Now that snow seems to be sticking around, we wanted to share some ideas and helpful hints on making the most out of playing outside!
Let It Snow!
FIT4MOM Ann Arbor Team
As moms, I think we can all agree that THE WORST part of playing outside is getting the kids ready. Somehow we spend more time getting them dressed to go outside than we actually spend outside! Our first tip is to make your winter weather gear accessible. Put hooks low to the ground so the kids can access their jackets and snow pants. Use storage bins with a hat and mittens for each child that they can reach without your help.
Teach your kid(s) to dress themselves.. If you already have their items easy to reach, there's no reason your child can't do it themselves if they're already able to get dressed independently with regular clothing. The first few times will be painful and take FOREVER You'll want to jump in and just do it yourself, but don't. Once they get the hang of it they'll do it every time and without complaints or frustration. Plus, they'll feel so accomplished. Win/win.
Invest in bala clavas. It's a hat. It's a scarf. It's a face mask. It's crazy warm. No more whiny kids complaining about cold cheeks. Plus, if you run into someone close quarters, pull it over your nose and voila. Face mask. While it isn't technically PPE, it's better protection than nothing!
Now that the kids are dressed and ready to go, what will keep them busy? Here's some suggestions:
Is there anything more fun as a kid than going down the hill on your sled for the first time of the season?! There are so many great sledding hills around Ann Abror. Vet's Park, Montibeller Park, Buhr Park, and Huron Hills Golf Course are all popular locations. Lazy mom tip: If your sled doesn't already have a rope attached to it, install one! They will be able to easily haul their own sled up the hill without your help.
Cross Country Skiing
Are your kids looking for a little more of a challenge? Check out cross country skiing! Bonus: You can do it as an entire family if you pull the sled for the younger ones!
Go for a Hike
It's crazy how a path you may have taken a hundred times during the summer can look so different in the winter. Enjoy the scenery, look for animals, and slide along any ice paths you might find!
Build a Snowman
Is it really winter if your yard doesn't have a snowman sitting in it? Build a snowman with the kiddos, or better yet, be the 'judge' of a snowman building contest and enjoy the peace and quiet as you watch them out the front window. It's a contest that everyone wins.
Get Creative with Snow Tools
Is your child already bored with sledding, snowmen, angels, and snowballs? Find some new 'tools' to use in the snow! An ice scraper, a grabber, cookie cutters, and spray bottles can keep them busy for hours. Plus if anyone gives you a strange look, just claim it's a sensory activity.
Let Them Play Together
It's so simple, right? Sometimes we're so busy juggling, we forget that they don't ALWAYS need us to play. Let their imaginations go wild. Encourage the older siblings to pull the younger ones. Encourage obstacle courses. When your kids are self-sufficient, that's when you can really appreciate winter.
Bring the Snow Inside
Hate winter? We get it. There's plenty you can do to keep them busy in the interior of the house. Fill a storage container with snow and bring it in for your child. Have a play theme like arctic animals. Make tracks and tunnels for vehicles. Get creative in the kitchen and make snow ice cream. Make indoor mini snowmen. Call it a science experiment, and time how long it takes to melt. Have a special 'snow bath' and just dump a bunch of snow in the tub. The ideas are endless. Plus, it's warm for you.
Of course, no winter afternoon would be complete without some hot cocoa! It's the perfect way to end a fun day outside and warm up. Feel free to have your child drink theirs instead of bathe in it. No judgements.