Keeping Kids Warm on Winter Adventures
Updated: Dec 24, 2022
As Canadians we spend half the year in the cold. I know, I know... yuck. We used to think so too and then we decided to embrace winter and the game changed! We live in Ontario, Canada and it gets COLLLDDD here during the winter... Like I'm talking -30°C at times, sometimes even dropping down to -40° with the wind-chill.
Although we don't get outside when we are under extreme cold warnings, we get outside as often as we can all year long and are firm believers that there is no such thing as bad weather, simply bad clothing.
In this post I'll be sharing some tips to dress yourself, your baby, your toddler and your kids for winter activities. Plus a few of our favourite winter activities that make going outside when it's chilly worth it!
It's all about that base...
Babies and toddlers lose their heat the fastest as they are often not moving enough to generate their own body heat. Investing in quality base layers for all ages makes a huge difference but is extra important for our littlest explorers. Merino wool, polyester blends, fleece and bamboo base layers all work here. The key is choosing a base layer that isn't cotton. Cotton clothing holds water, meaning it holds onto your sweat which will freeze in winter and leave you feeling colder faster. A great merino wool base layer set for kids is: https://www.weewoollies.com/collections/frontpage/products/merino-pajamas?variant=403019653
Middle layer must haves:
After your base layer set you are going to want to add a mid layer. We love using fleece here; you could use fleece pyjamas, a fleece bunting suit, fleece lined pants and sweaters, whatever you have on hand works here. Here is a great fleece option for babies/toddlers, for my big kid she wears a pair of fleece sweat pants and fleece sweater as her mid-layer. https://www.mec.ca/en/product/6020-130/bear-one-piece?colour=Toaster+Brown
Next step in the layering game is your outerwear. We have a down one piece bunting snow suit for our baby, a synthetic two piece fleece-lined snow suit for our toddler and synthetic two piece snow suit for our big kid. My husband and I alternate between our down-filled puffy jackets and our big winter parka/snowpants depending on the activity and temperature outside.
A BIG step in outer layers is the accessories; our family all loves HotPaws Canada for all of our winter gear accessories. Designed in Canada by Canadian's, so you know they understand cold and have designed quality gear to actually keep you warm all winter long!
Our baby loves wearing his Sherpa winter beanie and fleece neck warmer, both linked here: https://hotpawscanada.com/en/products/kids/infant
Finding a pair of gloves toddlers keep on their hands is a struggle within itself... what works best for keeping our toddlers hands warm is double layering his gloves: we use a thin fleece glove as an inner layer and https://hotpawscanada.com/en/Kids-Mittens-Long%20Cuff-Reflective gloves as an outer layer. We love these gloves because of the zipper function, they are super simple to put on him. Another tip for toddler gloves is to have a spare set in your backpack in case they get wet.
Our big kid has been HARD on gloves. https://hotpawscanada.com/en/Girls-Gloves-Reflective this pair lasts all winter long, we stock up on a few pairs prior to winter so she can change her gloves out as they get wet. This pair is a beautiful option for her walks to school https://hotpawscanada.com/en/Girls-Mittens-Knit-Cozy-Lining
Of course there is more to outerwear accessories than just gloves; beanies, neck warmers, ear muffs, scarfs are all layering essentials and of course we turn to HotPaws for these needs as well for every single member in our family!
When in doubt... add a little extra!
Whenever it is a bit colder out, or we will be outside for a super long period of time we like to add a little bit of extra warmth by pulling out some hand warmers. These are a great addition to our gloves, inside our pockets to use as needed and simply to have in the backpack in case one of us gets a bit chilly!
The best part is these stay warm for 12 whole hours, an entire days worth of warmth for a super low cost just can't be beat.
You can find a pack here:
Now for the fun part...
Our families 5 favourite winter activities to help us get outside when its cold out:
1) Ice Skating - we LOVE ice skating as a family. It is stroller friendly, we can bundle the babies up in cozy outwear and blankets and glide around on the ice for a bit. Best part? Its a great workout while still having fun. Our favourite skating locations are: local outdoor community rinks, forest skating trails such as the Laurentian Valley Ice Skating Trail (pictured here) https://www.lvtownship.ca/en/explore-and-play/lv-four-seasons-trail.aspx
2) Tobogganing/Tubing - we love tubing so much that we plan a winter vacation each year with the sole purpose of hitting the best tubing hills in Canada. There is nothing quite like that adrenaline rush from zooming down the hill at lightening speeds, snow splashing up in your face and laughter in the air. Over the past few years we've had to take a step back from tubing as we added two babies to the family but tobogganing is a wonderful alterative and we love hunting down new hills to slide down.
The best tubing hill we have found so far is: https://www.valcartier.com/en/activities/winter-playground/
3) Hiking - no surprise that hiking makes the list as a family favourite activity. The quiet of a winter forest, the soft fluffy snow on the trees, viewing frozen waterfalls and having the trails usually fully to ourselves are a few reasons why we love winter hiking. A few of our favourite winter trails within Ontario are: Barron canyon, Logging Museum and Spruce bog within Algonquin Park.
4) Taking photos - I won't lie here... sometimes photography is our only draw out of the house in the winter. ESPECIALLY when it is cold outside, heading to a local trail when the trees are covered in snow, capturing small winter details on a walk, chasing the sunset are all excellent photography motivators. Sometimes we just head out to take family photos and have the most fun!
5) Snow Shoeing - snowshoeing is great because you can really do it anywhere. From stomping around the backyard to hitting up snowshoeing specific trails we love getting our snowshoes out in the winter.
You can find a great set of beginner kids snowshoes at the link below!
Hopefully you are feeling a bit inspired to get outside this winter and a LOT better equipped to do so this year. Remember there is no bad weather, only bad clothing! Moving your body, dressing in quality gear, avoiding cotton and using handwarmers are all excellent tips to help you stay warm this winter season!