Are you thinking, “it’s too cold, it's March, where's spring?" Because I am right there with you. However, I am in Utah so we're a little more used to it, But still. When it is cold outside, all I really want to do is curl up in front of the fire with a warm blank, someone to snuggle, a good movie and some popcorn. However, thinking like can make winter really long and make for very bored children. Besides, it's quite rare that it’s too cold to get outside and get moving. There will always time to come back in and enjoy that warm toasty moment after a little physical exertion.
We, as parents, have to lead the charge on this one. If we don’t urge our kids to get outside on cold days, they won’t know what they are missing. Honestly every time we bring it up, at least one of our two children will whine for a bit about how cold it will be. But we keep pushing forward and working to get the family suited up for the elements. Being prepared really helps you achieve that victory. Here’s my preparedness list for heading outside when it’s cold.
- Accessories. Make sure you have all the necessary accessories to keep everyone warm: hats, gloves, snow pants, goggles, hand warmers…layers.
- Just plan to get outside. Don’t worry about what you’re going to do, just get out there even before making a concrete plan, unless of course you’re going skiing or snowshoeing. Often you’ll find more to do without a set schedule and have more fun.
- Use the facilities. Always go to the bathroom before stepping outside and have the kiddos do the same. If you don’t, the kids will come back in and never return because frankly it’s just too hard to get those layers on and off easily…don’t give them a chance to escape.
- Remember anything is possible. There are very few “no’s” when embarking on a wintery cold outside adventure. Take off your mommy hat and just let the kids have fun. Safe but fun!
Now, we move onto the plethora of possible activities, which as I stated should be discussed once outside. When kids are in the element, they can simply see the fun. Standing in the warm house, it's tough for them to cast an educated vote.
- Sledding. This is such a fun and easy activity that quickly turns into exercise. And the best part, you don’t need a formal sled. We have used a laundry basket many times. If you don’t have a big hill, create one by piling the snow up. You will be surprised how much the kids like to mold the snow. Snowy sandcastle anyone?! Don't have snow, slide, swing or race.
- Shoveling. They don’t have to know it is a chore. Some of my best workouts have involved shoveling the walk. In fact, I almost went into labor with Skye because of it. You can make it fun by creating a contest out of it: who can collect the “Biggest Pile” of snow. Don't have snow, try racking or bagging leaves. Picking up sticks. Same concepts apply. Everything becomes more fun when it’s a contest!
- Tag or hide and seek. These games can last quite a while and have room for strategy and fun.
- In colder climates:
- Make a snowman or snow angels, or both. Just moving around in snow is harder on the body and therefore burns off energy. So if the snow is falling or just fell, making a snowman can be a great family activity. And I just learned the proper way this year. You have to start with a small snowball and roll it around in the snow, packing down the new particles of snow so that the snowball picks up as you go. It creates the perfect ball!!! So fun!
- Skiing, skate skiing and snowshoeing are all amazing cold weather activities but require some equipment, skill and/or extra cash. If you have the means and the access, these are super fun family adventures that I highly recommend.
- *Notes to remember: Always pack snacks when heading away from home for any of these activities. The cold weather makes little kids and big kids SUPER hungry, really fast. And they tend to not feel thirsty as quickly, so be sure to take water breaks as well.
Now get out there and Have Fun…and Don’t be afraid of the cold!!!