Conquer the Cold 2022

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Conquer the Cold 2021

We had a fantastic time ‘at’ this event! Here are the resources and links that were shared by the presenters and participants.

Manitoba Nature Summit invites you to join us around the virtual campfire for a series of free, hands-on workshops supporting outdoor winter learning. Gain resources, connections, and inspiration for getting out in the cold and staying safe.

Join us via ZOOM at any time during the event. Click Here or use link at bottom of the page.


11:15 AM
Brief Welcome, Housekeeping, and Intro from Host(s)Kayla and Host
11:15 AM
11:45 AM
Tips for Safe Winter LearningKristi Fitzgerald
11:45 AM
12:15 PM
Winter Detectives: Finding Evidence of Animals in the SnowJim Duncan
12:15 PM
Campfire Break – Network, Have a Snack, and Discuss the Winter Calendar ChallengeHost and Committee Members
1:00 PM
Winter ArtCorine Anderson
1:00 PM
1:15 PM
Snowflake Identification with ChildrenMadeleine Baisburd
1:15 PM
1:45 PM.
Winter ResilienceLeah Smith
1:45 PM
2:00 PM
Campfire Break – Network, Share, and Discuss the Winter Calendar ChallengeHost and Committee Members
2:00 PM
2:30 PM
Winter Wildlife AdaptationsHeather Hinam

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Meeting ID: 890 7936 2833
Passcode: 0A$20h54
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Pro-tips For Extended Winter Outdoor Play

A grandmother and her grandson kneel on top of a snow hill. They are looking down into a hole they are digging in the hill with shovels. The are wearing winter clothing and there is a forest in the back ground.

We’ve all heard there’s “no such thing as inappropriate weather only inappropriate clothing” and we know that during a pandemic the best spot for children to be is outside. However, this knowledge doesn’t help get a group of ten 3 year old children into their snow pants and out the door without a meltdown- does it?

Therefore we’ve assembled some tips from the pros for you to use as resources so that you can spend your winter building epic snow forts rather than in an epic stand off over wearing mittens..

Step 1:

Go outside everyday! It sounds like an over-simplification, but routine is key.

There are days where the weather is so inclement that it will impede quality play- but I encourage you to dress up, go outside, and test it out- instead of relying on notoriously unreliable weather apps to decide your day. Also, it’s a fact that weather always looks more daunting from the inside. As soon as you open the door to staying in you set a precedent for leaving your proper clothing at home or watching more videos. Absolutely come inside if the weather is hazardous (lightening, high winds knocking branches off etc.) but most inclement weather can be mitigated (do a risk/benefit assessment if you are worried) and 10 minutes outside is better than 0 minutes.

This post is coming at you from Winnipeg (aka Winterpeg) Canada where we have -30 Celsius temps in the winter and +30 Celsius temps in the summer and still we manage to take young children outdoors for hours at a time safely, and happily and with proper clothing- you can too! In fact there are Forest School programs in Yellowknife, Alaska and plenty of other cold places.

Step 2:

Girl stands on snow, wearing winter clothing, and a hat. She's holding a shovel in her right hand and facing towards the left of the frame. There is snow and a large spruce tree in the back ground.

Create a culture of outdoor play in any weather! Whether it’s for your family or your classroom, make sure you are setting an expectation from the get-go that you play outside in all weathers. Change how you talk about the weather so that you are always using positive language. Include outdoor play in all weathers in your job descriptions and policy manuals. Post photos of happy people playing in the rain, mud and snow. Read books about playing out in all weathers. Turn interesting weather into a challenge and an adventure rather than an impediment.

I was once on a walking trip to the library with a group of 5 year old children, when a surprise black cloud blew up as we were halfway between the library and home. Without much warning, small hail (we call it sleet) started coming down from the cloud and we rushed to huddle together under a tree. It wasn’t hazardous, but the small pieces of ice hitting our faces did sting! It lasted only a few minutes, but it became the kindergarten classes favourite part of the whole trip- in spite of the lovely story time and magic show at the library. The children talked about this event for weeks.

Now some of you are saying: “Why are they encouraging people to do dangerous things like playing outside in extreme weather?!?” Just as one person’s garbage is another’s treasure- one person’s inclement weather is another’s lovely day. Here in Canada, we all know someone who wears flip-flops and shorts when the weather is -5 Celcius (brrrr). However, people have been living safely in places with extreme temperatures for all of human history and before there was goretex, merino wool and A/C units. So probably, children can manage to go outside for 30 minutes of active play even if there is a windchill.

