I love the first snow of winter! I love the first morning we wake up and there is frost covering the grass. The novelty of winter is exciting. But, come January, I’m feeling a little blah with the cold and often inconvenient weather. I’ve noticed, though, that the girls see the snow with new eyes every time. They rarely tire of going out to play. Most of the time I don’t want to hassle with it, but when I embrace their enthusiasm for the outdoors we have a fantastic time. Here are some ideas for outside activities in the snow and when there’s no snow.
Enjoying the Snow
Build a snowman! We get excited about building a snowman by singing Once There Was a Snowman while we gather winter clothes for the snowman. When we lived in Utah and had lots of snow, we would also make chairs out of snow and the girls loved climbing in them.
Make a snow angel! When Sammi was just 7 months old we had a pretty good snowfall. I bundled her up in her pink snow outfit and plopped her in the snow on our back porch. It was THE cutest snow angel to date that I’ve ever seen. The pic doesn’t do justice, but I couldn’t just leave her in the snow to take a picture! (She could have moved and ruined the snow angel!)
Sledding! The first time Brent took Sammi sledding was last year around Christmas. She was hesitant at first, but Brent wrapped her securely in his lap and down a little hill they went. She loved it and wanted to go again and again. Brent’s fondest winter memories are when his mom would drop him and some of his siblings off at the park and they would sled for a couple of hours at a time.
Enjoying the Lack of Snow
Watch your breath! On a cold morning, bundle up and head out. We have been fascinated by seeing our breath. Sammi and Elli both have noticed the cloud of air on a cold morning. We talk about how it comes from inside our mouth or nose and that makes it warm. In the cold winter air, the warm air from us looks like a cloud. Sammi got the idea that she was making the cloud appear. It was a great little science lesson.
Go for a walk! I love to wrap the girls up in blankets in the stroller and walk around the streets surrounding our house. They love being outside and getting the fresh air, but they are still warm under the blankets. I appreciate getting out and moving as much as they do. We usually talk about how things look different in the winter: trees, grass, animals (winter coats), etc.
Relish the sunshine! Even in Utah we had sunny days in the middle of January or February. Here we have them a bit more often. So when it’s sunny, even if it’s still a bit chilly, we dress appropriately and head outside to soak in the sun. We’ve had fun kicking or throwing balls around in the backyard. We’ve also gone to the park and played on any equipment that wasn’t wet or muddy.
No matter what you do, it’s terrific to get outside in the winter. It’s good to experience the cold, briefly, and let little ones understand first hand why gloves, hats, scarves and coats are important. For us, that has reduced a lot of fighting over getting bundled up. We went to the park yesterday. And while it was wet and Elli somehow managed to plant her dirty shoes right on my chest, spending time outside, being active was just what the girls, and I, needed.
It is recommended that children of all ages get at least 60 minutes of physical activity on most days of the week. I know this winter has seen a drastic decline in the girls physical activity and I don’t know that we’re hitting that target. A lot of our activities are sedentary: reading books, crafts at the table, cooking meals, etc. I’m so glad for the great music we’ve discovered recently because that has really helped us get moving when we are indoors. Here are some additional ideas (year round) for indoors and outdoors activities to fill that 60 minute goal.
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