Snowshoeing is one of the most versatile winter sports for many reasons. Like the saying goes, “If you can walk, you can snowshoe.” The easy learning curve and low level of skill required are probably the main reasons behind its widespread popularity and appeal to people of all ages.
So get the kiddos out of the house and let them have a little fun exploring outdoors in the snow. Here’s a few ways to make sure it’s fun for everyone.
Make sure your kids are dressed appropriately
Parents sometimes go a little crazy dressing their kids for an outing in the snow. While you certainly want them to be warm, you don’t want to dress them in a million layers and have them get too warm.
Snowshoeing gets your blood moving. After a short time, your body warms up. Wearing too many layers, or the wrong type of clothing leads to sweating. Sweating in frigid temperatures comes with the risk of frostbite.
Instead, dress your kids in smart layers with appropriate clothing material. Think about what you wear for snowshoeing, and do the same for them.
- The base layer should be a moisture wicking layer to help expel sweat.
- The middle layer is the insulating layer and its main purpose is to provide warmth.
- The outer layer should repel moisture and more specifically, snow.
These layers ensure your family stays nice and warm while allowing them to comfortably and safely warm up.
- Don’t neglect the head and feet! Make sure socks are moisture-wicking and footwear is waterproof. Make sure all those little feet stay nice and dry.
- Remember a headband or winter hat to protect little ears from the wind.
Bring along eyewear to combat sun glare
Sometimes being outdoors in the sun is enough to have you shielding your eyes. Add a layer of white reflective snow and the glare of the sun is compounded tenfold.
If there’s one thing that will ruin your outing quicker than anything, it will be kids complaining that they can’t see. Make sure you have sunglasses readily available for every member of the family to ensure everyone is able to enjoy that beautiful scenic view and whining is kept to a minimum!
Pick a family friendly trail
You want this outing to be enjoyable, so scope the area out beforehand to make sure the trail is one the whole family can easily navigate. The last thing you want to be doing is carrying a crying kid through the snow.
Flat terrain is probably your best bet. Try to stay away from deep, powdery snow, too. Your kids will likely still be acclimating to walking in their snowshoes and will appreciate the easier path.
Rather than going on a trail that requires you to turn back the way you came, look for one that will loop back around to your starting point.
Have reasonable expectations
Go into this outing with realistic expectations. Depending on the ages of your children, you may be lucky to get in thirty minutes to an hour before they lose interest or become exhausted. Take it slow, savor the moments, and just enjoy being together in the outdoors after being cooped up indoors all winter.
It’s easy to get caught up in one of your favorite pass times. But, remember your kids are new at this. Don’t push them too hard. You’ll need to adjust your trekking speed. Also, take as many rest breaks as your kids need. Remember, fun is the name of the game here.
Break trail first
If you are considering venturing off the beaten path, make sure you pack the trail down first. Once the snow is packed, turn the kids loose to explore. Walking on packed snow will require less exertion on their little legs and will help them keep up their stamina for the rest of the journey.
Introduce them to trekking poles
Older children may enjoy the snowshoeing experience more with some trekking poles, especially since learning how to walk on snowshoes can be an odd feeling at first. Using the trekking poles can help them with their balance especially if they will be going up and down any hills.
Word of warning though: it’s probably best to keep trekking poles away from your younger children. They likely won’t be big enough to be able to control the poles and one, or both, of you will end up frustrated. Plus, if they lose interest, you will be the one to end up carrying them.
Snowshoeing For Kids
Kids get tired easily and snowshoeing is probably going to tucker them out quickly. Sometimes a little pick-me-up is all your kids will need to refuel and keep going. Trail mix is a good kid-friendly option as well as beef jerky, peanut butter crackers, string cheese, or bananas.
Don’t forget beverages either. Water is the best option for staying hydrated as everyone will be thirsty and likely warm from their exertions. Save the hot chocolate for once everyone has returned indoors and is trying to thaw out.
It’s always important to be safe when venturing outdoors, but it is especially so with your little ones around in the snow. Take a few precautions, including:
- Make sure to let someone outside of your party know your plans for the day, where you will be, and what time you should return.
- Take along a backpack with a GPS or map, an emergency shelter, matches or firestarter, and a first aid kit.
- A couple of pairs of extra socks and gloves are a good idea to bring along as well as some hand warmers.
It’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared.
Your snowshoeing adventure as a family will only be the beginning of your family’s outdoor fun. Not only will this be a great bonding experience for your family, but you are introducing your children to your love of the outdoors. In a world full of electronic devices and sedentary lifestyles, teach your kids how to unplug and get moving!