Step 3:

It’s all about your layers. Dressing appropriately is not about expensive, designer gear- but rather about having a good base layer (spoiler alert- not cotton) and a variety of easy to remove upper layers. This is because, dressing too warmly, can cause you to sweat and sweat is the enemy of staying warm. Sometimes as adults we worry about our children and try to compensate by dressing them super warm, forgetting that they are likely to be 3 times as active as we are. Too warm clothing can be bulky and impede play in addition to causing sweat. If you’d like to know more about appropriate layers I recommend this blog by Momenta, this video guide on how to dress for Forest School, and this guest blog by Jasmine Nault who plays outside with children in Thompson, Manitoba.

Step 4:

Foster Independence. Allow children to remove or wear outdoor clothing when it is safe to do so. Teach them how do their own risk assessment (according to their developmental level). Teach them the signs of frost bite and hypothermia and ways to mitigate it. Use science not fear in your explanation. This will eliminate the stressful standoff when it’s time to dress for the outdoors. A reasonable and natural consequence for not dressing appropriately is that you have to interrupt your play and go inside. Or sometimes, when it’s safe, it’s that you have to wear wet pants until everyone else is ready to go indoors. Always treat children as though they are capable and competent and they will be happy to play outside.

Find ways for your children to become self-sufficient in their dressing:

  • Allow enough time. If you in a rush, you will feel stressed and so will the children.
  • Think of dressing as it’s own valuable activity rather than something that is eating into time for a better activity
  • Make it fun: sing a song, play a game, be silly, enjoy the journey.
  • Use a visual poster so children know what to put on next.
  • Try the jacket flip trick.
  • Set all the boots and snow pants up like a fire fighter does with the boots already tucked into the pants. So children can just step in and pull up.
  • Ensure all winter clothes can be stored together and are easily accessible for the children.
  • Do the winter clothes classroom challenge.
  • Dress a stuffed animal or a doll in outdoor winter clothing so children can practice zippers and snaps and order of dressing.
  • Encourage teamwork! It’s so much easier to do up someone else’s zipper than your own. Children can help each other with their mittens and boots.
  • Gloves are never as warm as mittens. If your child absolutely insists on gloves have a back up set of mittens or you’ll never be able to stay out for more than 20 minutes

Step 5:

Make winter fun! Most traditional playground equipment loses it’s functionality during the winter. Luckily snow is the original loose part and with a little effort your children will be eager to play out in the winter.


  • Sleds- if you don’t have a hill tie a short rope to the sled so children can pull each other. Sled rides are great for infants and toddlers who have difficulties moving around in the snow.
  • Shovels and buckets for digging and building
  • Make a “snow kitchen“- just like a mud kitchen but with snow
  • Ask your friendly-neighbourhood tractor owner to make a snow hill for you
  • Snow Saws! These snow toys are genius!
  • Snow science experiments- snow volcano, rainbow icicles, frozen bubbles and much more!
  • Make outdoor ice decorations, bird feeders, edible tree decorations and a Swedish snow lantern.
  • Forts and Quinzees– if you don’t have enough snow use tarps and old blankets to create winter shelter! You could also gather branches.
  • Winter citizen science projects
  • Winter sports: hockey, curling, skiing, snowshoeing, skating etc.
  • Winter time is a great time to look for animal tracks. Even the most urban neighbourhoods have birds, mice, rabbits, squirrels, deer and raccoons who are making tracks in the snow.

Step 6:

When you come inside…

  • Have an easily accessible spot to store your gear so you can find it next time!
  • Invest in a mitten/boot drying rack
  • Throw wet snow pants in the dryer (make sure they aren’t dirty first and check the pockets for crayons… trust me…learned the hard way…) so you’ll be ready to head back outside asap
  • Put some soup, cider or hot chocolate in the slow cooker before you head out so it’ll be warm and ready when you come inside.
  • I recommend a good cuddle under a blanket with a book while you warm up

**Shout out to the Manitoba ECE’s and CCA’s Facebook page where I got many of these ideas!

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2020 Annual General Meeting

Important Update!

Due to COVID-19 this meeting will be held as a brief video chat instead.

Did you know? as a non-profit, charitable organization we need to hold an Annual General Meeting where we review our previous fiscal year and most recent audited financial statements?

It’s that time again! Come hang out, roast some stuff over the fire and reflect on what the Manitoba Nature Summit was up to during the last year!
You know the drill:

Meet us at the Duck Pond at St. Vital Park on Wednesday, March 18th

Fire starts at 6:00 and the meeting is at 7:00. We’ll have meaty and veggie dogs, buns, condiments.

