By Oren Gersten, Pediatric Programs Coordinator, Brookside Community Health Center
The cold weather might drive some of us indoors where it’s warm and cozy…and where we’re likely to eat more and move less. But cold weather does not have to limit your family’s outdoor fun! There’s lots to do outside in the winter, especially when there’s snow.
Winter is a special time for family activities like ice skating, playing in the snow, walking or hiking, and sledding. Snow can be a great source of entertainment for kids, so encourage your children to get out and make snowmen, snow angels, and snow forts.
Winter can be a beautiful and peaceful time to take a walk or hike, and there are lots of options nearby including the Jamaica Pond, Southwest Corridor, Charles River Esplanade, Freedom Trail, or Blue Hills.
The key to having fun outdoors in the winter is to dress for the weather. Here are some simple tips:
- Dress in layers, both on the top and bottom. Make the outside layer wind-proof or water-proof, especially if children are playing in the snow.
- Wear a hat – this really helps to keep body heat in!
- Wear gloves or mittens, depending on what you’re doing.
- Wear boots – or if you don’t have them, wear warm wool or synthetic socks (not cotton).
Cold weather puts us at risk of hypothermis and frostbite. Listen to your body and share these rules with your children:
- If you start shivering, it’s time to go inside.
- If your nose, ears, fingers, or toes start hurting, it’s time to go inside.
- Drink water before, during, and after the time you’re outside.
When the snow comes down, many kids head outside with their sleds. If you’ve got hills nearby, make sure your children stay away from streets and steer clear of trees, fences, and walking paths. Avoid icy hills, and sled only in the daylight. Get more sledding safety tips here.
Try something new
Have your children ever tried skiing or snowboarding? Youth Enrichment Services (YES) in Roxbury exposes young people to snow sports, providing transportation, equipment, and education. Your child can build his or her confidence while trying out a new activity. If you’d like to learn more about upcoming events with YES, call 617-267-5877 or email Will Morales at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Remember that wintertime is about enjoying what winter has to offer. Watch for our February Healthy How-To article for more activity ideas to keep your children busy during school vacation.
What wintertime outdoor activities does your family enjoy?
What tips do you have for staying warm and happy outside in the winter?