With the Kids

4 Tips for Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Fun

Whether you’re off on a winter ski trip or just making snowmen in the backyard, I’ve got a few tips to help make your experience a little easier on everyone for some outdoor winter fun. Being a big snow sport family, we’ve learned a trick or two for keeping kids happy throughout the snow day.

4 Tips for Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Fun

4 Tips for Family-Friendly Outdoor Winter Fun

1. Prepare for any weather: Know before you go. There will be times when you can’t predict what weather you’ll run into, but for the most part, you can plan – good ol’ weather.com. Will it be a cold white-wash ski day, with wind and snowflakes flying past you all day? Be sure to have googles and a face mask. Will it be sunny and warm? Be sure to have layers you can shed them as the warm sun wears on. Or will it be a rainy day? Be sure to have an umbrella or even rainproof gear to help keep everyone stay dry and happy.

2. Keeping warm: From tip #1, you can prepare for cold frigid weather beforehand. If the kids are warm, everyone is happy. You’ll have less complaining and hopefully no tears or breakdowns.

Hands: Be sure to have the right gloves. I prefer mittens over finger gloves. (Although my kids don’t as they aren’t as good for snowball making :) But their hands will stay warm during our activities. They can hold a small portable hand warmer inside a little easier. It’s good to have a few of those in your pockets to snag if it gets a little extra chilly. I’ve bought those in bulk and it was the best purchase. If you have little ones, I just discovered these darling Mittz from Stonz for toddlers and infants – wishing I had these for my little babies!

Head: A balaclava (ski mask) is fantastic to have as well. They work great for under hats during snow play or under helmets on the slopes. They keep the head warm, as well as the cheeks and chin. We all have them and they come in cool colors, fun for kids.

Feet: The last piece of clothing I want to mention is socks. Not all socks are created equal. To keep out the cold from the tootsies, you should be wearing specific winter weather socks. Their school socks won’t do for keeping warm all day. When I learned to buy the kind fit for snow sports, we had happy campers. We love SmartWool’s ski socks – padding in all the right places and super soft!

3. Choosing the right activity: I’m constantly reminded that my children are still children. I’ll want to push them and go on longer hikes or ski just one more trail before lunch. But I have to remember not to burn them out. Especially if we’re visiting Utah and up on the mountain for 3-4 days at a time, I need to remember we probably can’t ski every day. I’ve learned to mix it up with back yard play at Grandma’s or maybe just a fun sledding day up at Gorgoza or Soldier Hollow.

Children's mood swings during outdoor sports

Don’t get me wrong, our family has it’s melt downs. The above pictures are a day in the life of skiing with my once 3 year old. We’ve had to learn what our little ones can and can’t handle and tailor it to each child specifically. Not all my children are alike. My 8 year old can go go go. Really, she’s more, faster, go go go. But my older boy and youngest daughter need little breaks here and there to keep their energy up. In the end, we try to finish on a good note by reinforcing and remembering all the fun that was had. My tip #4 next helps with those little moments of exhaustion!

4. Apres-ski family style: Apres-ski is all about how you recuperate after a ski day of outdoor winter fun. It can help reinforce the activity you just experienced, especially if you’d like your children to join in the fun again.

  • Our family loves to find a hot chocolate cafe to treat ourselves after a ski day. Even making some at  home after a fun backyard snow day is just what the doctor ordered.
  • When we’ve been on vacation staying at a hotel, we jump in the pool and soak in the hot tub.
  • Maybe you build a fire at your home and snuggle up with a good book or movie.
  • Homemade soup is great at bringing a little warmth to the cold day, a little something extra to reinforce your activity.

As simple as some outdoor winter fun activities are to enjoy, make sure you know what you’re getting into with weather, your children, and your activities. Know before you go. Always best to plan ahead for family-friendly fun.

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