This past weekend a steady snowfall over a 27-hour period brought 12+ inches of snow to the Washington, D.C. area. The novelty of snow provides incentive for our kids to get outside and play, but there are plenty of gray days where below freezing temperatures make us want to stay inside. It’s always fun to binge on favorite shows and read books under blankets by a cozy fire but we also try to balance the indoor time with outside fun. This winter seize the opportunity to unplug a bit more and try something new! If you’re struggling with getting your kids to play outside in the winter, here are 7 strategies that might help. Keep reading for a chance to win a pair of Yaktrax® Run from YakTrax below!
7 Tips for Getting Kids to Play Outside in the Winter
Think About Winter Differently
We adults may not love winter because of the unpredictability of snow storms and slippery road conditions. The way we talk about winter impacts how our kids feel about it too and if we don’t love going outside, chances are they don’t either. Talk about winter differently in front of your kids. It’s ok to complain privately to your spouse but when kids are around, try to be positive. Snow can provide endless possibilities for outdoor play because it transforms the landscape they know into a true winter wonderland.
Lucky the TurfMutt, a rescue dog and the face of the TurfMutt environmental education and stewardship platform for kids in grades K-5, encourages parents to ask their kids how the landscape changes with the seasons. Such a question helps turn the season into a learning playtime. Talk about what happens after leaves fall, when snow arrives, when it’s windy, and more. Link these seasonal changes with basic science about clouds, rainfall, temperature changes and the earth to encourage meaningful STEM learning in all ages.
Make time to go outside and play together because it’s healthy for the whole family to enjoy fresh air and move. Channel your inner kid and have a snowball fight, build a snowman, help create a fort, go sledding, or take a winter walk at night around your neighborhood. Other family fun that encourages appreciation of the outdoors in all seasons includes skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing, hiking, ice fishing, ice skating, snow sculpting, and snowshoeing but you don’t have to go far or spend money to enjoy time outside during the winter months.
Make Sure They Have the Right Gear
Playing outside in the snow and trying new activities is always more successful when kids are outfitted with the right gear. Layers are essential for keeping kids warm when they’re outside for any length of time and depending on the temperature, wind chill, etc., you might want to add these to your cold weather gear arsenal:
- Synthetic base layer- Wicks sweat from their skin because dampness from melting snow or sweat against skin makes them cold
- Sweatshirt- Instead of a normal hoodie, opt for fleece or synthetic. My tween is a big fan of his UnderArmour Microfleece that’s the perfect weight for wearing under a jacket for warmth
- Ski coat & ski pants- The final layer of winter gear should insulate from the cold and repels snow to keep them dry and warm
- Wool socks- Our family loves SmartWool socks for keeping toes warm inside boots
- Waterproof snow boots- These keep feet dry and provide good traction in slippery conditions
- Hats and hoods- Essential for keeping little ears warm and trapping heat that escapes from their head
- If it’s really cold or you’re going to be outdoors for hours, consider stuffing a set of hand and foot warmers in mittens or the toes of boots for added warmth for up to 8-10 hours
Try Something New
Winter is a great time to go outside your comfort zone and experience something new as a family. If you’ve always wanted to try skiing as a family, Liftopia offers the Mountain Collective pass that includes two free days of skiing or riding, unlimited 50% off single day lift tickets thereafter, and exclusive lodging deals at 17 destinations across the country. It’s a great deal for families with younger children and those with teens 18+ might be interested in the recently announced Liftopia Experiences. Liftopia Experiences provide hosted bus trips in 26 markets across the country designed for families of older kids who don’t want the hassle of driving to the mountain but want a great day on the slopes. Focused on introducing newcomers to mountain sports, Liftopia Experiences provides transportation in luxury coaches to nearby ski resorts and Liftopia Hosts who are specially-trained mountain experts who provide guidance on things like where to pick up rentals, to getting to lesson areas, and insider knowledge on the best slopes for all skill levels. Rates vary by market and start at just $89 per person. As always with Liftopia, buying in advance is rewarded with better savings – and different dates and trips will have different prices.
Bring a Friend
The buddy system can work wonders when doing something new so why not invite a friend to sled, go for a winter hike, or hit the slopes. Having a friend can also change the dynamic between siblings to make the outdoor experience more fun for all.
Talk About What You Did
After your family winter adventure, TuffMutt encourages parents to ask kids to share what they did outdoors by asking them if they observed something new, if something surprised them, what was fun, etc. aYou can ask them to talk, write, or draw out their activities and observations. Did they observe something new? Did something surprise them? What was fun? By doing this, TurfMutt hopes to inspire the next generation of kids to “save the planet, one yard at a time.”
YakTrax Run Giveaway!
Just as we encourage our kids to play outside in the winter, YakTrax doesn’t want winter to stop you from doing the things you love! This year I’m a YakTrax YakPak Ambassador and they’ve outfitted me with products that help me embrace the great outdoors and help me complete training runs as I look towards my next half marathon. Fellow runners will love the following features of Yaktrax® Run ($40) is the only traction device anatomically designed to meet the needs of runners braving the winter elements.
Fellow runners will love the ability to run naturally on packed snow and ice with the Yaktrax Run’s combination of removable spikes and steel coils. I appreciate the 360° of unbeatable traction that lets me continue training during the winter with the same stability I’m accustomed to during other seasons. Yaktrax Run can be worn in temperatures as low as -41° Fahrenheit but if you’re running in those temperatures, please bundle up and slip a pair of YakTrax Adhesive Insole Foot Warmers inside your shoes before heading out!
Other YakTrax Run features include:
- Made of high strength natural rubber
- 1.4 mm steel coils
- Carbide steel spikes
- Reflective heel tab and performance strap offers safety
- Anatomic right/left design
Enter to win a pair of YakTrax run using the Rafflecopter form below!
No compensation was received for this post or for hosting this giveaway. As a YakTrax YakPak ambassador, I receive free products as part of my involvement. Affiliate links are included in this post.