TIPS FOR GETTING SMALL KIDS READY FOR OUTDOOR WINTER PLAY
TIPS FOR GETTING SMALL KIDS READY FOR OUTDOOR WINTER PLAY
What’s worse – a new dumping of snow outside or having to get small kids dressed to head out and play in it? Here’s some of my tips for getting small kids ready for outdoor winter play I use every day to get us out the door quickly and easily!
Ah yes, nothing quite like the winter time. I’m actually quite a big fan the snow. I feel like heavy snow falls and fun winter activities justify living somewhere where the wind hurts my face. I dreamt of all the ways I would have fun with my future children in the winter and all the time we would spend outside. Then I had kids and realized small kids mostly hate winter and getting them ready to head out is a freakin workout all in itself! Over time I’ve create some habits for ourselves that have made all the difference in getting us out the door and keeping us organized indoors afterwards too!
INVEST IN SOME QUALITY PIECES
The #1 tip before we go any further: if you’re planning on spending a lot of time outside with your littles, make sure you buy gear that’s going to keep them warm and dry! In the past I’ve settled for cheap snowsuits because I couldn’t understand spending $60-$120 on a suit (especially for young toddlers who grow so fast!). But after having suits not be properly warm or waterproof, knees quickly wearing out in the pants and boots falling apart? I get it now.
For the twins this year I got them the MEC Toaster suits. I had always heard great things about the suits and since we live in a part of Canada that can get pretty darn cold some days, it was important. They can feel a bit pricey but the quality is incredible. If you buy it for your first child you’ll very, very easily pass it down to their siblings or other family members! I actually managed to snag ours second hand – one on Facebook for $60 and then the others from a friend who no longer needed them! The girls have always come back inside dry and toasty warm and the suits are dry by the next morning.
For mitts and gloves, I bought them some MIMItens gloves and booties. I will say that they’re not waterproof, so for littles who are walking and spending a lot of time outdoors they won’t be a great option. Now that the twins are walking and exploring we’ve had quite a few days of wet socks when we get back inside.
For new walkers and those who hate clunky boots, a top waterproof suggestion would be Stonz booties! We tried some Sorels on the girls but they were a continuous horrible experience. They were too heavy and bulky for them to be able to get up and walk around, and slide off while crawling. Stonz booties can have liners available to purchased for them to make the booties extra toasty warm!
I feel like this one is a bit more obvious but it’s also a good reminder of it’s importance. Keep all the winter gear organized! I have five kids worth of winter gear in my house each day which can be absolute madness. When winter first started it was a disaster zone trying to find all the mitts, boots and hats.
So I finally re-did our front hall closet as a landing point for all the outdoor gear, the stroller, the drying rack, etc.
Now you don’t have to go as extreme as re-doing a whole closet of course! But pick one spot where it all goes: maybe a basket by the front door, one shelf in a closet, a bin in the garage…
We have some toys that get brought outside on the regular, so they live in that closet space as well.
I did ours using the ALGOT system from Ikea, click h e r e to see it!
PREPARE FOR THE FUN
Prepare every single thing you’re going to need while you’re outside before you get the monsters ready to go!
I know when I ‘m leaving I’ll at the very least need my phone, keys and coffee. They get collected and put on the counter together for me to grab on the way out.
If we’re playing outside with toys or the magic carpet, I take them outside beforehand so I’m not scrambling to grab them as babies attempt to crawl back through the door.
If we’re heading over to the sledding hill or on a walk, then the stroller gets brought outside first and loaded with our gear so I’ll be able to dress babies and put them straight in!
I’ve spent a lot of time wishing we could just twirl through the air like Sailor Moon and have an outfit magically transform into a snow suit. Maybe like Iron Man where I can just shout at my suit and have it arrive and dress itself around me? Yup, those are the ideas I daydream about.
That’s obviously not happening, so an organized assembly line it is. So once everything heading outside with us is organized, I organize the kids outdoor gear.
A great way to prepare this ahead of time (example: you need to be out the door at a specific time and mornings are hard) is to layer it all into a laundry basket! Most mornings though, I’m taking it off the drying rack and then layering it onto a chair right before we dress. That’s okay too!
I dress kid by kid instead of item by item. I tried a few different methods and this one has worked the best. So in the basket I’ll put the snow suit, then mitts/gloves/hat/booties on top and repeat! Then I grab the suits bundle by bundle as I dress each kiddo.
READY FOR FUN!
Some other tips I’ve learned:
- One piece snowsuits are way better than two piece suits. Less bulk = less crying!
- Sand toys + water tables are just as fun for the snow as they are water and sand in the summer.
- That leftover lanolin nipple cream you have can be a great last minute wind barrier for cheeks.
- Get yourself a leakproof tumbler that keeps drinks hot for your coffee. Hot coffee!!
- There’s a high chance your baby or toddler will hate winter at first. Be consistent with going outside and they should warm up to it! I found that the consistency of playing in the cold and snow allowed them to accept it wasn’t a short term deal and they needed to find the fun in it.
There we go! I hope at least one of these tips helps you out the door for some fun in the snow.