3 Tips for Fun & Safe Outdoor Play This Winter

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3 Tips for Fun & Safe Outdoor Play This Winter

December 17, 2019
posted by Matt Young

Wintertime in our household is filled with festive holiday traditions, enjoying warm comfort food, and fighting the never-ending battle to stave off cabin fever! As the mercury drops, my kids and I are always looking for opportunities to get outside to enjoy the fresh air and burn off our pent up energy. For my family, there is nothing better than waking up to a few inches of fresh snow that will invariably lead to snowmen, snow forts, and sled rides around the our yard. Even old backyard staples, like our swing-set, are given new life as snow ball fights and sliding into huge snow drifts result in endless smiles and laughs. The hardest part for me is convincing everyone to come inside and warm up!

If your family is feeling a little cooped up, here are some tips for getting outside and playing together this winter:


1. Dress the Part

When wintertime arrives and temperature dips, it doesn’t mean it’s time to hibernate until spring; it just means it’s time to break out the layers! Parents should always use their best judgment when determining whether or not it’s too chilly for little ones, but with the proper winter gear, your family can still get out and play all season long. Make sure to wear several thin layers and a warm coat before heading out. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends dressing kids in one more layer of clothing than adults. Hats, scarves, mittens, and boots are also wintertime essentials. They will keep faces warm, fingers cozy, and toes snug! If you live in a snowy climate, be sure to default to waterproof attire to ensure little ones stay dry and toasty.


2. Choose the Right Activity

Summertime is always lauded for all of the exciting activities that come along with it, but winter deserves some attention too! It has its very own lineup of unique activities. If your kids are anything like mine, they could spend all day just playing in the snow. A sheet of snow is like a blank canvas: the possibilities are endless. Snowmen. Snow angels. Snowballs. Snow castles. What will your family create? Snow is also a critical ingredient for plenty of active adventures – sledding, tubing, skiing, and snowboarding just to name a few. If you get all the cold but no snow where you live, there are still plenty of outdoor winter activities you can do with your kids. Go ice skating at your nearest outdoor rink. Take your wagon on a winter walk around the neighborhood. See if your kids can spot pinecones, bare trees, icicles, Christmas trees, and holiday lights along the way. There are always creative ways to play no matter the temperature.


3. Have an Action Plan

Winter is such a fun time to be outside, so it’s no surprise when little ones want to spend all day outside regardless of the conditions. If you plan to spend the whole day outside, schedule a break in the middle of the day. This is a perfect chance to take a bathroom break, adjust layers, or reenergize with a snack. Assure your kids that their snow creations will still be there when they get back outside! When it’s time to head inside for the night, have a plan of action to help with the transition back indoors. Have your laundry basket ready to collect wet clothes and designate a spot for winter gear to be stored until next time. And, perhaps most importantly, make sure your house is well stocked with hot chocolate. There is no better way to cap off a wintry day of outdoor adventures than with a cozy cup of cocoa – marshmallows and whipped cream optional!


As we look to the winter months ahead, I hope you take the time to slow down a bit from the hustle and bustle of the everyday routine. Take the #PledgeToPlay with your family and find your own ways to enjoy playing in the outdoors. Stay warm!