Parents have a hard time getting out a lot of days, but once it becomes routine, it becomes easier. I love getting outside every day because it’s a free and cheap activity for my family. Find friends who love your kids and like to get into nature. Take steps in the new year to make connections with your neighbors, make friends that will motivate your family to get healthier. When the weather drops into the single digits, it is common for parents to want their children to stay indoors to play. Before you go and curse the cold weather for keeping your playful children indoors all winter, let’s consider all of the benefits that cold weather has when it comes to children’s health, development, and well-being!

Getting kids outside its never easy – between sorting out their gear, preparing a snack and finding a perfect place that the kids will enjoy – it can take all day long to get two kids out the door. I try to set up playdates for the outdoors so I have adult company while kids do their thing – and believe me… it works! It helps me get out when I have another adult and takes the pressure off feeling like I need to entertain them. I usually bring a snack like rice cakes/crackers/ bread and hummus/guacamole/seed and a small flask of soup in the winter. I am from South Africa and have only been living in Wisconsin for a few years. I have learned that there is no such thing as bad weather… only bad clothes! If you invest in good warm layers and boots and you will be loving life. And I love finding free local events for the family – it makes for a healthier, smoother day for my whole family when we get fresh air and exercise.

My one place to go in the winter is a nature center – I love to join nature outdoor groups out there – like free forest schools. I go to the zoo, the exhibition is always open and warm inside. When you visit the library, pick out winter books for children to read and motivate them to spend time in nature… it makes sense to children to understand what’s going on outside when they read about it. And children get vitamin D through sun exposure.

Winter is not everyone else’s season to enjoy, but realistically kids need fresh air every day. This is the new year, start a healthy family tradition for the whole family by getting outside every day.

We are very fortunate to live a city that has over 50 state parks to explore and Madison has so many resources when it comes to outdoor events!

Dineo is a full-time mom and writer who was born in South Africa but now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, with her husband and their daughter. For the past 6years, she has been an ambassador for Hike it Baby, a non-profit organization that connects families with babies and young children to the outdoors and each other. As part of this, Dineo spends much of her time outdoors, once hiking 21 miles in 8 hours and she is keen that her daughter spends as much time outside as is possible. Dineo’s other passion is for writing children's pictures and she currently has 5 books in circulation. Adventure Day, Sunset Hike, Spring hike, Summer Camping, and Christmas from both worlds, these books features diverse characters and are dedicated to nature and were created to inspire children to get out into the fresh air. They both contain exciting and diverse characters that children love. In her free time, Dineo loves reading nature books to her daughter, cooking, and baking. She enjoys running, camping and hiking whenever the opportunity arises and her ambition is to be able to travel the world, volunteering her time to help the needy and using the experiences she gains to write even more children’s books.

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