Outdoors with kids when it's FREEZING!
January 29, 2013

What to Do When it’s FREEZING Out

In case we had any doubts, this past week’s weather showed us that winter is back! With such a warm winter so far, and such a mild winter last year, you might have had the creepy sense that icy cold winters in the city were a thing of the past. Fear no more!

Freezing temperatures offer numerous advantages for being outside with your kids. One, for obvious reasons, is the city is less crowded. Parks, public squares, and city streets that would normally be packed, empty out as tourists and New Yorkers seek out museums or coffee shops, or just stay home to keep warm. Even better, once there is 5 to 6 inches of ice on the Conservatory Water in Central Park (think electronic sailboats in summer), the Conservancy opens it for ice skating. It’s also worth checking in at Bryant Park to see the ice sculptures that form when the park authorities leave the Shaw Lowell Memorial Fountain running in sub-freezing temperatures. If you’re up for the wait around the block, you can ice skate at the park, too.

That said, temperatures in the teens can make it challenging to get your kids outside. Chapped faces and freezing toes aren’t fun for anybody, and young kids tend be poor judges of just how much they will need to bundle up to stay warm. Here are three rules we go by:

• Wrap Up: Several layers of clothing work better than one big coat because heat gets trapped in between each item. It’s also helps to tuck in shirts, sweatshirts, and vests to keep in the warmth. Hats and scarves are essential—and mittens tend to do a better job than gloves of keeping hands warm.

• Fuel Up: A thermos of hot cocoa, warm milk and honey, or whatever hot beverage your kids love can also work wonders. Healthy soups are a good option, particularly since—if it heats them up—kids are more likely to try them than they might normally be at home.

• Keep Moving: Burning calories keeps you warm, so, when planning time outdoors in the cold, think in terms of activities that keep you moving. Location is also important. A walk through a wooded park is bound to be much warmer than a walk around a lake or along a river.

Indoor Outdoor Activities

Once New York City gets a decent snow fall, we will be writing about activities like sledding, snow shoeing, and snowboarding. In the meanwhile, it’s also possible to get plenty of outdoor-type activity without braving the bitter cold. Most of the ice rinks we profiled in our recent post on ice skating are indoors. Another very popular spot to get kids moving indoors is Chelsea Piers in lower Manhattan. The Field House offers all kinds of opportunities to run, jump, and keep active. There are any number of other options across the five boroughs such as, for example, the indoor Tennis Center in Prospect Park.

What hints can you offer for keeping kids warm outdoors? What are some good indoor options for keeping them active in the winter?


March 24, 2013 (6)
I want kids to get out in nature so they can enjoy all its benefits. Not so they will suffer extra lung damage.
December 23, 2015 (5)
This winter, try making your own pull-behind sled, also called a pulk or pulka.
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Tip of the Day

Make a simple bug cage by washing out an empty plastic peanut butter jar and poking holes in the lid (or use plastic strawberry or salad containers). Invite some insects inside for observation.

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