Saturday, July 13, 2024
The Parents' Voice

Winter

Rinks are open for business, snow hills are finally growing in abundance with all the beautiful snow we’ve been getting. Make sure you get your children out to enjoy some of this wonderful winter wonderland we are surrounded in. A huge thank you goes out to the various committees and organizations organizing these wonderful activities and events for us.
Winter fun is always one of my favourite articles to write. I absolutely love the time we get to spend outside together in the winter. The cold that comes before Christmas always has a feel of excitement knowing that Christmas is just around the corner and that the snow will just add to the ambiance of Christmas. However, the minute those Christmas decorations get put away, many of us start to wish for spring. Put the brakes on and enjoy being a Canadian, here are some great ways to embrace the cold and snow with our little ones.
The key to enjoying the snow and winter weather is dressing warm. For little ones that means warm mitts (that don’t fall off, or get wet when touching snow) my favourite mitts have always been the ones that come up over top of their coat sleeves, hats that clutch at the bottom or tie, neck warmers, warm boots, warm coats and snowpants. On windy days add a scarf that goes up higher to prevent wind burn.
Another important thing to remember is how long you keep them outside. On beautiful, sunny, mild days try and spend more time playing outside whereas on cold days limit the time they are outside to a quick walk around the yard, down the street or on the covered deck. When everyone is dressed warm you may be surprised how much they can enjoy some outdoor time. Not to mention how it’ll affect mom’s mood. I always feel 100 per cent better after some time outside – especially on those exhausted days where sleep the night before wasn’t in abundance.
What to do with them once you get outside?

  • Sliding – our favourite thing to do is find some kind of hill and slide down it. On a slide, on a toboggan, on their bums, any way at all.
  • Climbing snow mountains – After the big dump of snow we got on New Years Eve this activity was in full swing. How high can you climb? How many snowballs can you find and smash? What can you make on the mountain? What can you find? We’ve turned mountains into homes, bathtubs, palaces etc.
  • Skating and skiing are wonderful activities to engage in as a family. We have wonderful trails in Bristol available to all. Outdoor rinks and an arena with public skating times (Saturdays 6:00-7:00 p.m., Sundays 2:30-3:30 p.m., Tuesdays 4:30-5:20 p.m., Moms and Tots Tuesdays 2:30-3:30 p.m.)
  • Shoveling – honestly, I’ve found this to be the easiest way to get my son outdoors this winter. He doesn’t seem to be interested in much unless he can be shoveling all the snow away. Hey, I’ll take it! Get them their own child sized shovel and let them help out with that pesky job.
  • Dyeing snow – you can bring paint outside (simply pour some paint diluted with water in a spray bottle) and let them go nuts on the snow.
  • Make snow houses – nothing is better than making, rolling and pushing big, giant snowballs around the yard. Snow forts are soooo much fun and give you a workout while getting great exercise. Don’t forget to make a snowman after a nice sticky snow falls. This past weekend’s snow was perfect for snow people. We had a contest at who could make one the fastest.
  • Making snow castles with shovels and sand castle pails.
  • Find footprints – its sometimes hard to get little ones excited about going for a walk in the neighbourhood, especially in the cold but one motivator might be finding footprints. You can take pictures of what you find, follow them, guess which animal made them. A winter scavenger hunt is another great idea to get kids excited about being outside, there are lots of great printouts online.
    Bring the outside in – When it really is too cold (-25 or so) bring the snow inside:
  • Melting snow experiment. Bring some snow in and record how long it takes for the snow to melt, what happens to the snow? What do you find as it melts, what do you find in the water?
  • Bring snow in in a large container. Add measuring cups, shovels, water to help melt the snow, but don’t forget their mitts.
  • Painting the snow. With snow in a container, let the kids go crazy painting the snow with coloured water (water with drops of food colouring in it) and paintbrushes.

However you choose, adopting a healthy attitude to winter weather from a young age is a necessity. We do live in Canada after all, and hopefully we will always have winter to enjoy. Remember to lead by example, kids have a lot more fun playing outside with someone than all alone.

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