Frosty Winter trees with text for

Heart & Solstice

Take heart! ❤️ Welcome the new season and celebrate the returning light ☀️

The winter solstice marks the shortest day of sunlight in our hemisphere—after December 22, the days begin to get longer again!

We’ve planned a variety of programs and activities this season, and on this page you’ll learn to build an ice lantern, find the constellation Taurus, get ideas for winter hikes (including a winter nature bingo card to get you moving and searching!), and more. We invite you to learn and play with us!

Collage of people showing winter activity examples with pages noted

Winter Activities and Projects!

Check out our activities below, or use the button to download a packet of all the instructions!   Winter Activity Instructions

winter "bingo" board with images of outdoor items

Going outside into the sometimes bitter cold can challenging, but having something to search for can help! 

Here’s a little incentive to bundle up and get out there: A winter bingo—print or just save the image on your phone.

Take a walk through your neighborhood, hike a park, or visit the Bell Learning Landscape. How many of these markers of Minnesota winter can you find?

Share with us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter. Post a photo of you holding a completed bingo board (maybe a row, maybe the whole card!), or even a pic of one of the items you found, and tag it #BellOutside!

We’ll pick five randomly selected winners from submissions through January 3 to receive special gifts from the Bell. We can’t wait to see what you share!

SunCreate your own solar art! A solargraph combines art and science by using a pinhole camera and long-exposure photography to trace the Sun’s path across the sky over days, weeks, or months. Make your own pinhole camera out of photographic paper and everyday items.

The Curiosity Shop has a kit available for your solargraph activity! Call 612-433-3846 to place a curbside pickup order.

Solargraph Activity Page

Winter Astronomy Highlights

  • Find the bull!

    Finding the Constellation Taurus

    Have you ever seen an animal moving through the sky? Follow these steps or check out our Constellation Hunter video and to find Taurus the bull as it continues its travels across the sky this winter!

  • Brrrr 🥶

    Ice Giants

    Discover our solar system’s ice giants, Uranus and Neptune, found lurking in the depths of the sky this winter.

  • Live on Facebook on Dec. 21

    What is the Winter Solstice

    Join us Monday, December 21, at 4 pm, on Facebook Live for a live virtual Minnesota Night Skies program focused on the solstice and the amazing conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn (you do not need to have a Facebook account to watch).

    And check out this video anytime with planetarium educator Thaddeus LaCoursiere for some interesting facts about the Winter Solstice!

  • What's inside?

    VIDEO: Goldenrod Gall

    Have you ever seen these funny stems that look like there’s a marble or tiny ball trapped inside of them? Those little structures are called galls and it’s a defense mechanism of the plant in response to, in this case, a goldenrod gall fly egg 🥚 being laid in the stem!

  • See photos of these vintage kits!

    Explore our Vintage Science Toys

    We think you might enjoy this walk back in time exploring vintage science kits.

    Home science kits have been popular gifts for budding scientists for the last hundred years. Mixing, burning, testing, and exploring 🧪 were all encouraged as children were prompted to study science and build a brighter future.

  • Watch the video

    VIDEO: Land and Sky Meditation with artist Josh Winkler

    We are invited into a stunning moment of wintery reflection with this silent meditative video from resident artist Josh Winkler. We hope you’ll take a moment to watch the frost twinkle ✨ as the grass waves, with white sky above and icy land below. Breathe, let your eyes go soft, and reflect on your personal connection to the land and sky.