Studies have shown that kids who are regularly exposed to nature and the outdoors are smarter, more cooperative and healthier overall. It’s easy to spend plenty of time outside in the summer, but what about the blustery, short days of winter? Time to snowshoe! It’s is a fun, safe and inexpensive activity that families (and dogs!) can enjoy all winter long.
Snowshoeing Gear for Kids
Like any other sport, outfitting your child with proper fitting gear will increase the likelihood of safety, retention and an enjoyable experience. It’s key to give your little snow bunny a fair shot at grasping this new sport the with a pair of kid’s snowshoes. Snowshoes that are too big will be heavy and cumbersome, thereby tiring the child out too quickly. With a small price tag ($30-$80) compared to adult snowshoes ($100-$250), the investment is worth it. A child or tween can use the same size snowshoes for 4-5 years.
What to Wear
Kids should be kept comfortable and warm while snowshoeing. They tend to heat up fairly quickly and sweat once they start moving around outside, so it’s important to avoid overdressing.
- Long Underwear – A long underwear top and bottom are ideal choices for next to skin comfort, breathability and moisture management. Such base layers are made with synthetic fibers or wool, rather than cotton, which do wonders for temperature regulation and moisture management. If a cotton shirt is worn next to the skin and your child begins to sweat, that shirt will turn to ice as soon as the child stops moving for snack break!
- Jacket and Pants – Although kids rarely take a digger on snowshoes, a winter jacket and snow pants are still recommended. They will keep your little warm and dry, and more important add to the fun factor for your winter adventures.
- Socks – A good pair of ski or snowboard socks are perfect for all day long comfort. The last thing you want is for your child’s boot to “eat” a pair of cotton socks as your trekking through the snow! Ski and snowboard socks stay in place and won’t shift throughout the day.
- Gloves or Mittens – Like a winter jacket and snow pants, kid’s gloves and mittens should have a water resistant coating on the outside to keep them from getting saturated and damp. The House only sells ski and snowboard specific gloves for youth, which are perfect for snowshoeing!
- Beanie – Yup, a winter hat made of synthetic materials or wool is the final touch for an enjoyable experience with snowshoes! If your child starts to overheat, just unzip the jacket a bit and remove his or her beanie to dump excess heat.
- Footwear – Any children’s winter boot with insulation and some flex will work fine for snowshoeing. Ski boots are not the best choice since they are so stiff. Kid’s snowboard boots would be a better option since they flex and allow for a more natural stride. Hiking boots or trail sneakers will work as long as they are treated with a water protective coating.
Information on adult snowshoe gear is available as well.
Snowshoeing Tips: Getting Started
- Snowshoeing is Easy to Learn – Lessons are not necessary to get your snowshoe on. It’s easy and fun! A normal stride is best. And with snowshoes, it’s second nature to walk with your feet a little wider, so the shoes don’t clank. Find some flat terrain at a local park or even in your own backyard to get practice.
- Practice U Turns – Since snowshoes are not designed to for walking backwards, making U turns is the only way to reverse directions.
- Find a Group – Consider finding a local snowshoe group for you and family to join. It’s a great way to meet people with similar interests and to find some new snowshoe spots!