The Pleasures of Winter-Charlotte Mason When it is Cold

pleasures-of-winter-harmonyfinearts

“When there’s frost or snow on the ground, children have fun sliding, throwing snowballs and building from snow. But even when the snow is slushy and dirty, or the sky is gray, they should have interesting things to do outside so that their hearts are cheerful even when the day is cold and dreary.”
Charlotte Mason (in modern English) volume 1 page 85

Updated January 2018


Okay, so we don’t have 2 to 3 hours of outdoor time as suggested by Charlotte Mason in the winter. But with a little perseverance, we can provide *some* time outdoors each day or week.
winter gear and snowball
It snowed here yesterday and I was thinking as my boys pulled on their snow gear that it really is essential to have the proper clothing available for our children to enjoy being outdoors in the bitter cold. Boots with thick socks, waterproof gloves, woolen hats, coats and even snow pants may be necessary for them to really get the most out of being outdoors. If they get cold, they will want to come right back in.
snowman
If they are properly dressed, they may still need some direction as they head outside. I try to just be available during our outdoor time. I don’t necessarily do much to entertain the boys but I am always hovering around taking photos, puttering in the garden cleaning up, sweeping the steps, filling the birdfeeders, collecting interesting things to bring into the house for our nature corner, or just sitting and looking at the sky or the trees or whatever.
clearning snow
Giving them tasks to do will help if they seem to be aimlessly wandering around the yard. In the winter it can be something like gathering twigs and fallen branches from off the lawn to put in the compost pile or I have them put out different things for the birds to eat like peanuts or seeds and that always turns into a period of time to observe how long it takes the birds to find the treats.

I don’t want you to think that we have extended time each day outdoors because that wouldn’t be the truth. Some days it as much as we can do to go out and walk to the mailbox and back. But, every week we make an effort to be outdoors and be looking at things that we can find even in the winter cold. Every month we take a whole school day to devote to nature study. At first I was hesitate to take a whole day off just for nature study but in the grand scheme of things it has been a positive and important decision even with my boys who are older at ages 12 and 14. They need time to connect and enjoy nature.

Just a side note: Last week I was walking around at a ski resort and I saw a young mother with her little baby all snuggled down in a front pack. She had the baby in a snowsuit, in the pack, and an extra blanket draped over her shoulder. The baby had his little nose and eyes poking out from under the blanket and they were very happy eyes. I thought to myself that this was the answer for those with really little ones that want to spend time outdoors in the freezing temperatures. A few minutes snuggled with mom out in the fresh air can only help with everyone’s moods and dispositions.

So have I encouraged you? Have I shown you that this is something you can plan for even if you have to exchange one math period for one nature walk? It is worth the effort. Don’t forget when you come in all frosty cold, it is *cocoa* time!!
winter gear and hot cooca
It is okay if that is the best part for you…..just don’t let your kids know!

 

Handbook of Nature Study Logo
If you would like some more inspiration for your time outside this winter, please see my Handbook of Nature Study blog.

Click over to see nature study ideas all organized by topic and season. Use the tabs at the top of the blog to navigate the many ideas I have shared over the last decade.

If you are interested in an Ultimate Naturalist Library Membership, you can use the discount code NATURE5 to get $5 off a membership.

Winter Ebook Cover

Here is one of the winter ebooks that you can find in the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership. You can download a sample here: Winter Nature Study ebook sample.

 

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