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  • Kim Bogren Owen

Footprints in the Snow and Disappearing Animals: Books About Animals in the Winter

"Mommy, whose footprints are these?"

"Where do the birds go when it snows?"

"Where are all the ladybugs?"

These are just a few of the questions children wonder about in winter. Help them explore the answers to these questions with these picture books about how animals survive winter.

Use When Winter Comes by Nancy Van Laan and Susan Gaber, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner and Christopher Silas Neal, and Under the Snow by Melissa Stewart and Constant R. Bergum to research what animals do in the winter. All three of these books investigate the multiple ways animals live in the winter. Compare and contrast the ways animals survive winter with what humans do. Add animal dress-ups and pretend foods for storing away, and blankets for creating nests, as well as places for "hibernating" using old boxes to your dramatic play materials.

For a poetic look at animals in winter read Winter by Ron Hirschi and Thomas D. Mangelsen. Then create your own animal poems, or go outside on an animal hunt to let your child take pictures of what they find.

In Tracks in the Snow by Wong Herbert Yee, a little girl follows footprints trying to find who made them. She keeps missing the animals in the forest around her, and, in the end, discovers the footprints are her own. Children will enjoy finding the animals she misses in the book, and afterwards, playing hide and seek with you by pretending to be animals hiding in the snow.

Both Whose Footprints by Masayuki Yabuuchi and Wild Tracks: A Guide to Nature's Footprints by Jim Arnosky examine different animal's footprints. These books provide children with a realistic look at animal footprints. Follow up by tracing footprints and cutting them out to put in the art area for children to make animal print collages. Go out and make footprints in the snow or (if you live where it doesn't snow) in the mud or sand. If you want, you can use Plaster of Paris to make casts of the footprints you make and find.

While outdoors investigate math concepts, such as counting, height, measuring, and length. Sizing Up Winter by Lizann Flatt and Ashley Barron has some great ideas for how to do this. Some of the math concepts, such as the page on time, are a little beyond the comprehension of preschoolers, but otherwise, this book is a nice introduction to several math concepts including counting, measuring, and comparing size.

As always, I hope you enjoy these recommendations. Feel free to share, with credit to Words Reflected and Kim Bogren Owen, on Facebook, your website, or in your newsletter. Please add your recommendations for additional books or activities about animals in the winter in the comments.

(This blog uses the Amazon affiliate program so when you click on the title and purchase through Amazon, you are supporting us! If you don't purchase through these links, please, be sure to support your local, independent bookstore or find them at your library!)

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