I don’t know about you, but winter is not my favourite time of the year – I would much prefer to sit on a beach somewhere warm, playing in the waves and trying to catch a fish. But, since we choose to live in Southern Australia (and we choose not to completely hibernate over winter) we have to come up with some awesome activities over the colder months of the year to keep ourselves entertained. So, being an outdoorsy kind of gal, I like to take the family to the snow.
I will not lie and say we go camping in the snow (not until my kids get a fair bit older and we can do a snow weekend where we cross country ski and stay overnight on the mountain), but we love to do day trips either to a resort such as Mt St Gwinear or by simply driving to find some in our 4WD.
Here is what I do know: kids love snow, but kids also get cold a lot quicker than us adults. So, here are my top tips for taking kids to the snow this winter.
If you need three layers of clothing on, the kids will need at least 4. Thermals are a must for the little ones, as they will keep their core temperature warm, even if their extremities are feeling cold. Polypropylene is lightweight and wicks moisture away from the body, making it ideal for use in the snow. Polar fleece jumpers are great for the same reason. A pair of snow pants and a waterproof breathable jacket is a must.
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Pack a LOT of food, and make sure some of it is warm! I take a thermos full of boiling water, add hotdogs before I leave home, take some rolls and we instantly have warm hotdogs for lunch. On the way up to the snow, I make sure my kids have bananas, as they are full of goodness and keep them going for longer. Sandwiches, chips, muesli bars and lollies all make their way into the lunchbox too. Just make sure nothing can freeze, I have been caught out in the past, bringing fruit juice prima boxes only to have them freeze making them useless.
Make sure everyone has a lot to drink, maybe even with some electrolytes in them, to keep everyone well hydrated. Just because its cold, doesn’t mean you cant overheat or become dehydrated. Another thermos full of premade hot chocolate is a lovely surprise after lunch.
A toilet training toddler + snow pants = a lot of hassles and probably a few accidents. Take extra, extra pants for these kids, as snow pants are super hard to get off quickly. Maybe a pull-up just for the day is an option? I tried this with my son, and he refused, so we had many accidents. Next time, I will be forcing the issue.
Waterproof gloves / mittens. These are a must, no excuses. These can be hard to find so shop around well before you leave. Mittens are a lot easier to get onto little hands, but it means they won’t be able to pick things up as easily, so make food and other items easy to grab.
Sunglasses or snow goggles, and sunscreen. Snow blindness is horrible, and can catch you out easily. Sunscreen is a must, especially on your nose, ears, and under your chin (think reflected light off the snow).
Whatever You Do, Don't Forget the Carrot
Take items to build a snowman from. We forgot the carrot for the nose last time, and the tantrum was massive (but pretty funny really…).
Pimp Your Ride
Hire a toboggan! Take a brightly coloured ribbon and tie it to the rope, so you can easily identify the toboggan you’ve hired…saves a lot of hassle when there are 50 toboggans left outside the café.
If possible, consider buying the same beanies for all of your family / group. It makes identifying which daredevil is yours, a lot quicker. I have done this for my class in the past, and makes counting heads a lot easier.
If you are going skiing, and you have older dare devils who like to go on their own, have a rendezvous point and time, at least a couple of times per day. Say, “I’ll meet you at the café for lunch at 12. Please don’t be late.”
Remember to carry chains, even if you have a 4WD. Safety is super important in hazardous zones. Turn on your headlights, even in the middle of the day. Lift your wipers up off the windscreen, so the rubber doesn’t stick to the window.
Most of all...
Have fun and take lots of pics! I love the video we have of our two toddlers seeing and experiencing snow for the first time – their eyes lit up, and the smiles were infectious. Don’t miss it!