Advice from Moms & Dads on Getting Outside, Even When It’s Chilly

from Wildlife Promise

On January 17Be Out There held its first ever Facebook Chat, “Bundle Up and Be Out There.” We asked for tips, tricks, success stories, and even some concerns about getting the kids back outside to enjoy nature now that winter is in full force. In case you weren’t able to join us, don’t sweat it! Here is all the juice you may have missed.

Q1: What did you do in the winter as a kid?

We got the conversation flowing while reminiscing over our  favorite winter activities; building igloos, sledding, or snowball fights. I remember, especially, when there was a huge blizzard and I was so small that my older (and taller) brother had to push me around on a sled or else I’d disappear in the snow! Others shared similar memories:

Q2: Let’s talk Prep – Seems bundling up and dealing with wet clothes can be a hassle. What are tips for prepping for winter play and all that comes with it?

Whether it’s hot or cold outside, we can all agree that getting out of the house and expanding our imagination is an essential part of growing up. But what are good tips for prepping for winter play and all that comes with it? The general consensus seemed to be bundling everyone up before going outside to play.

It’s a constant battle, however, to keep the layers on, especially the gloves. Kids want to touch everything and tend to shed their gloves soon after getting out the door, even if it means having cold little fingers as a result. I’m sure you’re also wondering what the best way is to keep gloves on your kiddies:

It also doesn’t hurt to have extra gloves, hats, and shirts lying around that are dry and ready to go at a moment’s notice. This way if kids are eager to get outside when the snow starts falling, you’re not searching all over the house for matching gloves, socks, or boots. You never know when the urge to run, jump, and play outdoors will overcome you! [Side Note: Did you know that playing outdoors in the cold won't make you sick? That's right! We actually tend to get sicker in the winter because we stay indoors and it becomes easier to spread germs that way. Remember, the more we're outside the happier and healthier we will be and so will the kids.]

Q3. One of the biggest challenges is just getting out the door. What activities or motivators get you or your kids moving?

Sometimes it can be hard to motivate kids to get outside, especially in a world where “there’s nothing to do out there,” and video games and the computer seem way more interesting. Little do kids know, there’s a whole world waiting for them to explore:

  • Slow Family Online suggested to keep a snowman kit handy
  • Libby  suggested making a plan ahead of time, regardless of what the weather is going to be
  • Others say that having resources available that suggest fun, outdoor activities, such as our new winter activity guide: How Not to Hibernate, are great motivators

Try making it a play-date with friends of yours and the kids!

  • Madonna says that meeting friends for a hike is big on her list
  • Polarn O. Pyret USA suggests checking out ActiveKidsClub.com because an outdoor outing is always more fun with more people

What’s your greatest outdoor motivator?

 Q4: Short days, full schedules. How do you squeeze play time in too?

Busy schedules can put a damper on our motivation. I remember growing up and always having swim practice after school, homework, Girl Scouts; you name it, and I probably did it. So how do we find the time to play outside? Even during the winter, it’s very important to ensure plenty of outdoor time for you and the family, but that doesn’t mean it needs to be a huge adventure. Sometimes, going for walks after dinner or running around the backyard to let off some steam from a busy day can be plenty of outdoor time. Walking home from school, stopping at a park for a little bit of play time, or even some pre-bedtime star gazing are some really great ways to enjoy nature for a short while in between all of the chaos of after school activities. Here are a few other tips parents shared for getting back outside:

There’s still plenty of tips and tricks on our Facebook page. Share some of your own, too! I would like to send out a special thank you to our amazing guest speakers, Hana Schardt, from our very own Ranger Rick Magazine, Suz Lipman,  Author and Founder of Slow Parenting Online and Social Media Director for the Children & Nature Network, and Linda Kerr, Social Media & PR Manager at Polarn O. Pyret USA. The chat was absolutely amazing and we couldn’t have done it without everyone’s enthusiasm and support.

If you haven’t already, like Be Out There on Facebook for year-round tips, tricks, and fun activities to get your moving and back outdoors or sign up for our month E-Newsletter for all the latest Be Out There news.