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Homeschool Snow Study

In this homeschool snow study there is so much to discover! Included is a field guide to snow, experiments like filtering, guidance from the Handbook of Nature Study and more!

Homeschool Snow Study – Outdoor Hour Challenge

Hello, fellow nature adventurers! How lovely to see you here once again for another exciting challenge. In this week’s homeschool nature study outdoor our challenge looks at a homeschool snow study.

1. Read chapter two in Discover Nature in Winter. There are so many great ideas for a homeschool snow study in this chapter that you will find at least two or three that you will want to try with your family. Use your highlighter or sticky notes to mark the places that you find with interesting information or ideas for including in your winter nature study.

2. Our family has decided to complete the “Snow Produces Water” activity on page 28. Please feel free to complete any of the suggested activities in chapter two of the book and then share your experiences in a blog entry.

In this homeschool snow study there is so much to discover! Included is a field guide to snow, experiments like filtering, guidance from the Handbook of Nature Study and more!

More Homeschool Nature Snow Study Ideas

  • Filtering Snow
    Place a clean wide-mouthed container outside during a snowstorm. Collect the snow and then bring it inside the house to melt. After your snow has melted, filter the water through a coffee filter. Use a hand lens to examine the particles left in the filter. If you have a microscope you can look at the melted snow even more closely.
  • Snow Produces Water
    Fill a measuring cup with fresh snow and let it melt. See how many cups full of snow it takes to fill a measuring cup with the melted water. Repeat the experiment with old snow and record any differences in your nature journal.

This chapter in the book contains an explanation of how a snowflake forms and descriptions of the different kinds of snowflakes. We may as a family complete a few more of the activities in this chapter like the “Snow Melt and Trees” activity and the “Dripless Snow” activity as well. Now we just have to hope we get some significant snow soon so we can do our homeschool snow study observations.

I found some information on collecting and identifying different kinds of snowflakes: Field Guide to Snowflakes.

If you do not have any snow to observe, remember that you can use the ideas from my winter nature study blog entry as an alternative. Also, you can go back to week one and complete the color walk activity if you didn’t finish that activity already.

In this homeschool snow study there is so much to discover! Experiments like filtering, guidance from the Handbook of Nature Study and more!

From The Handbook of Nature Study

I wanted to bring to your attention the section near the back of the Handbook of Nature Study on climate and weather. Particularly interesting to some might be the section on water forms found starting on page 808.

From the Handbook of Nature Study on page 808:
“Water in its various changing forms, liquid, gas, and solid, is an example of another overlooked miracle- so common that we fail to see the miraculous in it. We cultivate the imagination of our children by tales of the prince who became invisible when he put on his cap of darkness, and who made far journeys through the air on his magic carpet. And yet no cap of darkness ever wrought more astonishing disappearances than occur when this most common of our earth’s elements disappears from under our very eyes, dissolving into thin air.”

Anna Comstock spends the next few pages discussing the miracle of the water cycle and the many faces of water. There are so many things described here on these pages and you could easily spend weeks going through each little paragraph.


  • Ice on the surface of a pond (page 811)
  • Seeing one’s breath (page 810)
  • Observing a boiling teakettle (page 810)
  • The geometry of a snowflake (page 809)

Then starting on page 812 she has listed 13 activities to complete your study of water forms.

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Subnivean Zone Study


rabbit mammal snow subnivean winter


Subnivean Zone-Here’s a link to learn more!

My quick definition: The subnivean zone is found in and under the snowpack. It’s the space that many creatures inhabit during the winter where the snow actually acts as an insulator from cold winter temperatures.  Follow this link to view an image of the subnivean zone. 

I’ve become very interested in this topic because the habitat behind my house shows signs of being a prime spot for investigating this zone, once the snow really starts to fall and stay around for awhile. So, this will end up being a long term learning project for my family.

You can do your own research and use the printable in the member’s library to record your interesting facts.


Subnivean Zone Notebook Pages

Are you familiar with the Ultimate Naturalist Library membership? If not, you can read about it on this page: Membership Information.

The Ultimate and Journey level memberships include access to the growing list of printable notebooking pages and activities. I add new things each month!



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Click above to see a current list of printables available in addition to the 20 ebooks already included in the Ultimate Membership.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter Snow Study

Outdoor Hour Challenge

Winter Snow – January 2018

From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook


We’re going to be completing the snow activities in this challenge as a way to learn more about our new Oregon habitat and weather. Use the link above to find specific ideas for making some snow observations of your own and then follow up with a nature journal entry.

The link above includes a free downloadable winter nature walk printable!

