Is Winter giving you the blues? Not enough snow to send the kids outside? Too low temps to safely play outside? What does any stir crazy,outdoor loving, cabin fevered mom do? Get ready for warmer temps by finding Ways to Beat the Winter Blues! In this multi-post series I will share with you some ideas to get your family ready for Spring and Summer by taking simple steps now. I will share a variety of easy craft and DIY projects to inspire you and prepare you for the seasons ahead!
Nothing is worse then getting the kids all gathered up to go play in the Spring showers or to go hiking to find things no longer fit! If you have a lot of kids and always save your “gear” you might be able to re-assign some items. Otherwise you will need to keep an eye out for gear that is the right size for your children. Ask friends and family to keep an eye out or trade with another family that is also nature lovers. Will you join me in beating the Winter Blues?
What “Spring Gear” are We Talking About:
1. Rain jackets or ponchos- my daughter refused to wear her rain jacket the other day announcing it was making her look fat! She is 8 1/2 and skinny as a whip. She had worn this same snap fronted rain jacket for 3 years, rolling up the sleeves since they were too long until last year. Who knows why she decided “style” while playing in the rain is now important? I made sure to tell her they are supposed to be roomy so you can move around and play.
2. Rain Boots/Galoshes/Wellies- whatever you call them you will need a pair for EACH adventurous member of your family! Get them all out, write down the sizes you own, and then have children try them on. Make sure you see them walk in them successfully. DO NOT TAKE THEIR word that a pair fits. We found this out last year when my eldest son said his boots fit but barely. We had to stop at a consignment store on the way to our Nocturnal Wetland Romp so we had the proper shoes-ugh!
3. Thin Gloves- I suggest a pair of stretchy knit gloves that can be kept in the pockets of your rain jackets or in your nature packs! WHY? Often a nature program or hike goes through various areas including forest, near a pond, on a hill, etc. You never know when a cool breeze will hit and little and big fingers become cold!
4. Umbrellas- Do you have at least one working umbrella per car? ARE YOU SURE? Better to double check NOW, then be caught in the rain toting infants and small children without one! Be sure it works and is big enough for at least 2 people. We had bought each child an umbrella with a character on it when they were 3-5 yrs. old. Those are almost all broke and now need to get Lil’ Red his own character umbrella for his birthday or Easter. I had a compact umbrella bite the dust after 5 or so years. When do I think of it? While dashing to my car through the rain to go somewhere!
5. Nature Packs- Does your family do lots of day hiking or nature explorations? Maybe they would be inclined to do more IF they had their own packs. Now these are not packs filled so heavy that a child could NOT carry. These packs would hold the rain gear previously mentioned- just in case! Magnifying glasses, binoculars, small insect or bird book, sketch pad with self-sharpening colored pencils, a bottle of water, and a small healthy snack. We are lucky enough to live in an area where one of the Metroparks offers a program to earn a nature backpack per person! If you live near a pack system that offers packs or nature tools TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THE PROGRAMS! You and your children will learn so much. OR just use and old backpack that isn’t too big for each child like a sling bag!
6. Walking/Hiking Sticks- Does your family enjoy using hiking sticks on your outdoor adventures? When was the last time you used then? Do you know where they are at? Do they still fit each member of the family (come to their armpits)? Do you have any littler members that need one? Maybe you need to make/buy one for an older child and pass the outgrown one down! My children have been lucky enough to have a grandpa make them each one, BUT we will need to make a few more to accommodate the growth over the last year!
7. Small First Aid Kit– A small pre-made kit like the Travel Johnson & Johnson or create your own in a plastic soap dish, altoid tin or film canister. I mean just the basics like band-aids, antiseptic wipes, antibiotic cream, anti-itch cream, and any allergy medicine your family needs. Always keep a full first aid kit in your car that has larger bandages, ace wrap, finger splint, and medicines.
8. Re-fillable water bottles– I suggest smaller over larger sized bottles and I really like collapsible water pouches to reduce bulk! Water is very heavy especially for children to haul around. If your packs have a special pocket for water bottles try to balance the packs out so they are not weighted to one side!