Do you feel that temptation to stay indoors and cozy up in front of a fire for the next week? Don’t do it! Well, not the whole time, anyway. Bundle up and go outside everyday, even if you are anxious to return to your warm house.
What happens when young children aren’t tired enough when bedtime comes? You know the answer, don’t you. They keep tired parents from sleeping. Especially with little kids, outdoor activity can make us tired enough to sleep well during a mostly lazy holiday. Better yet, when you come in from the cold, it is a perfect time to have hot chocolate or wassail.
My family will be spending the rest of today with friends. If there is enough snow, we will go snowshoeing; if not, we will go hiking. Either way, we anticipate windblown cheeks and cold noses as we unwind our scarves when we return to the house and to the sweet smells of lunch. That feeling is one of my favorite parts of the holidays.
8 Outdoor Activities for Your Family Holiday
Go for a Walk. Make it a habit to walk after lunch. My family has two fuzzy dogs, so our walks through the snow mean dogs covered in little snowballs like Christmas treat ornaments. The dogs have a great time romping like puppies, and we have a great time chasing after them. No matter whether you are in town or in the country, a walk is a great way to spend a part of your vacation days.
Build a Snow Fort. If you pack the snow tight enough, your fort can last long after most of the snow is gone. Last year, our whole neighborhood contributed to one snow fort, with adults and dogs included. This can be an ongoing activity.
Make Snow Angels. Drop down onto your back in the deep snow and swim your arms and legs back and forth until you create a wings and skirt. Toddlers love this activity. The first year my husband spent in the heavy winter after growing up without much snow, I convinced him to fall into several feet of powder. I fished him out and told him, “Welcome to Winter!” I’m a bit more careful with my children, but they still do this.
Scavenge for Winter Nature Table Decorations. Are there still evergreens, pinecones, winter berries. Children will tromp from place to place not even realizing that they are actually on a walk.
Sledding. Whether you have an old-fashioned sled, an old tire, or a cardboard box lid, you can probably find something slippery around the house for sledding. We have quite a few steep hills near our house, but we have another version of sledding that involves my husband grabbing tight to the rope on the sled and hauling children around. It worked better when they were little, but everyone still wants to see who can pull the rest of the family. If you celebrate Festivus, this could be one of your feats of strength.
Moon and Stargazing. The moon is past the quarter and will be full next week. If the sky is clear, you should have enough light for a late night walk. During the most recent full moon, my son stared out the window and said, “It’s so light! I wish we could go outside.” I asked, “Why can’t you?” He had no answer, and within minutes we were all bundled up for a midnight walk under the full moon. I was back in quickly, but they just sat in their tree swings, swinging patterns in the snow and talking for nearly an hour. Little children might not be able to take a long walk in the extreme cold, but the adventure of a nighttime walk can awaken the senses.
Bundle up and make sure snow can’t sneak into boots or mittens. Stay out long enough to have fun but not so long that children become miserable. The cold helps you and your children appreciate the warm. The activity helps you appreciate the opportunity to curl up with the family without the stresses of every day.
Happy Holidays and warm fingers and toes to your whole family.