Winter Wednesday Snow Observations

If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook in the Ultimate Naturalist Library, there is a custom notebook page, images of snowflakes, paper for creating a paper snowflake and a snowflake coloring page.

Winter Wednesday ebook NOtebook pages

Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.

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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Winter World of Colors

Outdoor Hour Challenge

World of Winter and Winter Colors– January 2018

From the Archives and the Winter Wednesday ebook


Use the ideas and suggestions in the challenge linked above to make some winter color observations with your children. If you have access to the Winter Wednesday ebook, you’ll have a notebook page to complete after your outdoor time.

Additional Ideas from the ebook:

  • If you have snow, bring a few cupfuls inside and let it melt. Use the water to watercolor a winter scene for your nature journal.
  • For older children, think of some similes to write in your nature journal that relate to winter. For instance: The snow was like crystals in the sunshine. Here is a pdf to get you started: Snow Similes.


Winter Wednesday ebook NOtebook pages

Join us for the Winter Wednesday series of challenges here every FRIDAY. You can find them under the winter tab on the blog or if you have an Ultimate Naturalist Library membership, you can find the ebook there for downloading.



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No Snow Study- Winter Walk Instead

Winter Walk Snow Nature Study
Our winter continues to be warmer than normal…even record-breaking temperatures. As much as I love the warm afternoons and sunshine, I am concerned for the drying up reservoirs and the very dry forest conditions. I know I have no power to bring on the rain and snow so I am trying to make the best of it.

This week’s Winter Snow challenge was a big challenge indeed. We did find a bit of snow up the mountain from our house but not a whole lot. We opted to complete the Winter Nature Walk- Scavenger Hunt activity from Hearts and Trees.

I took an image of the page with my phone and we used that during our hike to remember the things we were looking for as we went.

Here are our results:

An evergreen
Buds on a tree
We decided this duck weed was more interesting than moss.
Trees that have lost all their leaves – aspens
a bird – Steller’s Jay
We didn’t find any berries but this rose hip was certainly colorful.
Something with thorns
Pinecones – The squirrels had lunch on the picnic table!

One last image from our hike at Taylor Creek. The beavers have been clear cutting a lot of the trees along the water. They have quite a few trees that are ready to fall as well. The dam is getting huge! Amazing creatures with incredible strength.

We are still waiting for some real snow here and I will keep the snow study in the back of my mind for a future time. I hope some of you were more successful with this challenge or you took advantage of the scavenger hunt instead.


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Outdoor Hour Challenge – Snow Study

The Winter Snow challenge from the Winter Wednesday ebook is a fun one to have on hand whenever you get some snow. I wish you all a great week of nature study!

Original Challenge: Snow
Use the suggestions in this challenge to complete a snow related experiment, recording the results on the accompanying notebook page or in your nature journal. There are also some additional ideas for non-snow related activities to substitute if you live where there is no snow. You can also use the Winter Nature Walk printable from Hearts and Trees.

Special Activity: Watercolor With Snow
Bring a cup or so of snow in and let it melt. Use the resulting water to watercolor a winter scene.

Getting Started Suggestion:
If you already own the Getting Started ebook, complete Outdoor Hour Challenge #3.  Make sure to read the pages in the Handbook of Nature Study for this challenge. We all need reminders about how to encourage our children in their nature journals. This week you can record a winter scene in your journals or use the notebook page from the ebook to keep a record of your outdoor time.  

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OHC Blog Carnival
You are welcome to submit any of you blog Outdoor Hour Challenge blog entries to the Outdoor Hour Challenge Blog Carnival. Entries for the current month are due on 1/30/14.

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Snowman Birdfeeder-Huge Success!

Happy birds! We had large numbers of birds visit our yard during our snow days earlier this week. We had feeders filled with seeds and suet for them to enjoy. This time we had a special treat for them….a snowman birdfeeder!

We created a small snowman on our deck and made eyes out of sunflower seeds and then filled the top of his head with a handful of sunflower seeds. I saw this idea on Pinterest and have been itching to try it. It took a little while for the birds to find the seeds but once they did it didn’t last for long.

They ate the eyes and all!

The second day I refilled the spot on the snowman’s head and they came back again.

It was a simple and fun way to observe birds from our window. The birds didn’t care if our snowman wasn’t all that pretty.

I highly recommend trying this if you have snow in your yard. Snap a few photos and send one to me!

Join us for our Winter Wednesday series of posts coming in January 2014.
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December Extraordinary Things

We had a snowstorm that brought inches of glorious sparkling snow! I used the opportunity to see the extraordinary in the ordinary as part of last week’s Outdoor Hour Challenge.

