When it’s Too Cold Outside

Every year I get excited about the first snow flurries and the first BIG snow of the season.  I love seeing the yard covered in a white sparkly blanket.  That untouched beauty lasts for about 5 seconds before dogs and kids go running through it.  But for a moment, it is breathtaking.  

I don’t know about you, but my enthusiasm for the snow quickly fades once we are logging countless negative degree days with ridiculous windchill factors. I’m talking about the days when A single step outside, takes your breath away. When it’s so cold your face hurts and runny little noses turn to icicles. (AKA polar vortex.)


I dread THOSE days.  Those are the days when the kids can’t safely go outside to play.  Everyone is cooped up and going stir crazy.  And the winter drags on and on.

When is it actually too cold to play outside? Check out this Child Care Weather Watch chart from Iowa Department Public Health and Healthy Child Care Iowa.  It is color coded to show the wind-chill factor: Green (comfortable to play outside), Yellow (use caution), and Red (danger-most children should stay inside).

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “Because of their unique physiology, children are more susceptible to temperature extremes and their health effects.” Parents need to be aware of the dangers of exposure to extreme cold like frostbite and hypothermia.

For me, last winter was long.  (I mean looooong.)  My kids seem to crave the outdoors.  They need to run and dig in the dirt.  They play together the best when they are outside. When we are stuck inside, the boys pester each other all the time.

Last winter I did not know what to expect. I was not adequately prepared to “do winter” with a toddler and preschooler.  I think we barely survived! I’m sure there was too much fighting over toys, too much whining, too much yelling, and too much screen time.

I want this winter to be different.  I would like to enjoy our time together instead of wishing away the days until spring. This year I propose going into winter with a positive attitude and making a conscious effort to make the best of it.

Just think, winter is going to be GREAT this year! We get to spend time together. We can make cookies and paper snowflakes, have dance parties and exercise time, build blanket forts and block towers, play dinosaurs and trains, read stories and snuggle!

Then when it snows and it is too cold to go outside to play, we will bring the snow inside! I don’t know who originated this idea (probably Pinterest!), but last year I saw several friends posting pics of their kids playing with snow in the house. So, I jumped on the bandwagon. The one time I brought snow into the kitchen last winter, my boys LOVED it! It kept them busy until….it melted! Then I refilled the pans again and again.


What you need for indoor snow play:

  • Mittens/gloves
  • Pans/plastic containers to put snow in
  • Toys to play with in the snow such as trucks, Fisher-Price Little People, small sandbox shovels or cups.
  • Towels


Then if you’re up for it, have an indoor snowball fight!  We have not done this at my house YET.  I haven’t decided if I want to break my, “No throwing things in the house,” rule. Pinterest is filled with tutorials on how to make fake snowballs!  Here is one using yarn and practice golf balls and here is another for making yarn pom poms.

No matter what activities you do with your child(ren) this winter, the important thing is, you are together.

Mamas: What are YOUR favorite indoor activites to do with the kids? Please share!


**Don’t forget to get your tickets to our upcoming play date at The Iowa Children’s Museum next Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 a.m! The museum is opening one hour early just for ICMB! Tickets include admission, plus special activities and a snack! For non-members, the admission price is good for playing at the Museum all day!! Get yours here.


Shari is a stay-at-home mom who lives in Cedar Rapids with her husband Mark, 2 boys and a pug named Yoda. Her toddler and preschool age boys keep her very busy. She loves warm Iowa days for playing outside with her family. In her "spare time" Shari enjoys quiet activities like crafting, browsing Pinterest, learning photography, creating family photo books and watching favorite shows with her husband. She also loves Iowa City Moms Blog and her MOPS group for the connections with other mommies!



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