I am not now, nor have I ever been, a cold-weather person. I like to joke (but also not joking) that as an African American woman, I am from a tropical people! Snow and I don’t mix! But I am happy to report that COVID and a toddler are forcing me to change my ways. This year I am challenging myself to get outdoors much more frequently and actually enjoy winter. To become a fun winter mom. This is Michigan after all…winter can last for years!
Step 1: Footwear
First, I decided that if I’m going to lean into this cold business, I needed to get myself and my family geared up. Warm, waterproof boots are a MUST. Now, we stomp about in the snow and slush like it’s no problem! We’re able to have fun outside much longer with warm tootsies.
The kiddo’s boots came from Amazon and mine came from Meijer, so this didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I’d recommend going at least half a size up on your boots, so that you can also fit a wooly winter sock in there. For my little one, the one-piece snowsuit has also been a major improvement over pants/coat separates since the snow doesn’t have anywhere to sneak in.
Step 2: Heat
Second on my list, FIRE (or heat)! The hubs and I spend most of the summer talking about how we’ll keep using our fire pit into the winter time, because it will make the outdoors enjoyable, and every winter it sits wet and empty. I still haven’t fired up our big fire pit, but we have sat around fires elsewhere (see step three).
I also fell for an Instagram ad (they always know what I need) for a small company called City Bonfires. My thought was that we can use these small, portable fires on our patio table if we wanted to sit around it and visit with friends. They can also be used to roast marshmallows—and talk about toddler joy! Fun winter mom, check. My “after one use” review: it didn’t give off as much heat as I’d have liked, but I probably had an unrealistic expectation. It would probably be great on those chilly-but-not-freezing days. They’re so cute, though!
We also asked for an outdoor heater for Christmas so that we can enjoy more patio hangouts throughout the year. Heaters come in as many options as there are people, so you definitely have to find the one that’s right for your space.
Step 3: Adventure
Step three in my winter journey has probably been the most important: GO SOMEWHERE! There’s only so much of my backyard I can see. Laps around my neighborhood are great for fresh air, but don’t provide much opportunity for my 3 year old to play in new ways. I have a helpful secret for you guys that you probably didn’t know if you’re like me…are you ready for it…?
Parks are still open!!! Yes! You can go to a park in the winter time! I’m choosing not to be embarrassed by admitting that playing at the park in the cold (outside of sledding) never even crossed my mind before this year. Our family has been especially loving Valade Park on the Detroit Riverfront. All winter long, they have music, two restaurants for carryout, a bar, and bonfires to sit around! It has plenty of room for social distancing, a sledding hill, and play areas for the kids. And did I mention the bar?
Other outdoor ideas I am totally stealing from my smart friends:
- Designating a few of our million throw blankets as outdoor blankets to keep ourselves and guests warm on the patio
- Soup in a mug doubles as both a meal AND a handwarmer! Hello winter dinner party!
I want to be socially responsible by following COVID guidelines, and I also refuse to stay isolated indoors waiting for June. So outdoor activities and small gatherings will be my go-to. And, I’m actually having fun becoming a fun winter mom!
This tropical gal is growing to enjoy the cold outdoors, which means anyone can! What winter activities are you doing with (or without) the kids to stay active this year?