It doesn’t always seem like the logical choice, but these days we are working hard not to let the rain and lack of daylight stop us from our usual afternoon walks and adventures. After all, the boy needs to get his energy out, the dog’s gotta go, and we all need our exercise. I fully admit that it’s hard, and sometimes a struggle. I’m discouraged when I realize we are quickly kissing the sun goodbye at 4 o’clock in the afternoon. And yes, its sometimes a drag to spend all that time suiting up to protect against the cold and the rain. But the thing is, we can’t be limited to indoor play when its…
we’d never get outdoors!
Here’s how we make sure enjoyable family time in the outdoors happens every day despite the elements:
This means getting a little organized.
- We designate spots (close to the front door) for all the items (see below) that help us get outside more easily and comfortably.
- Most days we make a plan and stick to it, specifically for our afternoon walk, so that dawdling or getting occupied with other tasks doesn’t happen.
Dress for the Weather.
The sunhats, sunscreen, and sandals get stashed away, and we bring out all the protective gear that will keep us dry and warm.
- For Bergen (3 years old) a typical get-up is a warm base layer, plus fleece jacket underneath his rain suit followed by boots, gloves, and mittens depending on the particular elements hitting us that day.
- For us adults, we are prepared with raincoats, hats, gloves, and yes, even rain pants for the days when we want to get out and there’s more than drizzle or mist.
Reflective Gear & Lights.
- We’ve outfitted our stroller with reflective tape so that our little crew stands out when crossing streets, and we try to make sure at least one of us has a jacket that is bright or reflective. Our dog also has a light attached to his collar that we can illuminate as it gets darker.
- We bring along a small flashlight, and I’m even thinking that it might be fun to have headlamps on occasion!
Bring a Towel.
Also in the stroller, we stash a towel for drying off slides, swings, and other playground equipment. Just because it is raining out or it might have rained earlier in the day, doesn’t mean we can’t get out and enjoy our neighborhood parks and playgrounds!
Do a little Research.
Two additions to playgrounds and outdoor spaces that help in this late fall/winter: Lights & Cover. We’ve searched around a bit and found a few neighborhood spots (and some that we have to drive to) that either have lights (think play fields) or covered elements like a play court. Here in Seattle we have a park built underneath part of Interstate 5. When we’re really desperate to get out and it’s pouring, we head there for some fun exploring.
Embrace the Dark.
The areas we know and love (in the daylight) just have a different feeling when the sun goes down, so once we hit the dark rainy season, I do my best to change my mindset to appreciation instead of dread. I’ve found that some senses (like sight) can take a back seat to our sense of smell and hearing, and we can discover new aspects of a familiar spot. For some specific ideas, I love this post about after dark adventures from MommyHiker.
How do you make sure that you get outside despite the rain, darkness & cold? Or…what’s holding you back? Let’s chat in the comments!
This post is linked up with the Outdoor Play Party with Rain or Shine Mamma (among other great sites to check out)!
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