6 Simple Ways to Welcome Winter

The following post is by contributor Amy Anderson. It originally appeared in 2010.
Is it already feeling like winter where you are? We have been enjoying some night walks around our neighborhood in the brisk, damp air. I’m enjoying bundling up in my scarf and gloves, followed by something warm to drink on our return.

As of December 21, it is officially be winter. On the winter solstice, the northern hemisphere has its “shortest day” or least amount of sunlight. Traditionally, it is celebrated as the promise of light, warmth and the return of spring.

Here are 6 simple, peaceful ways to welcome winter with your kids. Whether you are hustling and bustling this time of year, or keeping it mellow, I hope you and your kiddos will enjoy a few moments connecting with nature and the changing seasons.

1. Enjoy some outside time.

Build a snowman. Jump in rain puddles. Take a night walk. Gather pine cones, acorns, and fallen evergreen branches. Whatever the weather where you live, make some time to enjoy nature and say a big “Hello!” to winter.

Photo by Amy Anderson

2. Light a candle.

After the winter solstice, we get just a little more sunshine each day as we approach spring. Celebrate the sunlight and take advantage of the early darkness to eat dinner by candlelight. Maybe your family would enjoy the quiet of no electricity for the whole evening. My girls are going to have a surprise candlelit bath this year, followed by cozy winter stories – I think they are going to love it!

If you are feeling crafty, you could make lanterns with glass jars and tissue paper. I’m also tempted to add these ice lanterns to our winter celebration – so pretty!

3. Measure your shadow.

During the winter, the Earth’s northern hemisphere is tilted away from the sun. The sun is lower in the sky, creating longer shadows. If you are lucky enough to have some glimpses of sunshine next week, head outside to see how long your shadows can be. My girls have been making silly shadow poses for me to photograph.

Photo by Amy Anderson

4. Read a poem together.

Choose a wintery poem that you can read and reread during the cold winter months. We’re going to illustrate our winter poem and hang it up where we can all read and enjoy it. I won’t be surprised if my girls memorize it before I do! Here’s our poem of choice this season:

I Heard a Bird Sing
by Oliver Herford

I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December
A magical thing
And sweet to remember

‘We are nearer to Spring
Than we were in September,’
I heard a bird sing
In the dark of December.

5. Feed the birds.

You could make the traditional peanut butter and birdseed pine cones, or try making birdseed cookies, orange cup hanging feeders, or a cranberry/popcorn garland. The National Audubon Society also has a nice list of simple bird feeders to make with kids. Don’t forget that birds need a source of fresh water in the winter, too!

Photo by Amy Anderson

6. Be a moon-watcher.

If your kids are night owls, they can enjoy watching a total lunar eclipse that happens to coincide with the winter solstice this year. For those of us in North America, the eclipse will begin around 9:30 pm PST. I’m hoping for clear skies so we can see the reddish glow of the moon during the eclipse. (For more detailed timing information and an animation of the eclipse, head to the Shadow and Substance website.)

Does your family have a special way to welcome winter?

About AmyA

At her blog, Let’s Explore, Amy shares her family’s experiences creating, imagining, and playing together. You can read about her homeschooling journey at Early Bird Homeschool.

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  1. I love your suggestions for feeding the birds. We have a cardinal family that occasionally flashes red across our snow white backyard. I need to put something out to ensure regular visits.
    Aimee @ Simple Bites´s latest post: Beautiful Cookies for the Artistically Inept Brown Sugar Molded Cookies

  2. Winter is here in Minnesota in a big way. We had to take the sled to the post office to get the mail the other day. 🙂

    I love this list, especially the poem! Every year I make a list of 100 things I want to do during the winter to put me in the right mindset for it. Here’s one of them: http://www.examiner.com/attachment-parenting-in-mankato/100-fun-things-to-do-with-the-kids-this-winter

    Happy winter!
    A Magical Childhood´s latest post: Snow Day!

  3. Thanks for the tip on the total lunar eclipse – I think my little guy will love that.
    Steph at Modern Parents Messy Kids´s latest post: Christmas Fun with Felt

  4. May I add? Put on some boots and go for a walk to hear some snow crunch under your feet!
    Heidi @ Everyday Families´s latest post: Newest Editions

  5. Thanks for the ideas! I love that they are simple … since there are so many activities keeping us busy this time of year. I think I’m going to incorporate more candles in the coming days … my girls will love that.
    Janell´s latest post: Kid-crafted Christmas cards

  6. Our kids are 1 1/2 and 4 and we didn’t do any sledding last year because my husband and I didn’t have snow pants! This year, I made sure we all got outfitted with snow clothes for Christmas. Santa will also be delivering a sled for the family! We had a ton of snow a couple nights ago and had fun building an igloo as a family last night. The rain is slowly washing it away today 🙁
    Nisha @ Healthy Mom’s Kitchen´s latest post: “What’s in My Fridge” Quick Christmas Wassail

  7. We like a brisk evening by the fire. The moon , stars, and (of course) smores tends to generate a lot of great conversation. We’ve had more interesting family conversations under the stars near the fire than anywhere else. We love it.
    Marie´s latest post: Mio Classic Select Petite Heart Rate Monitor Watch Review

  8. Great ideas, at the moment I am in a winter funk so I am going to try a few of these next week to help us out!
    Vanessa´s latest post: Wishing You a Wonderful Holiday

  9. Alas, the link for the eclipse was for an eclipse in 2010! There also was one 12/10/2011, next one for U.S. is in 2014.

  10. Love these ideas, especially the tissue paper lanterns and ice lanterns. 🙂 And a no electricity evening sounds lovely too. Thanks!
    Laura´s latest post: Solve Me a Problem

  11. Great ideas and lovely photos!! My favorite way to welcome winter is buying new coats and boots!! 🙂 When the snow arrives, we are ready for some stomping and sledding and snow tasting.
    Debbye @ The Baby Sleep Site´s latest post: Will Cry It Out Lead to Prozac For Your Baby?

  12. Great ideas! Love them! Thanks.
    Shawn´s latest post: Start with Love … a family manifesto

  13. Brilliant ideas, thanks!


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