Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Looking for Tips: Keeping Active Kids Warm in Winter

Planting Atlantic White Cedars
Look, I don't know if it's ever gonna get cold this winter.  The deer are lazy, the ducks are still up in the Arctic Circle, and the hot rain keeps muddying up the trout streams and causing algae blooms in bass ponds.

What I do know is that the Hankster is almost two and a half years old, and he is a firecracker roman candle.  And while the thermometer is slowly dipping and the days are about as short as they can be (I think winter solstice is today?), there is zero possibility of us not taking Hank outside.

Since he's sort of old enough to understand our basic instructions like "don't lay in the ice water," we are still trying to get him outside.  That doesn't mean that he is cooperative re: his own well-being.  In the picture to the left, he joined me on a volunteer (that's right, VOLUNTEER) wetland planting last weekend.  It was 41 degrees, and he waded into the wetland several times, and refused to wear a hat.  At least he wore gloves.  But given his lack of boots (oh, we'll get to that), after two hours, he was frozen like a popsicle. Happy and eating cookies (yay, volunteer events!), but still frozen.  And yes, of course I had a change of socks and shoes for him, right in the truck.

In the picture below, I had him outside on a sunday morning in our yard. It was 34 degrees.  That day, he was  willing to wear the hat, but kept pulling his fingers out of the gloves for some reason.  Also, I let him wear his rubber boots, but the problem with those is that he puts them on and takes them off repeatedly, and sometimes throws them as far as he can, which basically means his socks get muddy, wet, and cold.  That outing lasted about 40 minutes.

So what am I supposed to do with this Toddler Disaster?  Just keep patient and keep on plugging? Or is there some way to get Hank more interested in dressing appropriately (and keeping his clothes in) in the cold weather?

Hank loves to walk across the ice in the bog garden.  Oh wait, that's a bad habit to start.


Downeast Duck Hunter said...

Mud, there's a couple of things I can comment on considering this post so for the sake of not rambling...

1) he's at that age man, it will get better. I found that sometimes you just need to accept how they roll.

2) be armed with extra clothes especially gloves and socks, get an extra pair of boots... let him pick out the treads, he around that "mine" stage and will be excited about "his" footwear

3) Smartwool for kids and underarmour, I've put both mine in these products. No question a quality wool sock and thermal liners help keep the cold off

4) When taking my kids ice fishing, I simply expect to spend less time out on the solid water. The key to keeping them out there is interest, warmth, and conservation

5) Plan activities that have exit strategies so that you can get the little man into a warm place, redirect, and then get him back out. Sometimes it's as simple as running to the store or something.

6) Dude, on the bright side we are on the fringe of gaining daylight. Sunset here is just after 4 and I'm looking forward to warmer days.

I'm sure I've forgotten a thing or two, but I'm still working on my coffee and getting my girls ready for the day. The temperature here is a balmy 28 degrees.

Take care,


Kirk Mantay said...

Hey, "it's inevitable" is an acceptable response! #4 (less time, keep it interesting) is something I've read repeatedly, and take it to heart. Really like #5 - I should be more conscious of that. Thanks!!!

We're at 4:35 sunsets this week. Ugh. Hard to fish or hunt "after work" given that timeframe!

Eastern Shore Outdoors said...

It is tough to keep them warm, and engaged..When mine were that age, I always kept extra gloves and hat as he would leave a trail behind him, like breadcrumbs...Wait til he is the blind with you..That has been challenging, but with hot chocolate, trail mix and chemical hand warmers, he has been a good sport...Good post and merry christmas

Heather Braun said...

We got Finn these mitts that you put on before the coat goes on- the cuffs go up to his elbows and he can't get them off. Then add a hat that velcros under his head and you're set.

We also got this awesome rainsuit from Oakiwear that is crazy cheap for what you get- highly recommend!

They also sell boots and waders for kids!


Doc Outlaw said...

My oldest daughter will often choose her clothing based on her sense of fashion, and not warmth, and I have a hard time convincing my youngest that it's too cold to be barefoot outside. They are just at that age. I've resigned myself to shortening my outdoor activities, or doing them without the kids. That can be hard, because the kids want to go. If I do take the kids, I'll do something like shore fishing, so if the kids get too cold I can let them sit in the car and get warm while I fish right by the car.

Kirk Mantay said...'s like a tiny trail of clues!

Heather - those are awesome tips, thanks! Where is the crazy velcro hat from?

Doc - As PR mentioned, that's where I know it's headed. I'm OK with it - at least now! "Each age has their challenges," right?

I've been lucky enough to see some parents really do it right when it comes to getting their older kids outdoors (without pressure), so I hope to have the same zen-like attitude!!

Heather Braun said...

Go to

Our local children's orchard sells them.

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