7 Ways to Get Outside With the Kids in Winterby Emma Dowey
January can feel like a really long month. After the excitement of Christmas is over, the new year can feel more glum than glam. The weather is typically shit. It’s cold, windy and rainy. For most of us, it’s back to the same old daily grind – school run, work, and evening routine. And what’s more, if you were lucky to be paid before Christmas then you probably have a huge 5-week wait until the end of January! It’s downright depressing sometimes!
One way that really helps me feel calm and just a bit more present is simply getting outside. I know everyone harps on about getting fresh air and exercise but it’s so bloody true! If you’re feeling all the Monday blues this month then get up and get the kids out. And even more so if it’s a dry day. Wrap up warm and go explore. It will do you all the world of good. Here are a few ideas for getting out and about this winter – and even better, most of them are free!
1. Walking. I know, simple really but put your shoes on and go. Try a local park, a beach, a nature reserve. And if you’re not sure where to walk, have a little look online for family-friendly walks in your area. Also by searching for accessible walks, you’ll discover trails that are pushchair friendly too. This has been handy for us after having our second boy. He’s now 11 months so a pram is a must-have!
2. Rock painting, hiding and finding. This is one of my all-time favourite hobbies. The concept is super simple; buy some rocks from your local garden centre (don’t pinch them from the beach, it’s illegal!), paint them, varnish them (clear nail varnish will work too) and hide them. Have a look on Facebook for your local “rock painting” group and tag the back of the rock with the group name. Typically people write “X Rock Group – keep or rehide, post a pic on FB”. It’s such a fun activity. Not only hiding the rocks but seeing when your rock has been found! And you never know, you might find one too on your wanders!
3. Geocaching. Similar to rock painting, Geocaching is a fun way to get out and about. It’s particularly good for exploring new places. If you’ve never heard of it, think of it as a global treasure hunt based on GPS. You’ll need to download the app to play properly and log your finds. There is real treasure to discover though and the kids will love it!
4. Pokemon Go – similar to Geocaching but without real treasure. Use your phone to get the kids out and about, hunting virtual characters as you explore.
5. Tobogganing. Have a look online and find your local outdoor activity or winter sports centre. Ours offer hour tobogganing sessions for under a tenner for kids. It’s great fun and tires them out!
6. Ice skating. Typically the pop-up rinks close after Christmas but you may find some still around. Or you might be lucky to have a proper rink in your home town or city. Get your skates on and let the kids burn off some energy.
7. Adventure Playgrounds – sounds obvious but have a search in your local area for playgrounds you haven’t visited before. The kids will love exploring somewhere new.
Do you find January a difficult month? It used to get me feeling really down and low but since having the kids, I’ve found getting out in the open definitely helps. I find it’s the simplest of things that we tend to enjoy the most. Have fun exploring this month!