Let’s face it – during the winter months our kids are not usually clamoring to head outside and run around in nature.
And if we are really honest, neither are we.
Though I do see value in heading outside to study nature up close during the winter months, it can be downright cold!
Enter 15 minutes at the window.
This unpretentious form of indoor nature study is as simple as:
- Sitting at a window that faces the outdoors.
- Setting the timer for 15 minutes.
- And watching what happens.
We live a condo, so we don’t have an expansive backyard. Here is what we can see from our window:
At first glance, it looks barren and devoid of nature, but I urge you to take another look.
- You can study the lichens you see on the trees.
- You can look for rocks peeking out of the soil.
- You can discuss the falling snow (or the snow drifts if you have a bit more than we did.)
- You can talk about why trees lose their leaves and how those leaves are decomposed.
- You can sketch the difference between coniferous and deciduous trees in the winter.
- You can watch for signs of the different kinds of wildlife.
If you really want to attract birds and other small animals, try setting out some food – such as bird seed, peanuts, or a slice of orange.
Not only will you get to look at your visitors up close, but you can share about the birds without fearing that your words will scare them away. While the animal is there, you can also discuss the adaptations the creature has to survive the cold temperatures.
15 minutes at the window won’t be exactly the same as heading outside and examining nature up close and personal. But I trust that you can see the value in pausing to examine the life you can find outdoors from the comforts of your own home.
Psst – This article first appeared in the Handbook of Nature Study Newsletter, which I highly recommend signing up for!