Winter is a perfect time to discuss seasons; plan cosy indoor activities; write about the rain and warm up your students with a few interesting animal facts. Read about the winter habits of some Aussie animals and other classroom winter ideas.
We have included a selection of few winter themed free activity sheets to help educators keep your students busy; making lesson planning a breeze for rainy days. These winter themed activities suit most primary year levels.
Sleepy Australian Animals
What is hibernation?
Hibernation is a survival mechanism. When the weather is extremely cold and food resources are low, some very clever animals will hibernate and go into a deep sleep through winter.
Not many animals in Australia hibernate, our winter lows do not often fall below freezing point. One Aussie animal that likes to tuck itself away is the echidna. This fascinating native mammal has a low body metabolism and will easily slip into a deep sleep to conserve energy through the winter chill. It is interesting to know that the Australian koala does not hibernate. Koalas are generally observed as sleepy throughout all the seasons!
Activity Idea: Have a class discussion on other animals that hibernate through the winter in Australia and around the globe.
When winter kicks in and the rain is plenty, many of us will hear the increase of ‘bonk-bonk’ , ‘crok-crok’ and ‘ribbit’ sounds as our little green backyard friends enjoy the wetter season. Frogs love the rain! You can find them in all sorts of wet backyard nooks in the winter. Just follow the ‘ribbit’.
Activity Idea:If students have access to a recording device. Allocate an evening homework task to record the local frogs. As a class you might be able to identify the species. Recommended resource: Frogs: Awesome Amphibians by Sally Murphy.
Whales and Migration
Another animal with a special winter behaviour is the humpback whale. Australian humpback whales spend part of their lives down south in Antarctica and migrate north to the Great Barrier Reef or to the top of Western Australia when the water gets too cold. One of the reasons whales migrate is they have too much fat on them while baby whales have too little. In the winter the babies would be too cold so the whales travel to the warmer waters. Taken from The Humpback Whale: A Very Special Mammal & The Humpback Whale Activity Book by Margaret Etherton.
Activity Idea: What is the difference between the Southern hemisphere and the Northern hemisphere? Bring out the world globe and demonstrate the Earth’s tilt. The Earth’s tilt is the reason for the seasons. If winter is happening in Australia, the Southern hemisphere must be tilted away from the Sun. Humpback whales in the Northern hemisphere do everything in the opposite direction to the ones around Australia.
More Classroom Winter Ideas
- Observe the weather by making a wind vane or a rain gauge then monitor the weather for a week. Download your free weather log chart from The Practical Science Series.
- How does your school access, use and save one of Earth’s most precious resources – water? The winter rain is an ideal time for your students to learn about the water cycle. Download ‘The Water Cycle Activity Sheet’ from Junior Scientists Book 2 by Yolanda Cool.
- Stay indoors and challenge your students to create a winter scene, like ‘Ship on a Stormy Sea Activity Sheet’ from 40 Sure-Fire Art Lessons by Paul Larkin. Download the free activity sheet.
- Learn and recite a poem about puddles and rain. ‘The Paper Boat – Poem and Activity Sheet’ (from The English Series: Foundation by Yolanda Cool ) is available here. A perfect assembly piece for your classroom!