As a family, we think it is important to adventure the whole year round, not just when it is warm and sunny. In fact, some of the best adventure opportunities are in the colder months as the weather adds a new dimension; making even the simplest of outdoor activities (walking) more exciting and thrilling. If you have ever taken your kids out in a gale, storm or in a blizzard, you will know where I am coming from!
Take advantage of the changing weather
Winter adventures can be so much more than getting the Christmas tree together or building a snow fort outside. It can be a great time to teach your children to revere the mysterious perils of Mother Nature – and how to survive in them. That said, the last thing we want to do is be so gung-ho and irresponsible that we risk putting our young adventurers in danger. And even if they’re safe, we don’t want them to have a miserable experience with bad weather that turns them off adventuring altogether.
If you’re thinking about having some family adventures this winter, here are a few tips and winter activities for families to help you make some happy memories out in the cold together:
1. Get into gear
We are firm believers that there is no such thing as bad weather, just the wrong clothing. If you have the right footwear and outerwear for the conditions you are going out in – or more importantly, the right gear should the conditions change while you are out – then you have a better chance of enjoying the adventure. And that’s what family adventures are all about, right? Involve the kids in the preparation of any of your winter adventures by looking at the weather forecast together, thinking about the conditions you might experience, and packing your bag together to make sure everyone takes responsibility for their own gear and apparel.
2. Remember it’s different for the kids
One small step for man, one giant leap for a child! If you are thinking about adventuring in the depths of winter with a youngster, remember to consider their comfort zones and perception of what is fun – it might vary considerably to yours. Then, push their experiences and tolerances slowly and carefully, making sure you have their buy-in at all times. So, before a sub-zero camping trip out on the summit of a mountain, build up slowly, starting with a camp in the garden in colder conditions to make sure your gear is up to the task of keeping you all warm, snug and dry. Make sure to invest in some good zero-degree or below sleeping bags before you go, and don’t forget to bring socks and boots inside the tent to keep them from freezing overnight.
You may also want to consider snowshoes for the kids or a family adventure that involves cross-country skiing. While you may not mind trudging through six-to-twelve inches of snow, your little ones will, especially if it’s up to their knees. Keeping them on top of the snow and their feet as dry as possible will lead to happier campers. Another tip is to spend as much time outside every day doing fun winter activities for families like skating, day hikes and more so that your kids get to know how their clothing and equipment functions differently in the cold. Then strike out on those bigger and better adventures!
3. Have a mini adventure!
Snowy conditions offer some great opportunities for exciting winter family adventures, often without actually going very far from where you live. Say ‘No’ to clearing the driveway of snow, and instead get the sleds out, load them with a camp stove, water and food and head out on a mini-expedition. Make a simple rope harness that the kids can tie around themselves and they will feel like real explorers as they head out over the local hills and fields that have transformed into a new exciting landscape by the snow and ice. Stop somewhere and cook a meal, or just warm some soup up. If there is enough snow, have a go at making a shelter or igloo. Or even just play in the snowdrifts – it’s great fun and guaranteed to put a smile on everyone’s cheeks; kids and adults alike.
Build character with winter adventures
It is important to encourage your children to grow up with a positive mindset and an appetite for adventure and opportunities… in fact, for life itself. Winter adventuring is a good vehicle for developing a strong mind and the ability to cope with and adapt to challenges and difficulties. Done carefully and with the individual child’s abilities in mind, it can be character building and fun.
So, KEEP WARM, DRY, HAPPY and CARRY ON ADVENTURING!