Since the Christmas season can bring along busy days and sometimes cold weather, it can be difficult to incorporate nature study into your homeschooling routine. I’ve created a list of Christmas nature study books that will help you bring new and inviting ideas to the table without tons of effort.
Each book description gives you an idea of how to use these books as living literature resources. Hopefully, they will spark curiosity and a hunger for learning. How could they not! Especially when the first story on the list includes a yummy cookie recipe!
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Christmas Nature Study Books
This classic story comes with an incredible recipe for cranberry cookies and an even better story about friendship. Use the book as a jumping off point to take a nature walk to hunt for some berries. Several plants in the wild still have berries in December! After you have read and explored, whip up a batch of cookies and deliver to someone to brighten their day.
Every year, Frankie’s dad brings oranges to the children for Christmas, but when there is a bad storm with a ton of snow, it looks like his dad won’t make it in time. This is a wonderful story that reflects on the meaning of Christmas and simple gifts that come with a meaning. If you live in an area that gets snow, use this book to show how powerful the weather can be. It’s also a cornerstone to the introduction of the life of an orange.
The Legend of the Christmas Tree is a story that tells the history of Christmas trees through various eras and how it was used to teach people about God. I love to use this book as a kick-off resource to learn about conifers.
The critters in the forest are hungry during the winter months. With little food available to eat, a family decorates a tree with apples, popcorn, sunflower-seed balls and more. This story of a yummy gift to the creatures in the forest can be used as a resource to start the discussion of how animals cope in the winter. You might take a nature walk to notice the food that is available to the animals. Of course, you can follow the example from the book and create your own Christmas gift of food for the animals, too.
Follow the story of Bramble, Heather, Windswept, Lichen, Snowball, Crag, Twilight, and Tundra, who just so happen to be Santa’s reindeer. Teeka is given the task of rounding up the reindeer by Christmas after their year long stay on the tundra. She starts off by yelling demands at the reindeer, but soon finds that her tactics are not working. This book can be used to jumpstart a study of wild reindeer or to discover wild animals in your area.
This is a wonderful story that demonstrates hard work, patience, and working together as a family. It’s also a great book to use as living literature resource to discover the abundance of creatures that live in the sea. While scallops are the focus of this story, if you have a chance to visit the ocean for a nature walk, you will see that there is a lot more to discover. If you don’t have access to the beach, a quick internet study of scallops can “count” for nature study.
When Lucinda only has handfuls of weeds to give baby Jesus, she feels discouraged. But, only until she is met with a gift that is known as the miraculous blooming of the first poinsettias. Of course, this is a great time of year to bring a poinsettia into your home for observation. You can also take a walk to find winter plants growing in your area, or even the remains of bygone plants.
According to their Christmas tradition, a family is in charge of finding and cutting down the town’s Christmas tree. When the father doesn’t return in time, the daughter and mother are responsible for providing the tree without his help. If your family cuts a tree down for Christmas, this is the perfect family read before you head out. Otherwise, it’s another great book to kick off a study of conifers.
Jonathan Toomey is a wonderful woodcarver who also happens to be very gruff. That is, until his heart melts little by little through the unlikely friendship of a young boy and his mother. It’s a slight stretch to go from woodcarving to nature study, but you could certainly use the book as inspiration before a walk to observe tree trunks, limbs, and other interesting features of deciduous trees in late autumn and winter.
Lizzie and her grandfather spend an enchanting Christmas Eve camping on a snowy mountaintop as part of a worrisome search for grandfather’s beloved, missing dog. The book touches on several varied nature topics – snow, hiking, dogs, deer, woodland scenes, and even an aurora. I like to use this book as a kickoff to a winter woodland trail hike during which we make as many new-to-us observations as possible.
This is a sweet story about a train that heads into needy Appalachian Mountain communities each Christmas season to bless the children with gifts. It’s a beautiful example of the difference Christmas giving can make in the lives of less fortunate children. I typically use the book just before we go shopping for our Angel Tree child. But, it can certainly be used just before a snowy walk since the scenes definitely depict just how cold the winter can be.
Cranberry Christmas (Cranberryport)An Orange for FrankieLegend of the Christmas Tree, TheNight TreeThe Wild Christmas ReindeerThe Scallop ChristmasThe Legend of the PoinsettiaThe Year of the Perfect Christmas Tree: An Appalachian Story (Picture Puffin Books)The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan ToomeySilver Packages: An Appalachian Christmas StoryGrandfather’s Christmas Camp
Christmas nature study books are a great way to incorporate the great outdoors during the winter. And lucky for us, they also come with a Christmas twist! A perfect way to celebrate the holiday.
Do you have any favorite Christmas nature study books to add to the list? Share them in the comments!
Nature Study Through the Holidays
If it’s not entirely too cold in your area to get outdoors a little this Advent season, I think you might enjoy this unique science curriculum that uses nature to help teach the story of Christmas. Nature Study Through the Holidays: Advent is an inexpensive way to settle into meaningful learning that points your children gently to the One whom Christmas is all about.
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