Extraordinary Observations

I love the silence that comes from the snow. I was up several times in the night to watch the snow fall…there is something about the first snow of the year that makes it magical. This was the first time in a very long time that I didn’t have boys at home to go out early to enjoy the fresh snow. Times have changed.

The birds flock to our feeders just after a snowfall. They shelter in the shrubs and in the tree branches just beyond the feeders. They seem to come alive with the snow and every feeder is busy all day long. Finches, sparrows, juncos, jays, and even the hummingbirds come in numbers that I don’t see at other times.

I put out extra seed this morning and they still ate most of it up. I had to refill the hummingbird feeder the next morning…it had frozen overnight.

Cold air is invigorating. It is a smack in the face at first but then it stimulates many senses..the numbness of the nose and hands or the stinging tears that come from freezing air. The trees hold the snow until later in the afternoon and then as it melts it makes avalanches of snow underneath. One time I was bombed with snow on the head and it was cold!

The snow crunches and gives way under my boots as I tour the yard with the Kona dog and my camera. Kona thinks snow is fun and spends time chasing snowballs, eating snow, and generally racing around the yard in circles.

Colors are more vibrant and pop out from the white background. Reds, yellows, oranges, greens…all seem more brilliant in a snowy landscape. We gathered a few colorful items for a project that I will share later in the week…look for it.

December shared its snowy extraordinary side this week…just in time to share for this challenge. I look forward to hearing about your extraordinary in the ordinary observations. So much to be thankful for.

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Family Seasons Nature Study Walk – Winter Edition

A week ago, our family took a trip up to the mountains to spend some time together and enjoy the beauty of an alpine lake. I thought this would be the perfect time to take a Seasonal Weather walk as part of the Outdoor Hour Challenge. The weekend started off with rain, sunshine, and then rainbows. We actually saw a double rainbow a couple of times….amazing!

Boy, did we have weather! The rain turned to snow and dusted the landscape with clean bright snow. The ducks and geese in the lake didn’t seem to mind much. The clouds covered the mountains in the distance but left us with a pocket of sunshine to get out into and explore.
We would watch for the sun to come out, taking advantage of the time to warm up in the bright mountain sunshine and see some more rainbows.
The snow would really fall at times and we enjoyed the beauty of it…we didn’t have to go outside unless we wanted to do so. Mr. A met up with some friends and went snowboarding one of the days we were up at the lake….crazy teenage snowboarders. (Sorry Mr. T that you dislocated your shoulder.)
This was pretty much the pattern for our whole weekend…rainbows and sunshine…snowing in the distance.

One of the days we took a drive around the lake to a spot we like to hike at but the wind was blowing so very hard that just getting out of the car was difficult. This video is just showing how much the large pines were swaying back and forth in the gusts of wind…it also was really super loud just like on the video. Amazing power of the wind! We experienced 50 mph winds (gusts higher than that).

It was hard to even stand up in the blasts of wind….we ended up taking a short hike over to Fallen Leaf Lake where the waves were high enough you could have surfed. This lake is usually calm, flat, and crystal blue but on this day it looked more like the gray ocean. Mr. D bundled up against the wind…it really was that cold!

While we were up enjoying the lakes of the Sierra, back at home the rain gauge was getting filled up. We had to dump it since it was overflowing at 8 inches! There was flooding and our basement sump pump didn’t work once the power went off….wet floors and furniture. The phones were out for a week and so was our DSL. The weather really gave us something to talk about this past week…more than I anticipated.

There is still time for you to take your weather walk and share your experiences with all of us at the Outdoor Hour Challenge. Make sure to send in your blog entries for the up-coming OHC Blog Carnival (due date 12/30/12).

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Early Spring Snow Day

View from My Window - Snow Day 2012
We woke to snow this morning….the first real snow we have had this winter. What a delight to get out and feel the quiet moments before the world really comes alive on a snowy morning. The snow was falling so softly….like being in a snow globe.

Snow on the Deck - Winter 2012
The snow didn’t last long with afternoon showers washing it away but for the first few moments of the morning it is picture perfect.

Grape Hyacinth in the Snow
Look at these little beauties! What a great way to showcase the purple of the grape hyacinths. The snow didn’t completely cover the blooms and their peeking little faces promise us that it really is spring…even with the snow.

Snow on the rocks
The daffodils are waiting to burst out in bloom after the snow melts and the sun returns. I am very ready for it to be daffodil time and then the slide right into summer. Yes, I am a summer girl and I am anxious for the long hot garden days of summer.

For now, I will be content to have a snow day…steaming cup of coffee in my hand and fresh baked cookies on my plate.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s special First Day of Spring post…and a fun printable for your family.