By Michelle Mady
The winter months can be cold and harsh, especially for young children. It only gets tougher when the snow and ice arrive, adding wetness to that already-frigid air. BRR! Even thinking of that makes me shiver. Taking my kids outside to enjoy the snowy weather? That is a task I don’t look forward to each year.
Taking my kids outside to enjoy the snowy weather? That is a task I don’t look forward to each year.
I happen to have a snow-loving child who can’t get enough of snow play. Last winter, as I was shivering at the door, wondering how many more minutes I could stay out before calling it, I looked up and saw my child taking OFF HER HAT!
What? How? Why? It is actively snowing and 20 degrees outside. Now that hat is somewhere deep in a snow pile, and I am not looking forward to digging it out any time soon. On top of spending a half hour getting on that gear to last just a few minutes - it just doesn’t seem worth it.
Luckily, I have learned from my mistakes and am happy to spare you of your next cold weather meltdown (from either you or your child!).
DRESS IN LAYERS
This might sound obvious, but the game changer for me was to make pajamas one of those layers. Use clothing that is out of style, or maybe leggings that are just a little too short. Keep these clothes with the rest of the winter gear so that there isn’t a search for snow friendly clothing when your 4 year old comes down in her Elsa dress.
UNDRESS IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM
It IS worth the snowy trek from my back door to my laundry room! Sometimes I put down a path of towels for them to walk on to the laundry room. They get undressed right there and anything that needs to go in the wash goes right in. Have fresh PJ’s warming in the dryer ready to change into. This contains the mess and gets them warm quickly to minimize time to remember how cold they are!
SAVE THE BEST FOR LATER
We all know how amazingly warm high-end outdoor gear keeps your warm. A long walk, hike, or vacation in the mountains just isn’t the same without my fancy hat and mittens. Have you ever lost one of those mittens that you bought your child? I have, and I remember looking at the calendar to see if we could make it through winter without replacing them.
To save your sanity, and wallet, don’t use those items during snow play. Hats fly off as heads get sweaty on the sledding slopes. Mittens come off, or become the property of Frosty in your yard. Use dollar store hats and gloves for typical outdoor play. I double layer our dollar store gloves so the top layer can handle the snow and the bottom layer keeps fingers warm.
USE WHAT YOU HAVE
You can buy all the best snow play toys and sleds, but my girls have mostly enjoyed playing with their Playdough toys in the snow. I also give them a spray bottle with water colored with food coloring. They create some art, make some prints and have also enjoyed sledding on a piece of cardboard when their fancy sleds just didn’t make it down the hill.
Having fun outside in the snow can seem overwhelming, especially if you are anything like me and would rather be curled up on the couch with some cocoa. However, with minimal supplies and a little preparation, everyone can have a meltdown-free (or at least minimal) time in the snow.
About the author: Michelle is a mom of 5 children ranging in age from 5 to 15. As a toddler and preschool teacher, she shares experiences, activities and guidance to other parents, as both a parent and as a professional early childhood educator, at any stage of their parenting journey.