Let it Snow!

winter snowballing

As adults, we tend to think of winter weather as a nuisance to be avoided. We go straight from the house into the car, and then after work we go straight from the car back to the house, without ever stopping to enjoy the beauty of winter. Snow is especially pretty, but we hardly ever see it in our rush to get inside where it’s warm.

Kids are right the opposite. When it starts snowing, they can’t wait to get out in it. Snowball fights, assembling snowmen, constructing igloos… you name it, when it’s snowing the kids will get out and do it. Their hands freeze and their noses run, but they don’t care. They’re having fun, and we could do with remembering to have fun sometimes, as well.

Being out in the cold for longer than thirty seconds may not seem like a great idea to you now, but I assure you that once you bundle up and get out in it with your kids or even just your friends, the old habits will kick in and you’ll start to remember how to get into it. Snow activities are wonderful fun, and they’re a great way to bond with your children over something they really like to do. You can join in building a sculpture, or gathering ammunition for a snowball fight. Or if you’re looking for a more gentle way to play, snow angels are cute and fun to make, and they don’t require any kind of advanced skill, which makes them possible for even very small children.

Playing in the snow is also a good way to keep fit in the winter months. Walking in snow is difficult, and takes a lot more effort than regular walking, which means it burns more of the calories you consumed by drinking all that eggnog. Also, many snow activities require a lot of physical effort — either repeatedly walking up a big hill (to slide down again), pushing snow around to make snowmen or forts, or throwing snowballs at the opposing team as fast as you possibly can.

If you are serious about being more active in the snow, skiing and snowboarding are sports that can be enjoyed by the whole family, but they do require some financial commitment and acquisition of skill. Of course, if you’re just starting out, the smart thing is to rent equipment the first time, take a few lessons, and try different things out. Skiing may be just what you were looking for in terms of strenuous exercise, or you may find that you’re more the kind of person who enjoys sitting in the lodge and drinking hot chocolate while not breaking any limbs. At least if you try it once, you can say you gave it your best shot.

Make sure before you go out, even for a short period, that you have appropriate clothing. There’s nothing worse than being out in freezing weather and getting soaked through within the first few minutes. Weatherproof boots and thick socks are good for a start, as is a weatherproof coat. Mittens or gloves are a must, though if you wear knit gloves and handle a large amount of snow, prepare to have icy fingers pretty quickly. Personally I also like to wear the waterproof pants that are normally recommended for motorcyclists, but some people prefer to go out in just their jeans, which can be fine if you’re not planning on spending time sitting in the snow. Under your clothes, of course, you’ll need a good set of thermal underwear, preferably long johns or even a thermal bodysuit. The warmer and drier you can keep yourself, the longer you will feel okay staying out in the cold. This goes for the kids, as well; they don’t always have the good sense to come in when the cold is getting to them, so it’s best to make sure that they’re as sheltered as possible under a thick layer of weather protection.

Getting out in the snow is not as bad as you think it is, and you will have a lot of fun if you’re out there with kids, who don’t need to be reminded how to enjoy the winter weather. So put on your parka and your boots and get out there with the youngsters — you might just surprise yourself by having more fun than you ever expected.

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