Thursday, November 20, 2014

Get Outside! (Even in Winter with the Kids)

Four of us bundled up for a cargobike ride
Besides the fact that kids need a few hours of exercise a day & the easiest way for mine to get that is at the park, we also bike everywhere. Year round, rain or shine, we're on the bike going where we need to go. So when I saw a few posts floating around Facebook about how to bundle kids up for the recent cold weather here in Vancouver, I thought I might have something useful to share with you.

Here's a roundup of tips for getting the kids outside & keeping them warm. One caveat, before we get going: these tips are based on my experience here in Vancouver, where the temperature only very rarely gets past the single digits below zero,  & we only get a week or two with actual snow stuck to the ground, so if you live somewhere colder, they may not apply.

Baby It's Cold Outside!

During Linnaeus' second winter, I wrote Winter Baby Tips, with some ideas to keep your tot toasty when they're strapped into the stroller or baby carrier, including a review of our favourite item of baby clothing for winter: the MEC Ursus bunting.

Honey, I layered the kids

Now that I've got a preschooler & a toddler, my focus is more on clothes for the chilly visits to the park or bike rides. Rain or shine, it's all about the layers. On cold but dry days, that looks like winter coats, maybe an extra fleece underneath, hats or hoods, long underwear or leggings under pants, mittens, thick socks & boots. For cold & wet days, we go with fleece layers over clothes, gumboots with double socks, water resistant mittens, then one-piece rain suits over everything. We have both Tuffo Muddy Buddies (I get ours here) & MEC Newt Suits.

I particularly love MEC's fleece hoodies for little kids--the hoods are snug & close fitting, so they work under a muddy buddy hood or a bike helmet & are difficult for toddlers to pull off.

Forgetting anyone?

You're probably all focussed on keeping your kids warm at the park, but like me one day last week, forgot about yourself. I should have worn warmer footwear than the leather riding boots I had on, & maybe an extra pair of leggings. My toes were numb by the time I got home from the park at dusk, even after the mostly uphill bike ride home. Oops!

Bringing along a hot drink in one of these awesome spill-proof Contigo mugs (full review here) is good too--it'll stay hot for the entire time you're there & keep you warm from the inside out. Also: they just squeeze into a bike bottle cage, if you're riding.

That's a wrap

Lastly, I'll leave you with a little motivation to get out there for walks or rides in the holidays: I♥Biking: Riding in Winter.

Have you got any tips to share for keeping kids warm outside in winter? What about those of you who are in cooler climes than the balmy Wet Coast of Canada?

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