5 Fun and Simple Winter-Themed Unit Studies You Can Create...and Resources to Get You Started

When my kids were just a little younger, I loved to celebrate holidays and seasons with unit studies. The changing of the seasons provide many opportunities to learn naturally through unit studies. Sure, you could read a science textbook lesson about animal hibernation, but diving into hibernation with a unit study in the thick of winter just makes sense. It's natural learning. And, typically, it's the learning that kids can remember better and longer because it has context.

If you're looking for some fun unit study ideas to explore this winter, you can start with these five. I'm sharing books and website links that you can use in your study. If you've never created your own unit study, don't worry. It's really simple. This post has more information as well as a printable guide to get you started. I'm also sharing a few pre-made winter unit studies at the end of the post, so if you don't have the time- or desire- to plan your own, check out some of those.

Learn about winter for kids
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Hibernation

Animals are almost a favorite subject of kids. So it's fun to talk about hibernation in the winter. What animals hibernate? When do they hibernate? And, what exactly is hibernation?

Links

 BrainPop Jr. has a great (free) video about hibernation, along with a quiz, game, and other activities.

This article from Home Science Tools can help you and the kids to understand hibernation better.

Science Made Simple has a page about the different ways that animals cope with the winter- including hibernation. There's also an easy reader version at the bottom of the article, so kids can read it for themselves.

This page is mostly about bear hibernation, but it has some good information and photos.

Booklist

Animals in Winter by Henrietta Bancroft and Richard G. Van Gelder

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

Time to Sleep by Denise Fleming

Hibernation Station by Michelle Meadows

The Animals' Winter Sleep by Lynda Graham-Barber

Snow

We don't often get much of the white stuff around here. That's really okay with me. But my kids and most kids seem to love the snow, so it makes for a fun unit study.

Links

Science Kids has fun snow facts for kids.

The National Snow and Ice Data Center (I never knew there was such a thing!) has all kinds of information about snow- what it is, how it forms. You can also check out all the links on the side of the page for more about snow.

Teacher Planet has a whole page of (free) snow goodies, including lesson plans and printables.

And, if you don't have much snow, you can make your own with only two main ingredients!

Booklist

Snow! by P.D. Eastman

Snow by Uri Shulevitz

The Story of Snow by Mark Cassino

Snow by Cynthia Rylant

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Polar Bears

Polar bears aren't only around in the winter, of course, but the fact that they live in snow and ice makes them a fun topic for winter-themed learning.

Links

Follow the links on the Polar Bear International site to learn all about polar bears- where they live and what they're like.

National Geographic Kids has this page with information about and photos of polar bears.

Defenders of Wildlife has an online fact sheet about polar bears.

Kidzone has some great polar bear information, including nice photos, a map, and (free) printables.

All Things Animal TV has this video about polar bears.

Booklist

If I Knew a Polar Bear by Karen Sutula

Ice Bear: Read and Wonder: In the Steps of the Polar Bear by Nicola Davies



Penguins

Like polar bears, penguins aren't only around in the winter. But they live in a cold and icy place and so are a great topic for a winter-themed unit study.

Links

Science Kids has these fun penguin facts.

National Geographic Kids has this page about Emperor Penguins. (There are more penguin links under the article.)

All Things Animal TV has a fun penguin video geared toward the younger set.

Kidzone has this page of penguin-themed activities. You'll find prinatble worksheets, notebooking pages, the penguin life cycle, and more.

Kids Play and Create has a whole page of amazing penguin facts.

Booklist

Penguins! by Gail Gibbons

The Emperor's Egg: Read and Wonder by Martin Jenkins

If You Were a Penguin by Florence Minor

Penguins (Smithsonian) by Seymour Simon

Penguins: The Ultimate Guide by Tui De Roy and Mark Jones

Weather

Weather is really a topic you can study year round. But, if your kids like to be on the "snow watch" like mine, winter is a fun time to study weather and all the types of winter weather you can watch for.

Links

On the Weather Wiz Kids site, you can learn all about common kinds of winter storms.

BrainPop Jr. has a (free) video and activities page about winter weather.

The National Severe Storms Laboratory has some great printable coloring and activity sheets for kids.

Web Weather for Kids has a page with information about all kinds of winter weather.

Booklist

Winter Wonderland by Jill Esbaum

Walking in a Winter Wonderland by Richard B. Smith and Felix Bernard

The Everything KIDS' Weather Book: From Tornadoes to Snowstorms, Puzzles, Games, and Facts That Make Weather for Kids Fun! by Joe Snedeker

Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?: All About Weather by Tish Rabe


PreMade Winter Unit Studies

Homeschool Share has a variety of free winter themed unit studies and lapbooks for different grade levels.

A Journey Through Learning has a Wonderful Winter Lapbook with Study Guide for grades 2-7. It covers a variety of winter topics, and I love A Journey Through Learning lapbooks because they are all self-contained. All you need to do the study is written in the study guide.



Whether you have tons of snow or no snow at all, I hope that you can your kids can have some winter fun- and learning- with these resources.


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