by Megan Mora Fuentes

This time of year, pine trees dominate the landscape with their deep green color, sometimes the only things that look alive among all of the other dormant trees and plants. But how do they keep their color–and their needles–through the cold winter months–and why? Check out this article for some fun ways to incorporate a pine tree nature study into your winter homeschool.

Winter Evergreen

Pine trees are a large group of coniferous trees and shrubs which grow throughout the world. You can find a number of interesting facts about the different species of pine trees common in the U.S., as well as pictures and identification guides, at 8billiontrees.

Pine trees are easy to spot in the colder months, since they are some of the only trees and shrubs that don’t change color and shed their leaves in the fall. But why not? Earthsky has a great explanation for why and how some trees don’t need to shed their leaves to survive through the winter and in colder, darker climates.

Health Benefits From Winter

Pine trees offer a host of environmental benefits, from helping prevent and control soil erosion to offering protection, shelter, and food to a variety of plant and animal wildlife. We use pine in a variety of medicines, cleaning products, and wooden furniture and construction. Learn more about these fascinating uses for pine here.

Incorporating nature walks into your winter homeschool offers you the opportunity to observe pine trees in their natural environment and examine some of the ways they interact with and improve it. Check out this Homeschool Living for a guide for taking advantage of the learning opportunities you can find during a family nature walk.

Winter Activity & Crafting With Cones

What are pinecones anyway? Essentially, they serve as protective cases for the seeds and pollen of pine trees, and they’re very good at it! Check out this pinecone experiment from Scientific American to discover how pinecones adapt to their environment to protect their cargo.

If you have a pine tree or two in your yard–or even close to your yard!–you probably have a gold mine of pinecones laying around for your use. Check out these adorable pinecone crafts to share with your kids on a chilly winter day.

About Megan

A homeschool graduate, Megan earned her associate degree while in high school. She has worked as an office manager for eight years. In her spare time, Megan enjoys kayaking, writing, and baking cookies for anyone who will eat them. She and her husband live in her hometown of Winchester.

This article was originally published on on January 24, 2024. Reprinted with permission.