Bundle Up for Winter Fun
By Lynea Schultz-Ela, Friends of Youth and Nature
Who among us hasn’t learned the hard way that, when adventuring outside in winter, preparation is worth its weight in gold. Whether you’re suffering a highway shut down or a snap storm that puts you on the side of the road while on a car trip or you’re suffering from cold and wet blue jeans and boots while sledding on a local hillside; cold weather can be miserable. My husband remembers as a child having his dad cut up bicycle inner tubes to tie around the tops of his irrigating boots so his feet would remain dry—it did nothing to alleviate the unforgettable cold and the freezing feeling.
We want children to remember the fun of sledding, skiing, snowman building, the discovery of winter animal tracks, and the joy of successful snow angels and snow forts. The key to remain warm and dry in the midst of wet, cold snow is being prepared.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind for cold-weather comfort:
Aside from clothing choices, you should always bring snacks and water. My grandkids now remind me every time we have an outing “DON’T FORGET THE SNACKS” because you guessed it—I have forgotten them. Generally think about carbohydrates that provide quick energy and quick recovery. Kid friendly food bars make this easy, but also a nut or nut free butter and jelly sandwich is perfect. Dried fruit provides quick energy and is healthy too
Water is important. Given the length of time that most kids actually spend playing outdoors in winter it’s okay if they drink water before and after the activity instead of during all the fun. To help increase the quantity you could have a warm thermos of hot cocoa, tea, or soup. Any fluids will help replenish their active selves.
Stuck in the car on the side of the road, or waiting for a road closure to reopen? Tuck all the above in the car before you take off, and include a pack of cards or drawing paper and pencil. Electronics are the entertainment du jour but they may be short lived or out of range in the event of a road closure. There are many interactive games that don’t require electronics. Remember “hang man” and designing your own mazes on paper? How about writing haikus ( 3 line Japanese style poems)starting with a description of the view out their window.
In western Colorado, we have an abundance of sunshine and with a little bit of driving to the Uncompaghre Plateau, the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, or the Grand Mesa National Forest, we also have an abundance of snow. The combination invites adventure and fun—so grab your sunscreen, snacks, and the right warm clothing and get out there!
For more winter-specific and general outdoor kid activities, visit www.friendsofyouthandnature.org
For more fun snow play ideas, search “ snow activities for kids”, or check out these links:
FOYAN is a non-profit that promotes opportunities for youth and families to go outside, experience outdoor activities and explore nature.