How to Dress Kids to Play Outside All Winter

Do you remember when it was such an inconvenience on a snowy day ? “No matter how I work with these kids all DAY,” you groaned to yourself. Imagine if someone told us back in 2019 what could be worse, you could , which was a year of snowy days, made things worse by what we call “distance learning.” Yes, even your kindergarten , in front of a computer screen for six hours a day!

When the pandemic hit, we said to ourselves: well, at least the beginning of spring. In most places in the United States, this meant being able to go out — eat on the street, socialize on the street, and play outside. In fact, this is not just an option, but quite possibly what allowed us to survive.

And now, as I write this, the first snowfall is falling outside my front door, and by 4:45 pm it will be dark. We are entering what I have fondly called “the longest, coldest and darkest winter in our country.” lives ”because I am so joyful, and yet one fact remains true: these children cannot be in the house all the time. They need to go out and play.

Of course, they always played outside at some point during the winter. We stake on building at least one or two snowmen and buying a sturdy sled every winter. But this year, they’ll have to get a good idea of ​​playing outdoors in cold weather, and we can prepare ourselves by looking at some best practices for dressing up in cold weather.

Add them up

You need enough layers to capture their body heat without overdoing it – too many outer layers can cause them to sweat, eventually leading to their cold snap. Here’s what the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends regarding layers:

Dress children in thin layers with a layer of moisture wicking underneath to keep them dry. Start with tighter layers at the bottom, such as long sleeved bodysuits or long underwear. Then add pants and a warmer top like a sweater or sweatshirt. A thin fleece jacket over a top is a good option. Generally, young children should wear one layer more than adults.

KinderCare helps determine which specific materials are best for the base, middle and outer layers, but the most important takeaway is to avoid cotton, which absorbs snow, rain and sweat very well and is therefore an awful cold. choice of wardrobe.

Think about the rule of arms, head, heart, legs

You will want your kids to be as covered as possible, but some parts of the body are more sensitive to the cold than others. Here’s how the New York Times prioritizes:

“Make sure your hands, head, heart and feet are covered; of these, the legs are probably the most important, ”said Pete Ripmaster, who won the 2018 Iditarod Trail Invitational 1000 on foot (the 1000-mile winter ultramarathon that runs along the route of the dog-sled race of the same name in Alaska). Based in Asheville, North Carolina, he began winter mountaineering in the Great Smoky Mountains with his daughters, who are now 9 and 11 years old, when the youngest was 5.

Dry feet are warm feet, so consider insulated waterproof boots or wellies paired with fleece or wool lining, and comfortable wool or synthetic socks (not cotton socks that won’t wick moisture away from your skin and take a long time to dry).

Whether you go out to sled or play elsewhere, Ripmaster also suggests bringing an extra pair of socks with you for each child – you don’t want to be stuck somewhere in the snow with a child whose feet are cold. and there is no way to dry or warm them.

You should also look for ways to close any gaps, such as choosing outerwear that can be pulled over your boots or coat cuffs.


There are two reasons why you might be tempted to put on your kids their too small winter outfit from last year: Firstly, things can be quite expensive considering how much they actually wore it, especially if you bought it completely. new. And second, hey, maybe denser equates to keeping them warm?

Resist this urge. While you certainly don’t want the outerwear to be too big , allowing more cold air to enter their bodies, they should have a good range of motion. They should be able to wiggle their toes in these boots and move their limbs easily so that their circulation is not impaired, which could make them more susceptible to frostbite or frostbite.

Randy’s situation is not the best situation:

Take breaks

In the summer, you can send the kids outside to play after lunch and tell them to come back when the street lights come on. However, during the winter you need to divide your outdoor play time into smaller pieces to prevent hypothermia and frostbite.

If their skin begins to redden, tingle, or numb, it means they are experiencing frostbite – a precursor to frostbite, according to Standford Children’s Health . Teeth chattering is another telltale sign that it’s time to warm up.


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