2020 has taken its toll on parents all over the world. From working from home to dealing with school closures and homeschooling, I’m surprised any of us have any sanity left. After a year of staying home and in isolation due to COVID-19, how do we drag our kids out of the house and into the great outdoors to play? Especially when it’s wet and cold.

Come rain or shine it’s safe for kids to get outside, fresh air is excellent for children’s learning and development, but probably most importantly, it’s essential for their mental health and growth. We’re not suggesting that you open the door and throw them out into a blizzard, but we do have a few tricks stolen from our grannies generation that will help entice the kids out of the house.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing

And that leads us onto our first tip. Make sure you have the right kind of clothes for outdoor play. Here’s the thing, as adults we don’t like the cold and wet but kids, well they don’t seem to mind so much. Kids love to run and jump and have adventures, and the weather isn’t so much of an issue for them.

Sure video games and lockdowns may have made the kids of 2020 somewhat lackluster, but kids are kids at the end of the day. They can make an adventure out of anything, and they are more likely to stay outside to play if they have warm clothing.

Wellington boots, hats, scarves, waterproof gloves and coats are all essential outdoor wear. Another tip to keeping kids warm is to layer up. Layering is far more effective at keeping us warm than one heavy jumper, so put on the vest and t-shirt and sweater as many as you need before finishing off with the waterproof coat.

It is not the mountain we conquer but ourselves

Go explore. Exploration is by far the best thing you can do to get your kids interested in the outdoors. Be amazed by nature and all the beauty of the natural world. Look for fossils or nests, go hill climbing or blaze a trail through a forest,

Kids love to explore, and everything in the world is awe-inspiring in childhood, it’s only when we grow up that this leaves us a little. What better way to remember the magic of the world than by seeing it through your children’s eyes. From Crater Lake to the Gorge, there is something awe-inspiring around every corner.

Exploring doesn’t necessarily mean throwing the kids in the car and going somewhere if that’s not your thing you can inspire them right on the doorstep. Why not try looking for signs of the seasons? In fall collect acorns and leaves for art projects and in winter try a hailstone collection competition. Nature is all around us, and our interactions with it inspire our children.

Happiness is hot chocolate

Nowhere is this truer than when you pour a steaming cup of hot chocolate into a little cup in a gloved hand as your breath blows white in the cold. Hot chocolate is transformed from a nice drink to a real treat.

Take hot drinks with you when you explore and have adventures and take time to stop and warm through. A thermos of hot chocolate for the kids and coffee for the adults is a great cold day alternative to a picnic and is the stuff memories are made of.

When you’re cold, keep moving

Movement helps keep the cold at bay, so try and make sure you’re doing an outdoor activity that keeps the body active. Why not try a rainy day bike ride or jumping on the trampoline? Don’t forget those waterproofs.

Keeping active doesn’t just keep the kids out longer; it keeps you out longer too. It’s a great way to exercise and build memories with your kids. You could try a family game of Frisbee or flying a kite on a windy day. It’s essential to get involved with your kids and not leave all of the imaginative play up to them. They are far more likely to stay out if they see you having fun too.

The takeaway

Whichever activities you do to get the kids outdoors, one thing is for sure. Outdoor play in the cold will build your kids memories, resilience and imagination. The health benefits for them and you are second to none, and you might just start to see the world through your kid’s eyes and wouldn’t that be wonderful?

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