Photo credit Ensoul Endearment Imagery
The months between winters can feel fleeting, but this year we were gifted endless days of sun all the way into a temperate fall. It’s as if the land knew that we were all struggling with isolation and needed nature’s respite. As a stay-at-home mom of two young children, I couldn’t rely on library programming and local events to break up our days, so the great outdoors became our sole destination.
Our kids need the outdoors
We picnicked daily, set a goal to visit every playground in town, and spent beautiful evenings running along the train berm. But with dropping temperatures, I’ll admit I feel the pull of hibernation. I am resisting it. Not for my sake, mind you. I could happily cozy up with a book and a glass of red for one season a year. No, I’m keeping the outdoors a priority for my children because children need the outdoors. Fresh air supports the immune system, eyes are made stronger by using them for distance, and children simply learn differently in a natural environment. But developmental reasons won’t get a little one out the door! So, I’m sharing my top five tips for encouraging kids to warm up to cold weather.
Dress your kids right for going outdoors in cold weather
Going heavy on the layers traps warmth and keeps outfitting flexible. A base layer should be moisture-wicking like poly, nylon or merino; the middle layer(s) are your warm ones, so think fleece or wool; and when there’s wind or snow, top it all with a coat that protects from both. As for mittens and toques, some people go the tech route, but old-fashioned wool is my favourite fibre because it naturally repels water and is an excellent insulator.
Give your children outside tasks
Whether you send the kids out in the yard to complete a scavenger hunt, do an on-the-fly eye-spy on a nature walk, or hold contests like races and snowball-making, children are always in it to win it. In making the cold weather fun, this is a win for you, too.
Bring the indoors (and toys) outside
Break out the pail and shovel, spray chalk, little wheelbarrow, and even that plastic bowling set that’s been kicking around the basement. Beach toys are the new leaf ‘n’ snow toys!
Take your kids on an adventure somewhere different
Playgrounds and the zoo are open year-round, there are trails galore to explore in the province, and tobogganing is always most fun on new hill. My kids’ eyes light up when I say we’re going somewhere special and they’re happy to bundle up for an adventure.
Be a role model & go outside with your kids when it’s cold
The biggest lesson for me in wanting my kids to enjoy the outdoors all year round is how they look to me as a model. Being a winter person doesn’t come naturally to me and I’m admittedly still growing my appreciation, but I mind my words about the cold and let my actions speak by going outside with them. This year, the kids will be old enough to be on skis and they’re both interested in skating so, I’ll see you at the hill and on the rink.