As we settle into the winter season, snow covers the ground and the temperatures drop. Where do the animals go? What are they doing?
Today I’m sharing our new Winter Animals Nature Unit Study that I just posted in my Etsy Store. This unit is designed for Prek through 2nd grade but could easily be adapted to include older kids as well.
This unit highlights twelve winter animals and how they adapt their bodies and behavior to survive the cold of winter. Let’s check it out!
Learning goals for this unit:
Before we dive deeper into the contents of this unit, here is the basic overview of the learning goals I had in mind when I designed this unit.
- Identify the general characteristics of each animal (appearance, habitat, diet, etc)
- Identify and associate the twelve animals with their tracks.
- Outdoor exploration and observation
- Expand knowledge of winter animals through reading and literature
- Define winter animal behavioral terms such as hibernate, migrate, and adapt
- Build general, age-appropriate skills through winter-animal-themed math, language arts, handwriting, poetry, and nature play.
and now, lets see what’s inside…
Winter Animals Unit
1. Identify twelve winter animals
This unit focuses on twelve animals: the Brown Bear, Canadian Lynx, Snowshoe Hare, Caribou, Moose, Snow Leopard, American Red Squirrel, Red Fox, Gray Wolf, Deer, Arctic Fox, and Raccoon.
There are fact cards and flashcards for each animal, as well as various activities for the animals.
Note: while there are lots of activities and book lists included in this unit, feel free to add extra resources, books, or videos if your kids want to learn more about a particular animal!
2. Associate the animals with their tracks.
Wouldn’t it be so fun to know and identify what animal prints you and your kids are seeing in the snow or mud around your neighborhood? To know what winter season animals you have in your area? Before you go outside, discover the unique shape of each print.
(One of our favorite ways to get acquainted with the tracks was to play this winter animal tracks memory game…)
3. Outdoor exploration and observation.
A winter animals unit really comes together when you take the learning outside. Its so fun to find tracks in the snow or mud and discover the animals that live in your area. Go for a nature walk, or three for that matter! Keep an eye out for animal tracks and scat and just have fun.
For a little more organized winter outdoor activity, bring along the outdoor scavenger hunt …
4. Expand knowledge with reading and literature.
After your come inside, cuddle up by a warm fire with your kids and a pile of books. A good story can inspire some animal imaginative play for the afternoon or even create a lifetime interest in a particular animal.
There is a book list included in this unit, but read what you have on hand or feel free to load up with winter animal books from the library.
5. Learn some winter animal vocabulary
What does it mean to hibernate, migrate, or adapt for the winter? What does nocturnal mean? Take some time to discuss and learn these words then take it a step further and sort the animals according to the terms. (definitions and vocabulary cards are included)
6. Build basic skills in math, language arts, and handwriting.
(The reason I kept them separate was for those who only wanted to use this unit as a science, nature-study resource.)
The Winter Animals Unit Includes:
- Winter animals book list
- List of activities
- Winter animals poetry and handwriting pages
- Vocabulary cards
- Winter animal poster and 2-part flashcards
- Animal tracks poster and 2-part flashcards
- Animal facts cards
- Deer life cycle
- Squirrel anatomy poster and labeling activity
- Caribou anatomy poster and labeling activity
- Animal reporting pages
- Animals tracks memory game
- Outdoor Scavenger Hunt
- Winter Animal Word Search
- Raccoon Puzzle
- How to draw a bear
- Build a winter animal scene
Winter Animals Download
This is a great unit study idea for homeschool or classroom use! You can download the Winter Animals Nature Unit and get started today!
What is your favorite winter animal and why?
More Resources on Nature Study
- Five Simple Outdoor Winter Nature Activities for Kids
- Printable Nature Sorting Mats
- Books to Get you Started on Nature Study
- Printable Garden Journal and Activity Pages
- Ways to Make Geology Fun for Kids
- 33 Ways to Help You Get Started on Nature Study
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