When Life Gives You Snow, Play

Summer gets a lot of hype and people commonly race their way through a Summer Bucket List. Today I’d like to suggest that we do our best to enjoy winter as well. After all, winter comes around every year (and in some places takes up PLENTY of the year!), so rather than hole up and wait for humidity and mosquitoes, we might as well just enjoy winter (since it’s here to stay)!

Play like kids – Play with kids

Remember being a kid and feeling the excitement bubble up at the first sign of winter weather? And then around the age of driver’s licenses and the outgrowing of snow days, the excitement wore thin? It’s time to re-embrace the childhood thrill of winter. You might as well 🙂 Your own children, nieces, nephews, and friends’ kids will have a blast playing in the snow with a grownup and taking advantage of sled rides up the hill (trudging through snow is always a good workout and it helps young children play longer!). No kids in your life? Then play LIKE a kid. You probably won’t regret it, but if you do, your chiropractor will be happy to help. Before my father-in-law died, he always took advantage of an opportunity to sled, even though he knew he’d wind up in the chiropractor’s office the next day.

Borrow, rent or thrift-shop for snowshoes, sleds, skis, and skates, (don’t worry about being an expert) and have fun with them.

A picture’s worth a thousand words, so here’s what I have to say:

In each picture, my kids had a blast and repeatedly thanked me for taking them outside. The child-sized snowshoes in the picture on the left came from a garage sale for $3 (one of our best investments).

Build a snow sculpture. 

We’ve had snow 4-wheelers and numerous attempts at castles and igloos…don’t limit yourself to just a snowman (snow people are great, though!).

Dress in layers, and be prepared to carry (or pull in a sled) toddlers.

If the temperature is around 30, you’ll quickly be sweaty if you’re bundled up. Many Wisconsinites joke that they have shoveled snow in shorts, and last spring I saw a neighbor shovel in a sleeveless shirt. Try to not dress so warmly that you get sweaty, since wet skin will make you very cold. Contrary to the Wisconsin joke, do cover your skin to protect from frostbite, and dress in layers. For instance, I commonly take off my jacket and wear a sweatshirt/long-sleeved t-shirt and snow pants once I’ve warmed up outside.

In my experience, much less than 20 degrees (above 0) and you’ll need to limit outdoor time to about 10 minutes – but remember that it wasn’t long ago in history that families were packing up in wagons and living in chilly farmhouses. Kids can be tough, as long as we help them prepare and encourage them through the challenge (at their sides, not barking orders from the house).

Walking through snow is especially tiring for young children, so help them out by carrying or pulling them in a sled. It won’t make them softies, but it will show them you’re willing to stick together and enjoy the challenge as a family or team.

If you plan to be out for long or away from home, bring plenty of snacks.

The way to a child’s heart is through food and play.

I hope these ideas have inspired you to enjoy winter rather than memorize the weather forecasts for Arizona and Florida. Ironically, Anchorage, AK is often warmer than Wisconsin in the winter….sigh….but we’re here, and so is winter, so let’s kick up our heels (and kick off the snow on the way back inside) and make the most of it.

Please comment below with your favorite ways to enjoy winter. Winter camping? Ice fishing? Downhill skiing or snowboarding? What do you do to beat the winter blues?




2 thoughts on “When Life Gives You Snow, Play

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