2020 came and went and you probably didn't get to do a third of the activities you had planned with your family. Trips cancelled, camps shut down, classes moved online—we've all been there. The summer made it kind of bearable to live through, because it was easy (for those of us lucky enough to have a backyard) to open the door and let our kids roam around like wild creatures, no rules, no limits, just please have fun by yourself for one second while I drink my coffee.
But with summer long gone and winter approaching, many parents are wondering how to make it through (potentially) the most depressing winter in the history of winters. Enter friluftsliv. No, I did not just bang my head against a keyboard, friluftsliv is actually a word, a concept that comes from Norway. The literal meaning is "free air life" but the concept is getting outdoors and enjoying a dynamic with nature.
As someone who was pushed out of a major city into the suburbs of Maine by the woes of 2020, (New York prices were just impossible with one less salary and two more kids born in March), I'm in for a lot more snow than I'm used to pretty soon. I want to keep everyone playing outdoors as much as possible, not only so I can do things like laundry or cleaning up a bit, but also because we are all in such a better mood when we get some fresh air and outside play. So I've been doing a ton of research on gear, toys and activities to keep my entire family entertained outside—three kids under three, two exhausted parents and one dog who is afraid of snow.
Ready to embrace friluftsliv? Here we go:
I can't even begin to tell you how much I love this brand. It has changed winter for us. All their products are incredible, keep our kids warm but are also functional. The baby snowsuit that we have for our twins goes from a sleepsack to having legs with just one zipper, perfect for them to wear in the stroller or to practice steps.
Another brand that a parent recommended to me. Gordini makes gloves and mittens for the entire family and I'm a convert to their adult mittens. Your fingers will be separate by an inner glove, but together by an outer mitten, which means more warmth and comfort while you pull that sled for the millionth time of the day.
My Mainer husband introduced me to snowshoeing on our first winter together. Me, a South American who loves to ski but that's as far as I would go when it came to snow sports, was skeptical of this concept of walking on snow. Reader, I was hooked. We snowshoed for hours, got lost, laughed, walked some more and then were sore for weeks. This year we got our toddler his first pair to try it out. Hoping he likes it as much as I do now.
I spent my maternity leave with my twins in quarantine. To say that I cried every day is an understatement. With snow on the ground from March until May, I made it a point to still go out to take deep breaths. I would bring a sleeping baby with me on a carrier and kept them cozy with this 7AM poncho.
Getting outside doesn't mean getting into a new sport all of a sudden. You can just enjoy building snowmen or throwing snow balls at each other. These shoes have been heaven for me very cold feet. The are lined inside but eco-friendly and animal free.
I discovered Elderberry the first winter as a mom. My 10-month old son would bring absolutely every single germ from his playdates and I would get sick almost immediately. A fellow coworker and parent shared his secret with me, and I added these gummies to our diet the next winter.
This is the one hat my toddler loves wearing when it's really cold because it keeps his ears warm. We have it in orange (hey hunting season appropriate) and also bright teal because toddler fashion is fun.
If you live in NYC you won't be surprised by this recommendation, everyone you know breaks out the 7AM stroller muffs once temps go below 50. However, my neighbors in Maine had never seen them (shocking, I know!). These keep your hands warm and ready to jump into action if a cookie or a teddy are needed.
There's a reason this sled has been around for decades. It's as classic as they come! The high back and sides keep little ones from tipping into snow banks (listen, it happens to the best of us!) and it's made to last long enough to pass down probably to your grandkids. (Don't think about it. It's ages away.)
The entire family deserves boots that are comfortable for hiking, so everyone's day can be more enjoyable. Northside makes, in my very very humble opinion, the best hiking boots for the entire family. I wore mine for a quick hike recently and then forgot to take them off and rocked them all day long because that's how comfortable (and cute) they are.
This 4-pack of cozy merino socks will for sure keep your toes warm regardless of the weather. Plus, Merino is so cool it doesn't get stinky, perfect for your teenager's feet.
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