But given that you and the family are safe, you can study weather maps and learn where your weather comes from. What is "upstream" and how do meteorologists forecast the weather? Then make a weather station, putting out rain gauges, barometer, and digital or old-fashioned thermometers. For ideas and tips, see Franklin's Forecast. This can be as simple as a clear plastic container to collect rain and snow.
Look at the collected rain under the microscope. Anything living in it? Each raindrop - and snowflake - has a piece of dirt in it. Look for them under the microscope. Test the pH by using a pH test from science supply stores or basic science kits, or make your own indicator using beet juice.
If you're like me, you miss gardening this time of year. In some warmer climates, like Los Angeles, you might even have a garden right now. Plant some seeds whenever you can! Here in Colorado it has been dry and warm, though it has gone below freezing a few times at night. The kids wanted to plant seeds, so I gave them some of the orach seeds I saved from last fall, and they planted them in an empty planter box. They can handle the freezes, and will sprout in the spring. Or if you are stuck inside, try a kit like this one that lets you grow root veggies and see how they grow. Make your own root view box by following these directions. Or start some winter sowing. This is a great way to start perennials in winter.
We've also been able to get outside a lot - biking, walking, and playing in the dirt. We've been enjoying the winter animals; we've seen geese, bison, hawks, and jackrabbits, to name a few. If you don't have any local nature areas you like to visit, take some time to identify a few using google. Just search "greenspace" or "nature area" and the name of your town. Make it a family project to see your local nature areas in all kinds of weather.
If it's snowing where you are, bring sleds and snowshoes and head outside. Some outdoor stores and rec centers rent snowshoes and skis - the student outdoor center at my college rented them cheaply to students. This is a good way to try a sport without going broke.
Whether you get outside or observe nature from the warmth of the house, encourage lots of drawing. Get some magnifying lenses and a loupe to look at brown leaves, ice crystals, and bug carcases. Then draw what you see. Check out The Private Eye for ideas.
Another great resource for year-round nature study is the fabulous book For the Birds by Anne Schmauss, Mary Schmauss and Geni Krolick. It gives month-by-month tips for attracting wild birds to your yard - and keeping squirrels off the bird feeder! I've become a wild-bird hobbyist thanks to this book.Look for it at your local independent bookstore.
Enjoy the winter gifts of the land, wherever you may live!