We all know there are some amazing benefits to outdoor play, and when the cooler temperatures arrive, we want to continue to encourage outdoor play and get the kids out! It can become increasingly difficult to get them outside, especially when it comes to snow and the cold. And we want kids to be excited about winter, don’t we?
Having only been introduced to the snow as an adult, I recall watching movies as a child where awesome snowmen and magnificent forts were conjured into reality by a band of neighbourhood kids who looked like they could spend the entire day outside. I wanted that for my children, that precious carefree time that makes up one’s childhood. When I became a parent, I was surprised to learn that my own children were a little less enthused about playing in the snow. Is Hollywood to blame here, were they painting a different reality, or is the fun vs cold ratio not tipping in my favour?
It’s very common for children, especially in the toddler years, to be anti-snow. It’s new, it’s cold, it’s wet, it’s everything opposite to what they’re used to be feeling – warm, dry and snuggly. It’s been well documented for years by various parent bloggers and parent circles around the world. Chances are, if you’ve made it this far, you most likely have one of these said children and, trust me, you’re not alone. To make things easier, I’ve put together a list of things to help get your children excited for winter and want to actually play in the snow.Without further ado, here are my top tips for getting your kids excited for winter.
Top 7 Tips for Getting your Kids Excited for Winter
As simple and, at times, annoying as this may sound, letting your children choose in their snow outfits can have a positive impact on excitement and participation in the snow. My son had these awesome blue dinosaur boots last year and you didn’t need to tell him twice to get them on to head out. On the other hand, my 6-year-old daughter is in love with the scarf and beanie her grandmother bought her. Whatever works, right?
Indoor Toys, Outdoors
If they have a favourite toy (think truck, action figure, barbie, bucket…) tell them that their toy can come too! Bringing those indoor familiarities outdoors helps make that transition a bit easier, even in the dead of winter. From personal experience, I’d say this little trick works 8/10. If you’re allowed to tie a length of coloured ribbon or string around them, they won’t get lost in the snow either!
Who said painting could only be done in the house? A little water and food dye in a squeezy bottle can magically become an outdoor “paintbrush” for the world's largest canvas. Those wonderful $2 stores will have these aplenty. Let the kids go wild and make art outdoors on the fresh snow. For those more daring, imagine what fun one would have with a super soaker!!!!!! Please. Be. Responsible. Food dye does not wash out easily. But there is an alternative to food dye, a washable watercolour !
Toboggan Magic Part 1
Going for a long walk on a toboggan may be a bit much for those little ones who are apprehensive about the entire winter experience. My alternative is to walk back and forth in one area (think up and down a small street). You’ll be bored pacing back and forth, but they sure won’t be. This little trick helps children get comfortable with the idea of snow, as well as getting them used to the idea of a toboggan ride. I used this trick with my kids, and all I heard was “Again! Again!”
Toboggan Magic Part 2
This amazing invention is also particularly effective at teaching children how their hard work trudging up a hill, dragging their toboggans behind them, can be rewarding (even if it’s only for the 5-second ride back down the hill again - 10 seconds if they’re lucky and get their angles right). Be mindful that the ride can be rather fast for the unwary toddler, so be sure to complete tip 4 before attempting a toboggan ride down an actual hill (let’s face it, a toddler, preschooler or child in tears is a sure-fire way to ruin a fun time and bring you back to
Monkey See, Monkey Do
Watching other kids play in the snow is also a great way to get your children excited for the snow. If they see others having a great time, they’ll most likely want to join in the fun too, or if they are still at that impressionable age, they’ll mimic the behaviours which is a total success! If you don’t have kids where you’re staying, head to the tobogganing area and get ready for an afternoon of sliding delight!
If Paw Patrol Can Do It...
Watching movies or TV shows about snow can really go a long way, especially when you’re introducing the concept of snow and winter to your kids. I knew there was a reason why I put up with watching Paw Patrol and Peppa Pig (insert eye roll). My son loved watching Paw Patrol, and when we were introducing him to the concept of skiing, there were a few episodes that had those pups on skis. It was great for him to watch, and great for us to reference on the way to the resort as well as while on the slopes trying to teach him how to ski (note, I used ‘trying,’ but that is another story for another time!). Any movie or show that
has characters actively playing in the snow will help influence our kids. Wasn’t there a movie called Frozen recently...? (Oh hey look! Frozen 2 is out! 😉).
Bonus Tip: Now I know I promised to get kids excited about snow before, or during, but this tip is all about the positive reinforcement of the after experience. After a day of snow play/skiing/boarding/running, it’s always time for some hot cocoa (read: mulled wine for the adults – equally easy to make). Making a fresh batch of homemade hot chocolate is the perfect après snow treat and will surely leave lasting (and positive) memories about their time in the snow! Add marshmallows and you’re on a winner here, Mum and Dad!
There you have it, my 7 (+ 1 bonus) tips to help get your kids excited for winter! I hope a few of these tricks will help you get your little ones out and playing the snow. Let me know if you tried any of these tricks!