Snowshoeing: Gateway to winter for kids of all ages

Map winter. Play games. Tell outdoor stories. Visit trails year round.

AMC Outdoors, a publication of the Appalachian Mountain Club, has an article on Snowshoeing Fun and Games for Kids by Kristen Laine with the suggestions above. Consider some of the article's ideas to get your kids (and you) outdoors, especially if you have a school vacation week coming up.

Snowshoeing is a great way to introduce someone to winter outdoors. Since the activity and the gear are so simple — if you can walk, you can snowshoe — you can tailor your trek to the participant's ability and interest level. Experienced teens and adults can tackle a true winter hike. Small children can explore their backyards or local parks.

Remember, the aim is to inspire and hook kids on the outdoors, not leave them dreading the next epic march. So you may need to check your usual outdoor expectations at the trailhead. Better to start small and leave everyone wanting more, then get in over anyone's head.

With my preschooler (above), I try to let her decide where we're going (within reason) and follow her up a snowbank, off the trail, into the trees, and around in circles as we look for animal tracks, listen for birds, and take pictures.

We don't go very far in distance, but that's not the point.


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