Our favourite tips for kids snow adventures
Snowmen, snow angels, snow fights, snow fun! Some of the best childhood memories come from snow days – and with a few simple tips, you could make your children’s introduction to the snow not only an experience they want to repeat, but something that they treasure for many years. We’ve asked around Macpac HQ, and here’s what we think are the best tips for getting your kids to fall in love with the snow.
Getting ready to go
- Before taking kids to the snow, spend the week getting them excited! Read snow books, show them snow photos, and practice pretend skiing around the lounge – by the time the day arrives, they’ll be bursting with anticipation.
- If you’re just planning an introduction to the snow and not looking to go skiing, afternoon trips can be good as temperatures are a bit warmer.
- Look at the weather forecast – aim for a sunny, clear day where blizzards are not likely. The Mountain Safety Council is a fantastic resource for forecasts and trip planning.
- Layers, layers, layers! Never underestimate the cold, it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared. Kids tend to get hot, then cold, then wet, then hot, then cold again. Think warm merino base layers, a good pair of socks, snow boots (or gumboots) and waterproof outer layers. You can check out our handy ‘how to layer’ article here.
- Timing is everything! A snow trip requires a lot more layers and different items of clothing, most of which your kids won’t be used to wearing. Getting everyone kitted out and ready for the cold/wet conditions can take upwards of an hour the first time. But don’t worry – you (and your kids) will get much quicker the more often you go.
- Pack a dry set of clothes to change them into at the end of the day.
- Tuck their pants into their socks – this will stop some of the cold from getting to little feet.
- Ask your child to choose their favourite toy – bringing it along for the adventure will make the whole experience seem a little more familiar to them.
- Just because you’re heading to the snow, doesn’t mean a hot meal is out of the question. Put frankfurters in a thermos with hot water in the morning – they’ll be heated through by lunch – eat with pre-cheesed buns.
- Bribery – bring snacks they’d usually think of as a treat, and reward them for their snow enthusiasm, or just for giving it a go.
- Cold hands = fun over. When you’re taking kids to the snow, make sure you always bring spare mittens – or use socks as extra mittens.
- On the subject of mittens, kids lose them fast! Tie them to your little adventurers’ jacket so they’re there when they want to put them back on.
- If they’re old enough to try skiing for the first time, lessons are definitely worth considering to help them build confidence on their skis. Whether you like it or not, they’re much more likely to listen to their instructor than their parents!
When you arrive
- Kids snow days are fun, but that fun doesn’t have to come with a huge price tag – it could be as simple as sliding around a freshly powdered driveway in baking dishes, or sliding down the slopes on a big rubbish bag.
- Challenge your children to a snow fight (maybe even let them win).
- Regular toilet breaks – getting a small child out of multiple layers of clothing when busting is more stressful than a leisurely break every hour or so.
- Challenge the kids to a snow monster making contest.
- Make snow angels! But maybe save this for closer to the end of the day, as they’re bound to get wet.
- Take videos on your phone – these are great for showing the kids later, as you reminisce the day and get excited for the next trip.
- Take breaks as needed, have some lunch and make homemade slushies – make sure you use clean snow. Flavour it with your choice of toppings – Raro, cordial, flavoured syrups, fruit etc.
- Whether it’s the first trip or they’ve been many times, kids snow days don’t need to be long. Don’t feel like you need to stay for hours on end . Shorter, frequent trips are best when you’re first introducing kids to the snow. At the first sign of tiredness, think about packing up for the day. It’s better to end the trip on a high note, so they’re keen for more trips in the future.
- End the day with a hot chocolate and marshmallows. Some ski areas have great cafes, but you can pre-prepare your own in a thermos before you leave, and just add the marshmallows later. Great for warming up little hands after a busy day of snow fighting.
- Most of all – have fun out there! The snow isn’t around for long, so enjoy it!
Before you head into the outdoors, check out the Mountains Safety Council’s Plant My Trip tool.