Wild Wonders: Adapting to Winter

Acorn Hunters

Tools:

  • Acorns and a partner

Before You Explore:

Tune in for a Read Aloud of “Over and Under the Snow” by Kate Messner with art by Christopher Silas Neal https://bit.ly/36zLw3m.

  • Where do animals go in winter?
  • Why do squirrels hide acorns for winter?
  • Once the acorns are hidden, how do squirrels find them again?

Watch “How Do Squirrels Find Their Nuts?” to learn more: https://bit.ly/findingnuts

Connect with Nature:

  • Gather your acorns, count how many you have and head outside with your partner.
  • You are squirrels hiding your acorns for winter! With your partner – hide all of your acorns outside in different spots. (Squirrels hide up to 10,000 acorns each year!)
  • Now comes the hard part…waiting. Leave your acorns for a few hours or a full day.
  • Next, return to your outdoor space and try to find all of your acorns.
  • How many did you find? 
  • Don’t worry if you didn’t find them all – they might turn into a little oak tree in the spring! 

Dive Deeper!

Squirrels do not hibernate, and regularly venture out to their food stores in winter. When they aren’t eating or hiding acorns, where do squirrels live?

Squirrels build two kinds of nests: leaf nests and tree cavity dens. Leaf nests are usually 20 feet or higher in a tree and tucked in the fork of a major tree branch, which helps to add stability and protection. They are different from birds’ nests because they’re much bigger. Leaf nests are constructed from twigs, leaves, moss and other material. 

Nest Hunt! Can you find a squirrel’s nest in your yard, neighborhood, or on a local trail?


Animal Superpowers

Tools:

Before You Explore:

What is Subnivean? “Sub” means below and “Nivean” comes from the latin word “nives,” which means snow. So “subnivean” means “beneath the snow”!

Check out this cool video about a subnivean explorer – https://bit.ly/subvineanzone

  • How do other animals survive in the winter?
  • How to you adapt in winter?

Animals are incredible at adapting to cold winter weather!

Read “How Do Animals Survive Winter?” here: https://bit.ly/adaptationsforwinter

Connect with Nature:

Doesn’t it seem as though some animals have superpowers? Dolphins sleep by resting only half of their brain at a time and some birds can migrate for thousands of miles without even stopping for food or rest! How amazing would it be if you had a superpower like some of these amazing animals? What would it be?

  • Gather your Animals Adaptation Olympics sheet and a partner (or a few family members) and let the games begin!
  • Challenge yourself and your team to try out each animal superpower and see who is the master of each animal skill!
  • Can you think of other animal superpowers to add to your Olympic games?

Dive Deeper!

Animal Super Powers: Check out this amazing winter hunter in action and learn more about it’s subnivean adaptations – https://bit.ly/2I6ny6m