By Tracey Dowdy
Now that Mother Nature has dropped a blanket a snow on the northeast, it may be tempting to hunker down and stay inside til Spring. Instead, take advantage of the winter weather and make the most of the snow. There’s more to do than you may think.
Let’s Move is First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative to get kids moving and the Let’s Move website is a great resource for winter fun. Along with fitness tips and nutritious recipes, the Get Active tab has loads of suggestions to get you and your family moving, including a “Let’s Move Outside” option with links for “Where to Go” and “What to Do”. Discover forests, parks, hiking trails, and get tips on what to bring on your hike like water and healthy snacks.
National Park Service
The National Park Service website can help you find a park and plan an adventure in your area. Find winter activities near you or take advantage of winter hiking trails. Plus, to encourage families to get out and explore, every fourth grader (or age equivalent free learner) and their family is eligible for free passes to National Parks for a whole year.
Nature Rocks by The Nature Conservancy will be your go-to on snow days, rainy days, sunny days…you know where this is going. Fill in the blank from a drop down menu: “It’s (snowing, raining, warm, cold) outside. Where do you want to play?” Choose your own backyard, a park, the forest, or the water and get connected to ideas for Winter Olympics themed games, crafts like bird feeders made with pine cones, or art projects to make with snow.
Natural Learning Initiative
The Natural Learning Initiative has a list of fun winter activities you can do in your backyard. Go on a nest hunt with the leaves off the trees, make snow angels and paint them with food coloring, build a tiny igloo with ice cubes as bricks and snow as mortar, or use sand toys to build snow castles.
Finally, if you or your kiddos are going to be outside for awhile, remember these tips:
- Dress in layers – Active play warms kids up so dress them in layers to keep them from overheating.
- Stay hydrated – Kids may not realize how much they sweat when playing outside in the cold so remind them to stop for a drink once in a while.
- Protect your extremities – You lose heat through through your head, ears, hands and feet first, so make sure you keep them protected.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.