We can’t guarantee the excitement of last year’s agm but we are pretty fun to hang out with around the campfire and we had an exciting year! so we’d love to share it with you. Bonus points if you rsvp so we know how many foods to purchase. Children welcome

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MNACC- 1000 Hours Outside: Make & Take

Registration on Survey Monkey . Email Kayla at to get added to the email list.

Watch for the next MNACC Networking event coming in February!

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Conquer the Cold 2020

Conquer the Cold 2020

Welcome to the future peeps! It’s 2020 and we aren’t going to the cold keep us indoors anymore! We’ll be spending the day embracing the chill and developing our skills for taking children outdoors for winter fun and learning.

three people are gathered around fire pans, making small fires. it is snowy.


Join us outside for a circuit style of rotating workshops, designed to offer a diverse approach to enjoying the deep winter cold. Blending survival skills, movement activities with seasonal information and comfort foods, this day will leave you feeling inspired and capable of connecting to nature all year long.

Children who are attending with their adult can participate in a Forest School style adventure in the forest trails behind the house with trained staff for their own unique winter experience or they are welcome to attend workshops with their parent.

To Purchase a ticket for $30/adult please visit Eventbrite  

There is no cost for children to register but you must register them for the forest school area if you wish to leave them in the care of caregivers while you attend workshops. If you plan to bring your child with you to workshops and supervise them directly at the Forest School area then no action is required. The forest school area is for children aged 4-12.

TO REGISTER YOUR CHILD for the childminding/forest school area please EMAIL THE NATURE SUMMIT DIRECTLY: Please use the subject line: CTC 2020 Registration

*parents of children registered in the forest school/childminding area must remain on site at all times.

Venue: Join us at the enchanting McBeth House in East St. Paul (31 McBeth Avenue, Winnipeg). It is accessible by Winnipeg Transit or use our event page on Facebook to arrange a carpool.

There will be a light lunch of a (vegan) soup and bannock. We will also have campfire snacks/dessert at the Campfire station.

Workshops- rotating 30min at each station

#1- Historical Winter Survival with Naturalist Murray Gillespie: This will be our “warm up station” inside McBeth House. Murray will share how people have survived in Manitoba long before contact and high-tech winter gear!

#2- Camp Fire Connections with MNS crew: Practice your fire making skills, cook snacks over the fire, Learn tips on having campfires with kids. Bring your best campfire songs and stories!

#3- Conquer the Cold: A “How To” Approach with Early Childhood Educator Leah Smith. Experience the cold and practical ways to warm up and cool off, experimenting with layers and movement as a way to enjoy the outdoors while also learning the signs, symptoms and risks of being over exposed to low temperatures

#4- Snowshoe Adventures with Teacher Bela Ferreira

#5- Winter Lo0se Parts Play Station with Early Childhood Educators Kayla Mauricio and Jennifer Prettie: Snow is the original loose part! Stop in and make snow and ice creations!

Extending our time outside in winter in Manitoba is vital to our overall health and well being. By the end of this experience you will be more resilient, well connected and informed leading to your ability to Conquer the Cold!

Who should attend the Manitoba Nature Summit events? Our mandate is to connect people who want to expand outdoor play opportunities for children in Manitoba through experiential professional development- so if that sounds like you, then you should attend! We have teachers, ECE’s, administrators, scout leaders, home-schoolers, unschoolers, school trustees, principals, naturalists and nature lovers attend our events and we hope you will too!

The McBeth House building is wheel chair accessible. If you have any accessibility questions or concerns please email us and we’ll do our best to accommodate you.

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Summit 2020 Call for Proposals

The Manitoba Nature Summit would like to invite you to send us your workshop proposals for the 2020 Nature Summit which will be held September 24th, 25th, & 26th at Camp Assiniboia (2220 Lido Plage Rd, MB).

Manitoba Nature Summit is a non-profit, charitable organization that provides opportunities for educators to learn about nature, alleviate fears, and pass a renewed sense of wonder on to the children in their lives.  We aim to engage educators in the outdoors and give them the inspiration and confidence to foster creativity, adventure, and an appreciation of the natural world in their students.

2020 is our 10-year anniversary summit so we want to make it extra special. We are very excited about our new venue but that is not the only change we are making. This summit will begin on Thursday evening with some informal networking opportunities, a communal supper cooked on the campfire, and plenty of time to get settled in to your accommodations. Keynotes and workshops will be held on Friday and Saturday.

Our goal is to provide workshops for educators that are hands on and develop concrete skills that they can use to get children outside. Topics can range from birding, fishing, geocaching, art, drama, music to orienteering, outdoor cooking, wild crafting, tree climbing, group games, risk assessment, forest school, and much more!

