Family, Gift Ideas, Health, Kids, Toddlers

Less Cold, More Snow! Winter Gear & Toys that My Family Loves.

Find out what winter items are keeping us entertained these days😁☃️

I grew up in a family split on winter sports. My dad loved skiing and thought sledding would teach us snow basics and get us in shape. My mom really didn’t love sledding anymore (because she had had her heart attack while sledding) but she did still like hot cocoa and used to make us a warm cup of real hot chocolate when we came in frozen from the snow.

My son walking back up the same hill my brother and I went sledding on for many years as children, but he walks up it with sleds and snowboards.

We have a little hill right behind our house that my brother and I used to sled down every winter, and someone in my family always made sure we had a working sled. I’d love to say it was my winter sport loving father but my mom did more of the shopping so my guess is she purchased sleds more often than he did.

Anyway now it seems wrong if we don’t have awesome snow gear to go out and play in the snow. I definitely took after my dad when it came to winter sports. It’s a wonderful way to get physical activity and it feels easier than many other hard workouts because you are playing!

The snow stuff that survived from last season. The 2 snowboards we bought last year as Christmas presents and the kids love them! The gray & red Emsco you can get here and you can get a similar Airhead board here.

So I have older kids and younger kids so we use a variety of snow toys at my house. Sleds seem to be the most versatile item but this year my 2 year old would sled down the hill with an older kid and then refuse to walk back up!

Now I am looking for a snowy activity she will enjoy that is stationary because apparently she doesn’t like to walk in the snow this year.
Maybe she will enjoy it more when she is taller, but I’m definitely trying to get her to enjoy the snow as much as the rest of us do.

No one in the family is particularly great at skiing or snowboarding but we just love it!

In this post I talk about what winter sports gear and toys we buy to keep us entertained all winter! We like to keep fun things at home especially since it’s hard to travel whenever winter weather comes calling.

Plus it’s hard to get out of the house and go skiing with a toddler, and work schedules don’t always allow for parents to take a snow day.

It makes it a lot easier for me to spend money on snow toys knowing how much the kids enjoy it (except the little one🤣) and it seems cheap compared to taking the whole family skiing and snowboarding!

Before I feature all my favorite winter play things, I wanted to give a special shout-out to these tech-friendly, waterproof, thinsulate gloves first!

I bought a pair of these here and we liked them so much we bought a 2nd pair for Billy. Since 3 family members can fit into this size of gloves we know they will get used often.

I am super excited to be able to take photos and videos of the kids without taking off my gloves because these gloves feature the electronic friendly touch-pads on both the thumb and pointer finger on both hands! Left-handers rejoice, the makers of this product thought of you too!

Winter Toys

(Click Pictures to View Product Details on Amazon)

Sleds

So last year it seemed like we had a ton of snow toys and this year at least 3 of our sleds were broken when we went out to use them. If you are a parent of multiple kids I expect that you have had similar experiences to mine.

Last year we had a few dish sleds, and one plastic toboggan similar to the ones below but our toboggan didn’t have breaks. Well at least not the type of breaks that will slow you down intentionally!

Most of our sleds were a few years old and just plain old broken so we needed to shop for new ones. We had a foam sled similar to this one (although not as cute!) and that sled is the only sled left at our house at this point.

Thank goodness the kids love their snowboards or they would spend most of there snow time arguing over the one sled!

To be honest I didn’t feel like foam sleds would hold up better than plastic but in our experience they do. I am thinking about getting this round foam sled too in the hopes that it will last as long as our other foam sled has lasted. We have had ours for over 2 years now and kids are not easy on their stuff!

The most durable sled I have ever owned was actually an aluminum sled that I have had since I was a kid. It wasn’t the fastest sled but it has certainly outlived all the others by decades. It was also multi-purpose. My dad used to used it to cover the tractor during the summer! My metal sled was more of a triangle shape with rounded edges and seemed to be sturdier than the only metal one I found offered on Amazon.

While shopping I did see my favorite childhood sled. They don’t seem to last more than a year or 2 but they are pretty cheap, go super fast, and are pretty easy to carry up the hill since they roll back up.

The “bad part” about the sleds rolling up automatically is that it takes some skills to sit down on them correctly!

Watching someone try and sit down on one of these sleds for the first time is hilarious. I highly recommend purchasing these for family members just for entertainment value!

