science lesson on water phases, temperature, and the power of the sun!
TAKE A FAMILY HIKE
Enjoy a quiet family hike together — even if it’s not exactly on the Solstice. Pay close attention to sights and sounds. Nature journal your experience together.
COOK A WINTER MEAL TOGETHER
Because we have access to fruits and vegetables and modern refrigeration, I think there is something lost in our ability to feel the frugality and sparseness winter demands. Try to imagine what living through the winter meant 150 years ago!
To honor a sense of gratitude for winter meals, try creating a simple seasonal meal like soup or roasted root vegetables and homemade bread. One of my favorite cookbooks to this end is Simply in Season.
FOR MORE OF OUR NATURE STUDIES SEE THIS PAGE
2 thoughts on “Winter Solstice Nature Study & Celebration”
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Hello! I would love to make these beautiful sun ornaments with my 3rd graders. Do you happen to know how many ornaments one batch will make? Thank you for the resources!!