With the icy chill of winter biting our cheeks every time we go outside, it can be very tempting to stay snug indoors, sipping hot chocolate, watching Hallmark movies in our cozy socks. A quick glance out the window will quickly solidify our decision to hibernate indoors. However, going out in the cold doesn’t have to be a blustery blunder. Here are a few ideas to help beat the cold months ahead.
Dress for the cold!
It seems obvious, but the easiest way to beat the cold is to simply layer up and dress for the weather.
Repurpose old milk cartons by cutting off one side.
You can then fill the empty cartons with water and place them outside to freeze into ice blocks. Once you have enough blocks, you and your children can assemble an igloo or ice fort, no snow necessary! If we are lucky enough to get snow, invite other children in the neighborhood over for a (distanced) snowball fight!
If you have pine trees in your neighborhood, go out on a foraging walk and gather a few pinecones (toilet paper rolls will also work if pinecones are unavailable).
Bring the pinecones back in and smother with peanut butter and then roll or sprinkle into birdseed. Take your bird feeders out to a tree within sight from a window of your house. You and your children will enjoy spotting birds and learning how to identify new species of winter birds!
Take an empty tub of margarine, or something similar, and fill with water.
Let your children place some of their nature treasures inside the water. Then put a small cup in the center of the water and set out to freeze. Once it is frozen, you can turn it into a winter centerpiece for your table by placing a small candle in the center. If you have a bundt cake pan you can use the same process to make an ice wreath.
Make your own ice globes outside.
When the temperature drops below freezing, take out some bubbles and let your child discover how the bubbles freeze into tiny ice globes.
Paint the snow.
When the snow covers the ground, outside of the typical snowmen and snowball fights, you can take a spray bottle filled with a little water and food coloring and let your children paint the snow.
Bundle up and go on a walk or hike with a warm cup of hot chocolate to help fight the cold.
You can simply enjoy the sights of nature or encourage your children to spot winter birds or look for wildlife tracks in the snow.
Enchant your children by filling a balloon with water and food coloring.
Hide them outside if its below freezing. When they are frozen and the balloon is peeled away, they will be excited to discover an ice gem. As they begin to lose interest in the simple balls of colored ice, present them with a hammer and let them try to crack open the ice.
Everyone enjoys sledding when it snows.
Try to challenge your children to create their own sled. They will have to utilize their enginuity to craft a sled and be eager to have the fastest sled of their siblings. Cardboard and duct tape work well for this activity.
Finally a bonfire always helps beat the cold.
Have fun by roasting hot dogs and marshmallows around a small fire and gaze up at the stars, learning new constellations. There are apps you can download to help you identify the constellations.
Being outside is so beneficial for our children, but is also good for us, too. Nourish your soul by finding some peace in the winter’s calm and quiet. Enjoy a warm drink while your kids play and soak up the cold sun. Even though it is cold, going outside can help fight seasonal anxiety and depression disorder by getting some fresh air and sunlight and escaping the indoors.
Going outside in the winter months is also important to help maintain your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Before we know it, spring will return and the warmth will return and going outside won’t be such a task anymore, but in the meantime, hopefully some of these ideas will help you to venture out into the cold.