The Long Winter Unit Study

If you are building a Winter Unit Study you have to include Laura Ingalls Wilder’s The Long Winter. Even if you don’t live where it snows, and blizzards are a far off idea to your children this story will help make them a little more real to them. It makes a wonderful read-aloud and you can add many activities to create a full-on unit study with everything from art and history to geography and science. The Long Winter book unit study that I have for you to complete are fun and simple.

Learn how to plan unit studies with these unit study ideas.

The Long Winter Unit Study

I’ve also included additional ideas that you might enjoy to add even more to The Long Winter Unit Study.

The Long Winter Unit Study

Hot Glue Icicles

You will need:

  • Wood skewers
  • Hot glue gun/glue sticks
  • School glue
  • glitter

the long winter book based activites

    Heat up your glue gun until ready, older children may be able to do this themselves but you will need to do this portion for your younger children.
    Clip 3” lengths of wire for as many icicles as you would like to make, set aside.
    You can either begin with short skewers or cut long ones in half.
    Hold skewer up by one end and a few inches below your fingers begin adding glue by twirling the stick and layering them so that it is thicker at the top and drops into a smaller point, like a real icicle would. Allow it to cool.

    Related- 100 Ideas for a Winter Unit Study

    Grab icicle at the opposite end now and add glue to the top where you were holding it before.
    Before glue cools and hardens slip one of your previously cut bent wires into the top to make a hanger.
    Lay icicle down on foil or waxed paper and let it completely harden.
    Repeat as many times as you like.
    “Paint” each icicle lightly with slightly watered down glue.
    Roll wet icicles in glitter to coat.

    The Long Winter Unit Study
    Lay on waxed paper/foil to dry.
    Once completely dry you can add your icicles to a string to make a swag for your winter fireplace, hang them in the window, or add them to packages for a sweet little sparkle!

    The Long Winter book based activities

    Snowball Math book based activity

    This is a quick and easy math game that you can throw together in just a few minutes with a few basic items. Children can practice one to one correspondence, skip counting, simple addition or multiplication, and to learn arrays.

    You will need:

        • White pompoms
        • White construction paper
        • A black marker


    Use a cup or other small circle shape to trace circles onto white construction paper, add numbers 0- whatever your child is working on. Be sure to use +, -, =, x, and % symbols.

    Cut them all out to make a pile of “snowballs”.

    Create math problems for your child to solve using the snowballs and white pompoms for manipulatives if needed.

    The Long Winter Unit Study

    Blizzard in a Jar book based activity

    In The Long Winter, families are stuck in the house for very long periods due to the heavy snow and blizzards. It is definitely hard for our kids to image the limited light, entertainment, and how closed off from the world everyone was at these times.  Living in a warmer climate it is truly difficult for my kid to understand how a blizzard even works or what it looks like. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to include a little science into the study with some fun!

    You will need:

        • A smooth glass jar with a lid
        • Baby oil
        • 1/4 cup water
        • 1 tsp. White paint
        • glitter-optional

    ( I was able to get all the supplies for this project at Dollar Tree)


    Fill jar ¾ of the way full with baby oil.

    The Long Winter book based activities

    Add a little clear or silver glitter, or even blue glitter for contrast.

    Mix together water and paint well.

    Pour the water mixture carefully into the jar and wait for the paint and glitter to settle at the bottom, leave a few inches for the action.The Long Winter Unit Study

    Once everything has settled break your Alka Seltzer tablet into 3 or 4 pieces and drop them in.

    Watch what happens, the “snow” begins to act like a lava lamp, rising and falling.

     This project demonstrates how oil and water stay separate, and also shows that when sodium bicarbonate and citric acid (Alka Seltzer) are placed in water they are activated. The bubbles rise up carrying some of the paint and glitter with them. When the carbon dioxide is released into the air the bubble is gone and the paint and glitter fall back down to the bottom.

    No need to toss this out when you are done, leave everything in the jar, replace the lid, and put it away until next time. You can continue adding alka seltzer and you will get a blizzard every time!

    The Long Winter Unit Study

    Finally, I love including a recipe in every unit study when possible, cooking has so many benefits for kids! Manzo and his brother Royal feast on pancakes in The Long Winter to keep them full during the blizzard. Try this Simple Pancake Recipe with your kids to round out your study.

    Try a few of these additional activities in your unit study

        • Crumple white paper or purchase plush snowballs to use for a pretend snowball fight, create a game of points where the basket for tossing them into gets progressively harder and higher in points.
        • If there is no snow in your area take a quick drive to somewhere to enjoy the snow for a day or two if you can.
        • Make paper snowflakes from white coffee filters.
        • Draw the life cycle of a snowflake on a blackboard with white chalk.

    Snowflake Pancake Recipe

    In The Long Winter Almanzo and his brother royal survived with low food rations by making pancakes from the seed wheat he was going to use to plant his field the next summer.  We aren’t gonna go hunting down buckwheat but it did make a great opportunity to get the kids in the kitchen with a simple recipe.

    snowflake pancake recipe

    You will need to make Snowflake pancakes:

        • 1 cup all-purpose flour
        • 1 cup milk
        • 2 Tablespoons melted butter or oil
        • 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
        • 2 teaspoons baking soda
        • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
        • 1 teaspoon of salt
        • 1 egg, large

    snowflake pancake recipe ingredients

    How to make Snowflake pancakes:

        1. Keep this really simple for your littles by putting all ingredients in a quart-sized mason jar, pop the lid and ring on and have them shake and shake until all ingredients are very well mixed. After mixing the basic ingredients you can add whatever other additions you would like-blueberries, nuts, chocolate chips, etc… Give it a quick shake again.
        2. Spray pan or griddle surface with nonstick cooking spray.
        3. Heat on medium-high.
        4. When the surface is ready, pour out the mixture to make whatever size pancakes you like. We made ours a little larger so we could use a cookie cutter after they were done the cooking. ( Mom get’s to eat the leftover misshapen bits, lol)
        5. Lightly brown on each side, remove from pan. They are usually ready to flip when you see lots of bubbles in the batter.
        6. Enjoy as-is or use a cookie cutter to make fun shapes as we did here with this snowflake cookie cutter.

    easy snowflake pancake recipe shape

    7. Serve hot with plenty of butter and maple syrup.

    Add a few more fun hands on items to your The Long Winter Unit study to make it even more fun!

    Fake Snow

    Snowflake Mold

    Snowflake Cookie Cutter

    Toy Snowballs

    Add in a little sensory fun with Build a Snowman Playdough 

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