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Heading into Winter: Understanding the Seasons

As the weather changes and temperatures drop, it’s a good time to discuss the four seasons with your child. 

There are so many fun and creative activities you can do with children to help them to understand and recognise the four seasons of the year – whether it’s going on a walk and collecting autumn leaves, or tracking what time the sun sets in the evening. 

Explaining the seasons

Although the seasons are very visual and engaging, it can be a strange concept for children to grasp initially. Breaking down the facts into bite size information is often helpful to make it easier to understand. Here are some key points to help make things clearer to curious minds:

  • The moon moves around the earth each day, and together the moon and the earth move around the sun in the course of the year. (You can discuss here how many days in a year).
  • Describing the earth, sun and moon moving together can help to explain the concepts of both day and night, as well as the four seasons: spring, summer, autumn and winter.
  • For children who learn visually or who like to use objects to solidify concepts, you could get three different circular objects such as different coloured balls (use everyday items like apples and oranges if you don’t have these) and get them to move them around themselves.
  • Discuss how people living in the northern hemisphere have their seasons at the opposite time of the year. This means that Christmas is usually cold and snowy whereas July is the middle of summer. 

Outdoor Activities 

There’s no better way to explore the changing seasons than by getting into nature. Whatever the weather, getting outside with children is a healthy and exciting activity for them to do. 

There’s so much to see and do in nature’s playground – whether it’s splashing in puddles on a rainy day, spending time at the beach collecting shells or collecting fallen leaves at the park.

Treasure hunts are always a favourite so try writing a list of commonly found objects such as a feather and a stick for your children to look for. 

You could also take a pad of papers and some crayons for them to draw what they see. For keen bug spotters, try out a children’s magnifying glass or a book to help them identify things that they find. 

Indoor Activities

Children love arts and crafts and using natural materials is a brilliant way to engage them with the seasons and the natural world. 

As well as the modelling of the sun, moon and earth to understand the science behind the seasons, you could also try drawing charts with the four seasons or the twelve months of the year. Challenge your child to create a symbol for each season – whether that’s a brown leaf for autumn or a raindrop for winter. 

Look out of the window. This is such a simple activity but children love it and it’s ideal for a rainy day or when it’s too cold to get outside. Ask your child questions about what they can see including where the sun is, whether the moon is out, what colour the leaves on the trees are and if they can spot any animals feeding or climbing trees.