While most of our participants work with children between 3-12 years of age we also have participants that work with infants and youth. Workshops are also required to emphasize inclusive practice.  Please specify what age group(s) your workshop is best suited for e.g. Infants/Preschool (3 months-5 years), School-Age (6-12 years) or Youth (10-18 years).

*The Manitoba Nature Summit is an outdoor conference (rain/snow/shine). Indoor time should be very limited and power point presentations are discouraged* No really – don’t plan a power point!

If you are interested in presenting a workshop at the 2020 Manitoba Nature Summit please use the workshop proposal form located below.  Click on the link to open the form.  Use ‘save as’ to save it to your computer.  When you have completed all the sections please save the document again using your name instead of ‘naturesummit’ in the file name.  Email your completed proposal to and we will get back to you ASAP. Deadline for submissions is January 19th, 2020.

2020 Nature Summit Workshop Proposal Form

Whittling Workshop
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Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children 2.0

What’s an MNACC you ask? well, you should probably come on out and we’ll tell you all about it!

We’ll have a tour of Seven Oaks and learn about their program. Ron Blatz will tell us all a little about the Manitoba Nature Action Collaborative for Children. We’ll let you know what’s new with the Manitoba Nature Summit and Leah Smith will tell you about Forest School Field Trips!

Pls RSVP so we know how much space we’ll need. Can’t wait to see you!

The parking is complicated so pls follow the instructions below.

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DIY Homesteader Festival

If you’re looking for something to do before our Pizza and Movie Night Fundraiser please consider joining our friends at the DIY Homesteader Festival.

The DIY Homesteader Festival is a grassroots event in Manitoba, Canada. It’s a two-day, one-of-a-kind event, with a weekend summer camp vibe, featuring over 30 workshops for urban and rural homesteaders on topics related to permaculture, market gardening, raising animals, natural building, traditional foods cooking, and so much more! There’s live music, a DIY Kids Area, camping, local food vendors, a handmade & homegrown market and a small trade show. New this year, Momenta is coming out to offer a Foresthood programming option for kids so their parents can attend workshops solo!

The festival takes place August 10 & 11, 2019 on a beautiful 80 acre farm of field and forest. Cityfolk Farm is a stone’s throw from Lake Winnipeg, the Brokenhead Wetland Interpretive Trail, Selkirk, Beausejour, Lac du Bonnet, Grand Beach and other wonderful beaches in the area. We hope to see you there!

Entry tickets and workshop tickets can be purchased at  Get your workshop tickets soon to avoid missing out on the amazing learning opportunities! Workshop listing at

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Pizza & Movie Night with Manitoba Nature Summit: New and Improved!!

August 22nd, 2019 6:15-9:45 

We tried to do this screening in April but had technical difficulties…. but now we are back and better than ever!

Bring your lawn chair or blanket, your bug spray and your kids! If they don’t like the films they can play in the playground.

Now the screening will be outdoors (with an indoor back up) in Discovery Children’s Centre’s wonderful Adventure Playground at 367 Hampton Street, Winnipeg!

Tickets are available on Showpass /


The first film is:
All The Time in the World: Disconnecting to Reconnect. A documentary by Suzanne Crocker.
In search of a new perspective, a family of five leave the comforts of home to live remotely in the Yukon wilderness during the long northern winter and amidst the surprises that the rawness of nature provide. The parents leave their jobs and take their three children, ages 10, 8 and 4, to spend nine months living in a small cabin with no road access, no electricity, no running water, and no internet, no TV, no phone and, most importantly, no clocks or watches.

Filmed over 9 months, off the grid, without external crew, and featuring the unique perspectives of children, All The Time In The World explores the theme of disconnecting from our hectic and technology laden lives in order to reconnect with each other, ourselves and our natural environment – parents connecting with children, children connecting with nature.

Image from The Land (2015)

The second film is The Land by Erin Davis
The trailer can be viewed on their facebook page

The Land (2015) is a short documentary film about the nature of play, risk and hazard set in The Land, a Welsh “adventure” playground. At The Land children climb trees, light fires and use hammers and nails in a play-space rooted in the belief that kids are empowered when they learn to manage risks on their own. 

Ticket price ($15/person) includes 2 slices of pizza!
Popcorn available for an additional charge.

6:15  Tour of Discovery Children’s Centre/Networking/Pizza

7:00Welcome/Opening remarks

7:15 Screening of Manitoba Nature Summit film (15 mins)

7:30 Screening of All the Time in the World (87 mins)

9:00 Intermission/ Discussion

9:10 Screening of The Land (22 mins)

This event is a fundraiser for the Manitoba Nature Summit.

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