This post originally appeared on OffRoadDiscovery.com
“Teaching children about the natural world should be treated as one of the most important events in their lives.” -Thomas Berry
Winter can be a challenging season for anyone. Add small kids to the mix and getting out can seem daunting if not impossible at times. Just like many aspects of life with kids making a routine can make it easier to get outside in the cold and snow. I’ll be honest, we aren’t hard core into routines but implementing a few outdoor focused routines has made getting outside easier on the parents (therefore easier on the kids).
How to Make an Outdoor Winter Routine
Start with organization for at home and when traveling
Our oldest is now 4 and it took me pretty much 3 years to finally organize our families outdoor clothing, boots, hats, gloves, scarfs, etc. We did this by placing hooks on our walls for kids snow suits and separate bins for each person’s gloves, hats and all the small stuff. Getting the kids dressed can take a time but a lot less when you know where to find everything.
When traveling for skiing we use two designated outdoor winter gear bags. We downhill ski weekly so one bag keeps all the main gear (boots, helmets, ski passes) in the same place so we can find it. The other bag is for items that need to be used when not skiing or replaced daily such as gloves, mitts, diapers, spare clothes, water bottles, food, colouring books, toys etc.
Next figure out mode of transportation
This may change depending on what you are doing but I have found one thing to make life WAY easier. First I need to say strollers are horrible in snow. Yes the big outdoor strollers can often push through but they aren’t easy to get in and out of cars and take up way too much space if travelling anywhere. Toboggans are wonderful if there is enough snow, even on sidewalks but if sidewalks are clear pulling a toboggan on cement can be like nails on a chalkboard. Again toboggans take up significant space and there is often not room for one in a vehicle. This is where baby / toddler wearing really comes handy. Kids love to explore the snow but even older kids may need to be carried over ice and snow at times. We love our Onya Baby Nexstep Carrier as an everyday child carrier. The Onya Baby Nexstep takes up no car space and can be used as a backpack for spare diapers, keys, snacks, and gloves while out and about without the need of a stroller.
Having a child carrier while hiking and walking doesn’t always mean a kid will be in it, it’s largely there as ‘just in case’. Plus it can easily hold a diaper, snack, removed mittens, etc - so no need for a small pack.
Our two year old still usually ends up in the carrier at some point.
Get out everyday
Routine is about making something a regular procedure vs a special event. There is plenty of activities young kids can participate in winter in the outdoors including x-country skiing, tobogganing, downhill skiing, snowshoeing, skating and even taking the dog for a walk or walking to a coffee shop for a special treat of hot chocolate. We participate in each of these activities as a family, most commonly we walk the dog and go tobogganing during the week and ski and skate on the weekends. Every week we use the Nexstep carrier, we honestly can’t imagine an active outdoor lifestyle without one.
Our dog gets two walks a day, the first is often very early when our youngest awakes. A carrier is required to keep moving and give our dog some exercise.
Creating an outdoor winter routine is about making Outdoor Adventures with Toddlers more manageable. We try to make time in the outdoors a priority for our family and have been grateful and truly happy we have.
We love the Onya Baby Nexstep for our family winter adventures because it is easy to pack, easily adjustable, turns into a travel seat and is made from 100% recycled polyester. Unlike cotton carriers when the polyester gets wet it dries quickly. Since it snows a lot where we live we appreciate that it will dry out in a few hours opposed to overnight. The Nexstep carrier turns into a travel baby seat so we have no need for a booster seat and can easily travel to ‘less kid friendly’ environments that may not have high chairs.
We have lent our carrier to friends when in need, here’s one of our little friends in a ski yurt ready for some delicious snacks!
Go create some routines that make sense for your family and we wish you many fun winter adventures with little fuss!
Please note that I was given a Onya Baby product to facilitate this review, however all views of the product are my own. I tested both my 2 and 4 year old in this product as well as some friends’ children.