Now I don’t know if these sleds will work for adults but these are in my cart so I’ll be able to update everyone on that. I’m sure my kids will laugh there behinds off watching me try to use one of these as I am not as agile as I used to be. What’s funnier than watching mom belly-flop in the snow, right?!

Well as you can tell we are all about laughing over here and speaking of that, I also had a good laugh when I read reviews and discovered that people are using these sleds with their sewing machines to make free-motion quilting easier! Just one more fun reason for me to buy a few of these.

The last sled we looked at was from Billy’s childhood. Personally I have never ridden this type of sled.

He said they are awesome and it’s on our winter toy wish list! Although these are more expensive they do retain some re-sale value.

Even if you break them, as long as they look nice you can still re-sell them as a decoration or to photographers as a photo prop. It does not come with the rope for steering, so don’t forget to get a rope if you are buying one of these for sledding.

Snow Boards and Snow Scooters

We love our backyard snowboards and use them even more then the sleds these days. Billy and I still use the kid’s snowboards even though we are over the recommended weight-limit. Unfortunately my 6′ 4″ brother is a little bit too big to use the kids snowboards we have now, so I went looking for a snowboard I thought would work for him.

This sledsterz board is rated for 250 lbs so we feel like he’d be able to use this pretty comfortably. I’ll let ya know if it works for him, and please let me know if you have used one of these boards and liked it.

It’s also been crazy trying to buy him a bike but that’s a story for another day. In any case even if he doesn’t use this board it’s not much of a loss for us because someone will use it. Order this one fast if you want it, there are only a few left in stock.

So this snow scooter below was the one that originally caught my eye but the closer they get to sold out the more expensive they get.

The snow scooter still looks super duper fun though so I kept browsing for less expensive options. I doubt the scooter handle on the scooter below will be tall enough for us adults as it’s only 3 feet. Since there is no foot straps I’m not sure these will work for anyone but our shorter kids but I’ll probably still try it!

All that being said the younger ones that struggle with balance would probably like this board better than the regular snowboard, and the weight rating is 220 lbs so it will probably work for our kiddos for at least a few years.

If you hate waiting on snow to be able to hop on your board check this out! These balance boards can be tricky to learn how to use but are so so fun once you get the hang of it.

**By the way all the activities I just suggested? Well you are doing them at your own risk so use your own judgement!**

Any of these activities are a total blast but like anything it can hurt when things don’t go as planned.

I’ve wanted my own balance board for awhile now, I’ve only ever used a friend’s board. I did get pretty good at balancing the one he had but it’s been awhile and I know I am going to be cautious when I attempt to get back on a balance board again!

Snow Toys for Tots

Since my youngest daughter won’t walk in the snow I decided to look for snow toys for her to use while the rest of us sled and snowboard. She just stood there and yelled at us last time and wouldn’t walk up the hill to sled. So I know I need to find her some entertainment so the rest of us can take turns sledding.

If you already have some sand toys you might be all good to entertain your toddler. If not this sand set is super cute and I bet your little one would love playing in the snow or the sand with these toys.

If you are like us and enjoy building castles and igloos this brick and block mold set below may be of interest.

This snowball maker kit was super cute too. My toddler probably would just enjoy playing with the snow figures but I am sure my kids would teach her to throw snowballs soon enough!

Staying Warm with Good Snow Gear

Have I mentioned I am not a fan of cold weather? We make sure to have nice warm, and waterproof, items for going out in the snow!

So I thought we had plenty of winter gear this year because we had plenty last year, but you know how it goes. They were calling for up to 18 inches of snow so I panic shopped trying to replace the snow boots and snow pants everyone grew out of last year.

I did get the 2 youngest kids some snow boots at the kids consignment shop. I’m not paying full price for boots my children will wear 6 times max and grow out of in 3 months. I tried to buy new boots for my oldest adult sized child because I can’t find her size at the kids consignment anymore. Well everything available through the grocery order was sold out and I didn’t have time to run to that store too.

The solution for this problem was I took my mom’s sized 11 boots (I wear a size 9 regularly) but this meant I could give my size 10 boots to her because she wears an 8.5 regularly. Snow boots have a sloppy fit in general so it’s really not that noticeable unless they are several inches too long.

Unless you are my son because he absolutely hates when his shoes move around on his feet. He was upset with the boots I bought, similar to the ones above, because they wouldn’t strap tight enough to hold tight to his skinny ankles.

