The days sure are getting short since the Winter Solstice is only 26 days a way! Have you been enjoying the increased darkness? I like to celebrate and appreciate the short day of Winter Solstice time as much as I do the long day of the Summer Solstice. There is just something so cozy about the day ending early and the longest night snuggling in.
This year, shift children’s attention to nature for a bit by making Winter Solstice cards using natural items to prompt the design. The other seasonal holidays get so much attention that Mother Nature can get pushed to the background.
Making Solstice greeting cards or invitation cards for a Solstice party brings a focus back to the seasonal wonders and shifts happening around us to which we may or may not be consciously aware, but our bodies are designed to respond.
As you gather materials to create the cards, invite conversation on observations of nature’s winter changes and what the children appreciate about the seasonal change.
What creatures are they seeing or not seeing?
What plants are different and how and why?
How does shorter daylight make them feel?
How does longer dark times make them feel?
What have they seen that they don’t understand and how could they learn more?
How do they think our ancestors celebrated the short days?
How would they like to celebrate the short days with their classroom community, family, and friends?
Depending on the age of the children you are working with, this project could easily be done in 2 sessions. 1 day to go out and collect and the 2nd to make the cards.
If you are working with older children, use the resources below to help them research winter solstice and write thoughtful winter season card inscriptions that celebrate darkness and the history of humans in the winter season.
This nature item prompt idea can also be used in their nature journals. Just have the students choose 1 item to tape in and use as a prompt for writing, research, or drawing!
Wonder Wednesday #27:
Winter Solstice Nature Cards
Paper. Can be construction, drawing, card stock, or lightweight watercolor paper in whatever wintery colors you like. Paper a little sturdier than copy paper is best because it needs to support the weight of the items you will be attaching.
Tape. I like to use washi tape because it is fun and comes in so many themes, but feel free to use clear tape or any other tape you like.
Bags or baskets for collecting nature items.
Drawing pencils, pens, markers or crayons.
Optional: watercolor paint and glitter.
Optional: Envelopes. I like the 5 3/4 x 8/34 ivory ones. You can get these at any office supply store.
Cut the paper in half, generally, assuming it is standard 8 1/2 x 11. If it is bigger and you are using envelopes, make sure you cut it to fit the envelope once folded in half.
Fold the papers in half into cards.
Set up workspaces with tape and the art supplies you are choosing to use.
Take the children, with collection bags or baskets, out into nature or the garden to collect natural items that they want to use for their Solstice card.
Once back inside and ready to make the cards, explain to the children that they will be attaching a few of the natural items they collected as prompts to inspire drawing, not all of them.
Encourage them to keep the cards fairly 2D so they will be cards rather than sculptures.
If you are doing this in art class, you could explain that these cards will be a mixed media collage. Mixed media is when an artist combines materials and techniques to create a single work.
You may want to show them an example of a card you previously made.
Give each child a folded paper card.
Let the children create beautiful nature inspired covers to their cards. They may choose to add words on the cover or not.
Depending on your particular children or students, either before the card art work is designed or after, have the children write a prompt you provide such as Happy Winter Solstice, details for a Solstice party invite, or a thoughtful message created from Winter Solstice research or personal feelings or poems they created about the season.
If you will be using envelopes, teach the children how to address an envelope. Surprisingly my 1st and 2nd graders never knew this skill when they came to me.
About a week before the Solstice, pop them in the mail or send them home to honor and celebrate the season!
What are your favorite things about the longer nights?
Tell us in the comments below!
Share your Winter Solstice cards and celebration pics on Instagram #wingswormsandwonder
Seeds to Sprout:
Learn some facts about the Winter Solstice at Earthsky.org
A little history on the Winter Solstice from National Geographic
Did you see this post I wrote on the Winter Solstice in 2012? It’s chock full overflowing with crafts, stories, and all kinds of fun Solstice inspired projects and celebration ideas! Use it to plan your Winter Solstice celebration today!
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