Very Best Ways to Stay Warm Outdoors (Even on the Coldest Days)
It may be super de-duper cold outside, but that doesn’t mean that you are stuck inside! Children can benefit just as much from daily outdoor time in the winter as they can any other time of the year, so it’s just as important to find ways to get out there and enjoy all of the fantastic changes that take place in nature during the colder months.
While there are definitely times when it is truly unsafe to spend much time outdoors, generally speaking, the quote by the great explorer Ranulph Fiennes tends to hold true:
“There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.”
With the abundance of frigid temps and snowfall hitting most of the United States right now, I felt it was a great time to share with you some of the very best tips for dressing your child (and yourself) appropriately to stay warm and toasty when venturing outdoors, even on the coldest days.
Now I don’t know about you, but when I think about bundling up for the cold, I immediately think of something along these lines.
It doesn’t have to be quite that dramatic, though. Just keep these few important pointers in mind, and you’ll be so busy having fun that you won’t even notice how cold it is!
Speaking of having fun, make sure to download my FREE Winter Outdoor Activity Guide, with 5 super fun activities to do with your child outdoors on those cold winter days! Click below to get your download now!
Tip Number 1: Cover Up!
Your mama wasn’t kidding when she told you to put on a hat or you’d catch cold. Your body quickly loses heat through any area of your skin that is exposed, and approximately 10% of your body heat can escape through the top of your head if it’s not covered. Yikes! Likewise, a scarf to cover the neck is very important for retaining body heat as well. The skin on your neck (like your head and ears) has a lot of blood vessels running very close to the surface, making it more likely to lose heat quickly.
Tip Number 2: Cold Hands = Cold Essentials!
If your hands are cold, that doesn’t just mean that you need to put on gloves – it also means that your essential organs and your core aren’t insulated well enough, and your entire body is cold. Focus on covering the mid-section well to help keep your body’s core temperature warm. This will help keep warm blood flowing out to your extremities.
Tip Number 3: Layer Up!
Of course we think about “layers” when we think about staying warm in the winter, but this is where most of us go wrong! This is the most important tip…. You see, it’s not about adding more and more layers to the point where our kids walk around looking like the Michelin man. You need to make sure you’re using the right materials for each layer, and in the right order.
- Layer One *DRY* – This is the layer that is going to be closest to the skin, therefore you want this to be comfortable and moisture wicking (to not only keep snow/ice out, but to keep sweat from vigorous play off the skin as well). DO NOT USE COTTON for this layer!! Cotton absorbs moisture and will keep it against the skin, which will quickly chill your body down. Use silk or any of the newer synthetic, moisture-wicking fabrics now on the market. If you’re going to make an investment in layers this winter, make it in this layer!
- Layer Two *WARMTH* – The absolute best material you can use for this layer is wool. It can hold moisture away from the skin while still retaining its warmth. If you have a wool allergy, are vegan, or are looking for a less-expensive alternative, use fleece.
- Layer Three *SHELL* – This is your outermost layer, so you want something that is thin, shielding, and, ideally, waterproof. This layer will be protecting you from wind, snow, rain, etc. Choose something specifically designed for this weather type, like Gore-tex or something similar.
Tip Number 4: Feet and Hands!
Of course, don’t forget about the fingers and toes. The same layering techniques outlined above apply for gloves and socks/boots. A good suggestion for buying winter boots is to take along thin and wool socks to try on with the boots. You may need to go a size or a half size up to make sure the layers fit without constricting the feet.
A Few Bonus Tips:
- Keep car seat safety in mind in the winter! Never put your child in their car seat with all of the layers or thick winter coats on. If you have to adjust the straps to fit over a coat, you are potentially putting your child at risk. Remove thick coats or layers and keep some blankets handy to cover over the straps.
- Warm up BEFORE warming up! If your child is cold before bundling up to go outside, they’ll probably stay cold. Have them do some jumping jacks or running in place to get some circulation flowing before bundling up.
- Secret wind protection! Is it windy outside? Rub some Vaseline (or similar natural product) on any exposed skin, like the face) to protect from biting winds.
- 5-30-30! If you’re worried about frostbite, remember the 5-30-30 rule, which says that for exposed skin to get frostbite, temps must be 5 degrees Fahrenheit, with 30 mph winds, for 30 minutes.
- Warm up slowly! When you come back inside, it’s important to slowly warm yourself back up to avoid damaging skin or overheating. Remove all cold/wet clothing and put on dry clothes, then cover up with a blanket. Drink a warm drink. Transition slowly to a warm bath.
- Warning signs! If your child is complaining of cold hands or feet, it most likely means that their core temperature is starting to drop. If there is any uncontrollable shivering, this is an early warning sign of hypothermia.
So, get bundled up and get out there and enjoy all of the beauty and wonder that Winter has to share with us! There’s so much to explore and learn during this time of the year. If you’re looking for some great ways to play and explore outside, make sure to grab my free activity guide above. And if you have a friend who could benefit from these tips, please share!
P.S. Have you joined us for the #150hoursoutside Project yet? Pledge to spend at least 150 hours outside in 2019! More details here.