Getting outdoors is imperative. It is a crucial building block of mental health, boosts the immune system with vitamin D provided by the sun and improves circulation with moving around. When it is cold outside, it is darn difficult to get motivated to go outside. Especially when you have to think about layers on yourself, or putting all. those. layers. on the potty-training toddler. Do yourself the mental health break and try to get outside every couple of days. Don’t forget the sunblock – even if it is clouded sky, there is still ultraviolet rays from the sun so protect your skin when you are outdoors with at least an SPF of 15 or higher. It should go without saying, if the winter conditions are unsafe, do not venture outdoors.
Embrace the Snow
Resist the cuddle up and stay inside all day idea and bundle up for some fun in the snow! Build a snowman, make snow angels and throw some snowballs. You might have to come inside for some warm up breaks depending on the temperature, but snow is but temporary. Even Olaf melted a couple times, and was only saved by Elsa’s icy powers. Consider taking food coloring out to color the snow, or adding food coloring to water as you make ice and toss the ice cubes in the snow. Don’t forget about sledding – it’s the acceptable time to push those kiddos down the hill…on the sled!
If you are properly dressed with layers of gloves, coats, scarves, and hats, hiking can be enjoyable. Getting out and walking around will warm everyone in the hiking party and you might find yourself shedding layers. Explore a National Park or State Park near you – you can head back and forth to the heat of the car if needed, but also explore somewhere outside your house preventing cabin fever.
Enjoy the Ice
For the little kids and big kids alike, freezing bubbles is an exciting experiment. All you need is a bubble wand and soap water – blow a bubble in the freezing temperatures and watch it freeze! Better yet, you can enjoy this outdoor winter fun on your doorstoop or deck with layers on and heat and a warm bathroom nearby.
Make it a White Snow Beach Day
It might sound silly – but go with me here. When you have the whispy snow, it is the perfect time for a “beach” day. Break out the beach toys and bring them into the snow! Toss a beach ball around, build snow dunes and use the sand toys to build snow castles. It sounds crazy, but the fully-bundled littles will not once complain about it being cold when they are playing beach in the snow. Olaf likes summer after all.
Make a Maze
If you have snow – make a maze out of snow! It may not be four feet tall, but just walking through a path is a fun distraction. No snow? Make a maze our of boxes, chairs or whatever you have outside. Maybe even with chalk if it is warm enough. Anything to make the outdoor time more enjoyable and different will add variety and fun to outdoor time.
Winter Family Photo Shoot
While the cold means you are bundled up, it doesn’t mean you can’t have some awesome and hilarious photos. Set up a camera on a table or chair, or a tripod if you have one, and go to town taking photos! Set up the auto shoot and start throwing snowballs, or build play a game of tag. It is not the traditional matching outfits family photo, but guarantee it will be a memorable one.
Now, if you are living on Southern California or Florida, you might have to rely on the house of mouse or use bubbles to make faux snow, but you are still able get out and hike and explore! And those beach photos in the winter will surely be memorable.
I think this year, after all of the quarantining, social distancing and indoor time, we are all feeling cabin fever and it isn’t even cold outside yet. We will be doing all the outdoor things we can do this winter safely. We are stocked up on winter gear so we can be appropriately bundled in a jacket, gloves, scarves, hats and boots to make the most out of being outdoors.
What is your favorite winter outdoor activity?