Nebraska native? New in town? The Midwest winter can be a rollercoaster ride. Cooler weather is a guarantee. Embrace the winter months and head outside!
I love, love, love curling up by the fireplace with a good book, cozy pants, and a warm blanket. But, if I don’t force myself outdoors in the winter, I might as well turn into Professor Slughorn in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (he becomes the couch.) Being outdoors is good for me and my kids, both mentally and physically.
When freezin’ the season, get outside anyways!
Put aside your preconceived notions that you can’t, the kids will be too cold, yadda . . . yadda . . . yadda. Go!
Take a Hike
If you read any of my writing here at Omaha Mom, you know I’m your local hiking girl. There are trails for ANYONE here in the Omaha area. Throw your kids in their snow pants and boots (Even if there’s no snow. It will keep you out longer!) and walk one of the paved trails around one of the many local lakes. Or go for a hike on one of the many forest trails.
My kids have so much fun looking at the animal tracks in the snow and mud. We like to look for animals that come out in winter that we may not see in summer. Have you seen how many nests are in the trees once the leaves fall? Just give my boys a stick and they’ll have fun.
Half the battle is just leaving the house. Set your expectations low. You can do this. THEY can do this, even the tiny ones. Let them explore the world around them.
- Walk your neighborhood and stop at a little free library.
- Go on a nature scavenger hunt
- Play I Spy
- Let them stomp in puddles or climb mountains of snow
Go for a Drive
If the weather is atrocious, and you need a change of scenery, go for a drive. Stream some kid music, listen to an audiobook, talk with your kids, and drive. There is so much to see around Omaha from the car.
- Look for local art (sculptures, murals, yard decorations, etc.)
- Pick up a fun treat for the drive from a local shop (most places will do curbside pickup these days)
- Print out a car ride bingo sheet.
Moving and Grooving
There are a plethora of outdoor activities that are a blast for kids.
- Go to a local playground
- Check out geocaching. You can download free apps and there are a TON in the Omaha area.
- Go sledding or ice-skating
- Omaha’s disc golf scene is pretty awesome. My husband took my boys to a local park to walk around and a local group showed them how to play, gave them discs, and we super friendly!
Believe it or not, Nebraska isn’t the coldest place I’ve ever lived, so I’ve done a few fun winter projects. Check these out:
- Make snow paint: Fill some spray or squirt bottles with water, add drops of food coloring, shake, and spray. The gel will give a stronger color, but I often just have regular food coloring on hand and that will work too.
- Ice Bubbles: If it’s pretty cold (for sure under 32 degrees), grab some bubbles. If you can blow the bubbles and get them to stick to a banister, railing, or window sill you can see them freeze!
- Ice Balloons: Fill some balloons with water (do not overfill), add some drops of food coloring, tie and place outside. These are best to leave for 24-36 hours when it’s going to be below freezing consistently. Once they feel hard, peel off the balloon and you’ll have pretty, colorful ice orbs. These look cool lining the driveway or walkway.
- Water Toss: Check the wind direction first! When it’s freezing cold, boil a pot of water and throw the water into the air. See what happens.
There are so many options for cold weather play!
Bundle up. Get good gloves, warm coats, Balaclava, beanies, and go enjoy the beauty that this season beholds.