Eight Great Books to Support Nature-Based Learning in January

Wonderkin | Eight Great Books to Support Nature-Based Learning in January

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In our neck of the woods we tend to get our first real snows in January, so it's the perfect time to pull out books that capture the magic of snowfall from a range of perspectives. I find that the richest learning occurs when children are presented with a combination of fact and fiction, helping deepen their naturalist knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts while also providing fodder for creative exploration and thematic dramatic play. These eight great books do just that..


1. Grandmother Winter by Phyllis Root

This charming story describes how Grandmother Winter tends to her flock of geese all spring, summer, and fall, gathering their feathers for a quilt that, when she shakes it in the winter, brings the first snowfall. I love myths and folktales that offer creative explanations for natural occurrences for the simple reason that they provoke children to think more critically about why things happen, and can provide a natural gateway into more scientific learning and exploration.


2. Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

As a girl and her father go cross country skiing they encounter animals above the snow, as well as signs of the "secret world" underneath. This book fits perfectly with learning about how different types of animals survive the winter and emphasizes the rewards of careful, quiet observation of the natural world. 


3. Snowballs by Lois Elhert

Lois Elhert's collage-style illustrations composed of found objects are always a winner with children, who love identifying the various elements, and this simple story about building a family of snow people is no exception. It's bound to spark out-of-the-box thinking and inspire children to create some snow art of their own. 


4. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

This book is a classic for a reason - it perfectly captures childlike wonder and excitement at the first snow, and the bold, colorful illustrations keep even the youngest readers engaged. 


5. Big Tracks, Little Tracks: Following Animal Prints by Millicent E. Selsam

Children love playing "detective," and searching for tracks and other animal signs in the snow seems to be a universally exciting activity for little ones. This book, featured in the Wonderkin Animal Tracks Box, is packed with important factual information, all presented in an interactive and engaging way.


6. Trouble with Trolls by Jan Brett

Nature play makes for independent, confident children. They're sure to resonate with Treva, the heroine of this story, who manages to trickily outsmart a bunch of mischievous trolls while hiking alone in the mountains with her trusty dog. The illustrations are so rich that children are likely to want to spend time admiring them up close and noticing all the hidden touches and intricate details. 


7. When It Starts to Snow by Phillis Gershator

This sweet rhyming text looks at the ways different animals react when snow begins to fall. With a repeating structure that encourages listener participation, this one is perfect for read alouds.


8. Snow is Falling by Dr. Franklyn M. Branley

Dig in to the science of snow in this accessible but information-packed book. At the end of the text you’ll find two snow science experiments to try out, as well as a list of additional resources for further study.


Enjoyed this post? You're in luck!  I’ll be sharing monthly round-ups of high-quality picture books to support nature-based early childhood learning all year long. Be sure to sign up for our newsletter to ensure you never miss out on new content.