At that point I told him he was lucky because the rest of us were swimming in our boots and he was lucky to have nice boots because some kids don’t have snow boots at all!

Honestly if he hadn’t felt better after this conversation I was considering tying a rope around the outside of the boot, on the ankle, so they held onto his foot better! Turns out that was unnecessary because after he saw his sister and I in our too big snow boots he felt pretty lucky.

Also no one lost any boots while playing outside. I do think for regular wear though I’ll have to get my son some insulated hiking boots eventually, but I refuse until he starts tying his shoes regularly!

Maybe I’ll get him something like this boot below for next year if he still feels the same way about how his boots fit. If not he gets the size 4 black and orange boys boots that I got his older sister just a year or 2 ago.

Pro tip – buy older siblings boys boots because they will pass down to all siblings. If you buy girls boots, good luck passing those to your boys. I know my son would have refused to wear girl’s boots even in our own backyard.

I’d recommend the same thing for snow pants for your older kids. I buy my kids nice winter coats in colors they like but for snow pants I always bought black or navy blue.

I usually look at our 2nd hand shops to see if I can find something less expensive, and when I can’t find anything I like there I’ll buy something new.

I bought my little one snow pants one size up and though they look humongous they still work and will hopefully work next year too.

I hate scrambling for full winter outfits for the kids each year. I try to stay prepared and only have to look for a few key pieces before the snowy season hits.

So the thing that I was kicking myself for this year was that I forgot to check the glove stash before I went out shopping. My oldest daughter has a tendency to lose just one of things. One water shoe lost in the ocean, and when I checked gloves we had 3 left handed ones in the size both her and I wear.

We had 1 pair of good waterproof thinsulate gloves that have glow-in-the-dark skeleton hands on them. Then there were the 3 thinsulate left-hand gloves. I would have worn a mismatch if possible but you cannot wear these types of gloves on the wrong hand comfortably.

Thank goodness we still had that pair of the skeleton gloves when we got that snow storm. I let my oldest use those and I used polar fleece gloves which aren’t the best but will still keep your hands warm for awhile.

After that snowstorm my touch-screen friendly gloves arrived and now we are all snow ready (until my daughter loses her next glove, but that’s not really your problem lol)! If you haven’t checked these out yet what are you waiting for?!

Wrapping Up My Post & Praying for Snow!

I know that a lot of you are still working outside of the home and the snow is still an inconvenience. I hope that if it does snow the roads stay clear and it’s not too upsetting for commuters.

This year people are staying home more than ever! If your family is like my family, if there isn’t something exciting outdoors during the cold season everyone seems content to stay nice and warm inside.

I’m definitely hoping for more snow this season because it gets everyone excited enough to put on the million layers of cozy clothes and play outdoors. We also just found out that we are able to sled at the park near our house and it has awesome hills!

So when it looks like this outside again please don’t yell at me lol. My kids need to get outside and the cold only looks really appealing when there is lots of snow on the ground.

Hey in case you are interested that same neighborhood park might be setting up a little outdoor ice skating rink. I know we were hoping to finally get to skate there this year! They have set it up a few years in a row but it needs to be below freezing for 3 days in a row and we had to many other things to do the few times the weather cooperated the last few years.

We keep talking about going to an indoor ice skating rink but with covid that seems like a bad idea, so we are really hoping the weather plays nice this season. I do still need a few new pairs of ice skates though as the kids’ feet grow so fast. If you were wondering if they make adjustable ice skates like they do for roller skates, they do!

I looked it up because the kids change shoe sizes so fast and the adjustable roller skates have saved me a lot of time and money searching for new skates. In our area finding used ice skates is pretty rare but sometimes you can find the adjustable roller skates at the kids consignment shops!

Update: It looks like they aren’t opening our local ice rink this years due to uncooperative weather.

Anyway don’t hate on me too much for praying for snow and cold weather. The only way we go outside during the cold season is if there are fun winter activities to be had, unless we get an unseasonably warm day!

I do hope everyone is prepped for some winter fun and staying happy and healthy! Since this post goes live on New Year’s Eve, we wish a very happy New Year to all of you from my family to yours!

Let me know what activities your family likes to do during the cold season. I’d love to hear new suggestions and get some new ideas on fun stuff to do with my family!

Thanks so much for reading with me today, and I hope you all are staying warm and cozy!

Kat @CraftingGlow

Please share and pin to kid’s activity and family boards, thanks a million!!

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