Around my house, the change in the cold, wet, winter weather and shorter (darker) days can easily lead to gloomy attitudes, seasonal depression, and lack of school-work motivation. Maybe not so much during December as we typically incorporate a lot of Christmas projects and traditions into our school days and then take a nice long break until the end of the year.
But after the Christmas festivities are over and we return to routine – I feel a need plan some “fun” school projects to help me remember to celebrate the winter season, rather than dread it. (Which also helps kids appreciate it, since they model their behavior and attitudes after ours.)
Talking about sounds, smells, and other sensory opportunities that can be experienced during winter is a great way to discover the best parts of the season, and making this Winter Five Senses Book is the perfect project for an indoor day!
I’ve done this winter writing activity in a public school classroom, homeschool co-op, and during our own homeschooling day, and it’s always been a favorite. You can use the free printable, or just use this post as inspiration for creating your own personalized winter senses discussion.
Beginning the Discussion
To begin the discussion and get the kids thinking about the sensory experiences of winter, one of my favorite books to share is, “A Little Bit of Winter.”
It’s a darling story about the interaction between best friends, Rabbit and Hedgehog. As Hedgehog prepares for hibernation, he repeatedly asks Rabbit to describe winter as Hedgehog has only experienced winter through a deep, cozy sleep.
Rabbit is perplexed and mentally stretched as he tries to describe winter in a way Hedgehog can relate. Kids love the surprise ending as Rabbit reveals a surprise he comes up with to save “a little bit of winter” for his slumbering friend.
Reading this story naturally leads to a discussion and I ask the kids questions such as:
- If your friend knew nothing about winter, what would YOU tell him/her?
- What “little bit of winter” would you save?
We then take the story discussion a bit deeper by considering the five senses in a pre-writing mini lesson.
Describing Winter Using the Five Senses
Think about the five senses, and discuss what winter looks like, feels like, sounds like, smells like, and tastes like. Everyone has different experiences with winter–particularly depending on where you live, so there are no right or wrong answers, and all ideas are considered.
If doing this activity with a group, this step works well as a shared writing activity on a whiteboard (for example), or you could have the kids do the activity independently on the printable included in the five senses winter download.
Creating a Winter Senses Book
After the five senses description discussion, older elementary kids can take their ideas and write a paragraph or journal entry about winter. Encourage them to use lots of details and adjectives in their descriptions.
A winter-themed art project would be a good way to illustrate the writing and complete the project. For some fun winter art ideas, visit this Creative Winter Pinterest board.
My younger kids love to “make” books, so I created a simple Winter Five Senses Book to illustrate and apply their experiences and learning from the story and winter description discussion.
I intentionally left the printable book very basic and versatile to adjust for your own needs and allow more creativity. Consider letting kids draw; write; cut-and-paste magazine images; or print, color, cut, and paste clip art pictures to illustrate their books.
If this is a project your kids would enjoy this winter, download the FREE printables here, or pin for later.