Kids Craic: Brrrr … Are You a Lover of Snow?
By Megan Lardie
As we look to February, it is the last full month of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. The cold and the snow usually have a good grasp on us here in the Midwest and Eastern parts of the United States. For lovers of winter, this means skiing, snowboarding, and sled riding in the fresh snow.
For kids (and teachers), there is always the hope of a few snow days here or there! We look to Punxsutawney Phil on Groundhog Day to advise us on whether we will have another long six weeks of winter weather, or will springtime arrive early.
Do you love snow? Snowflakes are a true miracle of nature. Each snowflake is an ice crystal that, once a certain size, falls through the Earth’s atmosphere as snow. Each flake gathers around a dust particle in air masses by attracting supercooled cloud water droplets, which freeze and form a crystal.
The unique shapes come about as the flake moves through different temperatures and different levels of humidity zones in the atmosphere. That sounds like a complex process for each flake, and when we get a snowstorm, think about how many flakes go through that process and pile up in your yard! Nature is truly amazing!
We might never have noticed the uniqueness of snowflakes if it were not for Wilson Bentley. As a teenager, growing up on a farm in Vermont, Bentley was fascinated by snowflakes. He studied the snowflakes through a microscope and tried to draw pictures of them. This proved difficult, because the snowflakes were so detailed, and they melted before he could finish his drawings.
After much trial and error, Bentley was able to photograph his first snowflake on a blackboard in 1885! Over time, he improved his technique for photographing snowflakes by using black velvet. During his lifetime, he photographed over 5,000 images of snowflakes.
Winter in Ireland
When you look at a map, have you ever noticed that Ireland is farther north than the United States? During the winter, Ireland has a warmer average temperature and rarely gets snow. But Ireland would probably not make a list of great getaway places for a break from our harsh winters.
Although the temperature is milder than the Midwest, depending on what part of Ireland you are in, but with the rain, it often feels much colder. On the west coast of Ireland, the wind can be wicked during February.
When a blizzard hits the Midwest and then travels on to the East Coast, most people stop paying any attention to the storm after it leaves the United States. But the storms usually continue across the Atlantic Ocean and can affect the weather in Ireland! These storms can really cause dangerous conditions. Even though February is not the best time to visit, Ireland is a beautiful country no matter when you go!
Whether you love winter or not, there are tons of fun things to do during February! Check out your local library for all kinds of activities indoor or out. Nature centers always have programs where you can learn about how animals survive during these cold days and nights. February is also a great time to take advantage of warm nights spent at home. You can always find new games to play as a family or even start your own cooking club or book club with your family or with friends!
Kids in the Kitchen
Chicken Nugget/Tender Charcuterie Board
Any fruits or vegetable you like
Any cheese you like
Popcorn, pretzels, or crackers
Sauces for nuggets/tenders
Toothpicks or popsicle sticks
Cook nuggets/tenders according to package instructions.
Assemble the board by adding popcorn, pretzels, fruit, vegetables, cheese, and sauces.
Once the chicken is cooked and cooled a bit, add it to the board. Enjoy!
Snowflake Bentley by Jacqueline Briggs Martin
Each snowflake is a tiny six-pointed crystal of beautiful ice. Growing up in Vermont, Wilson Bentley thought snowflakes were small miracles. He was determined to capture the wonder of these crystals on his camera and share them with others. In this nonfiction book, Wilson’s story gives children a look into his soul of a scientist’s vision and passion for the wonders of nature.
Snowflakes in Photographs by W.A. Bentley
In 1931, the American Meteorological Society gathered the best of Bentley’s photos and had them published. These are amazing photographs!
Gab in Gaelic
It is cold today. = Tá sé fuar go leor inniu (pron. Taw shay foor guh lore inn-u)