The following was sent to us by Jasmine Nault. The Manitoba Nature Summit was started because we (the committee) wanted to connect with all the amazing people in this province who are fighting the good fight to get kids outside. As part of that goal we like to share stories. If you’d like to send us a guest blog email firstname.lastname@example.org- we’d love to hear from you. A big thanks to Jasmine for sharing her story!
I feel this year is my golden year, my kids are old enough to truly have great outdoor adventures with but not old enough to go to school yet. I am a stay at home mom with a part-time day care in Thompson, Manitoba. When the fall came I could already start noticing my children’s behaviour changing due to reduced hours outside and physical activity. So I decided to try my best this year not to let up with our outdoor excursions no matter what.
This year in Thompson, November brought record-breaking snow falls and December brought record-breaking cold, it’s been an awesome winter to witness and experience.
For my children and I to fall in love with winter, we had to be out there every day noticing new opportunities with each new snow fall to play and explore.
The first few snow falls meant we could make snow men, then tobogganing and snow angels.
Walks in the woods brought the discovery and animal tracking, forest picnics and games of hide and seek.
More cold and snow meant igloo making, skating, skiing, snow hill climbing and sliding and snowmobiling. Bird feeding and outdoor dramatic play have been an unexpected pleasure with new teachable moments. So many things such as going to the Zoo, a water fall, fishing, simply playing with a toy car or climbing a tree is a completely different experience in the winter with a different charm and calm.
Meeting the challenge of dressing children for extreme colds is a learning process I seem to go through every year. Heat packs in hands and feet are great for toddlers. I’ve adopted a rule of 3 warm quality layers on every part of a child’s body. Such as: Feet,one pair of regular socks under a pair of woolly socks with good quality winter boot. Head: hat the covers the ears and ties under chin, neck warmer, hood and scarf. Getting them dressed takes a while but I lay everything out before calling them over and it’s become routine. Even in -40 I don’t worry if they are cold while we are outside, because we have done it many time before and small children are biologically very good about letting us know they are uncomfortable, they would let me know if they are cold before frost bite would have a chance to happen. I always fully dress and send outside the older one first then the younger, even if we are just going to the store that way they still get to play in the yard a few more minutes every day.
Knowing how to delight in winter and have creative play in cold temperatures has been a learned skill with intentional effort that has made winter incredibly enjoyable for my children and I.