Rent to Try, Before you Buy
I recommend renting snowshoes for your first excursion. This way you can make sure that it truly is an activity that everyone in your family enjoys. Then, if you enjoy snowshoeing and think it will be an activity that your family will enjoy multiple times throughout the year, it’s more cost effective to buy your own snowshoes. You can purchase snowshoes for your children for $30-$75 and for adults for $100 and up. You may also want to consider investing in poles, that will help little ones navigate terrain more easily.
Practice, Practice, Practice
It may be a good idea to let your little ones practice at home before your grand voyage. They can practice putting on and taking off the snowshoes, as well as walking forward, turning around in a U-turn (since you can’t backup in snowshoes) and going up and down hills. This will take away any anxiety that your child may be feeling about trying a new outdoor activity once you’re all bundled up and out in the cold.
Comfort is Key
The most important thing to consider when venturing out for your first snowshoeing adventure is comfort. If your children are uncomfortable, you will hear about it all day long. When dressing your children, think layers. Since they will be in constant motion, you don’t want to overdress them. For a moderate weather day, a pair of long johns and a water and wind resistant shell and pants, as well as a pair of gloves, wool socks and hat should suffice. You want to dress your children in clothing that is lightweight and loose fitting — allowing them to move easily. I also recommend bringing a heavier jacket and spare socks and gloves, just in case.
Make a Day of It
Plan ahead and find a nature trail, golf course or other outdoor landscape to enjoy during your first snowshoeing trip. Pack a pair of binoculars in each family member’s backpack to view nature from afar. You should also pack water and high energy snacks to keep your children well hydrated and full of energy. You can also pack warm treats and beverages for a surprise afternoon snack. Children will enjoy taking a rest to sit quietly and enjoy nature, make a snow angel or two and enjoy a hot thermos of cocoa with cookies.
Although snowshoeing is one of the safest winter activities that you family can enjoy together, it’s best to be prepared for emergencies. It’s a good idea to carry spare clothing, extra water, a first aid kit, a cell phone, compass and each member of your family should wear a whistle in case you are separated. You never know when or what type of emergency you may encounter, so it’s always better to be safe and prepared.
Snowshoeing is the perfect time to play nature games, chit-chat and bond with your family. It’s a non-competitive outdoor activity, so there’s no need to see who can finish the quickest. It’s the perfect activity for a slow day together, reflecting on the beauty of nature and your family.
Have you tried snowshoeing with your children? Tell us your top snowshoeing tips.