I'm in the process of launching Walk on the Wild Side Family Nature Club in Great Falls, Montana. My timing isn't perfect -- we already have snow here -- so the weather for our kick-off gathering in November could be dicey. Planning activities and finding sites most of the year will be easy. Our town is on a river and we're not far from mountains. But I'd love to have suggestions from other northern-tier clubs on what they do for winter gatherings. I'm really committed to the notion that there's no bad weather, only bad clothing. Kids usually will go out no matter what. But I'd like to hear how other clubs select sites and determine activities when it's really cold out. Thank you!

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Linda -- Chip & Ashley are a fantastic source of information. Visit their KIVA website. Also check out the movement map club listings for contact info for northern clubs. Make sure to post what you learn here -- to share with others!

http://kidsadventuring.org/blog/

http://www.childrenandnature.org/movement/index/C51/
Hi Linda,
We have been out in "No bad weather,only bad clothing for 3 years now in our outdoor playgroup.We are located in Toronto,Canada. Check out our site for winter activities .
We keep adding new ideas every week, right now we are in fall season.But,you can find tips about winter activities on our site.
http://www.activekidsclub.com/

We are 3 urban outdoor playgroup and for small children 0-6 years of age. So our sites are local parks and ravines. We are not so lucky as you when do come to to wild nature. We look for sites that is enclosed, has trees and varied landscape. The trees will provide shade from the sun in the summer and protects against the wind-chill in the winter. A park with a hill is perfect for sledding in the winter.

We do also find the most problem that parents do not dress their kids for the weather.

I hope it help
Good luck with you group
Kari
I'm facing a similar concern in Massachusetts. Weather is getting colder, days shorter. I'm torn between keeping the weekly outdoor activities regardless of conditions and switching to some indoor actitives (maps and compasses, natural history museums etc). I imagine it will be a mix. Attendance will send me the message.
Thanks, Kari. I just looked at the site. I love the idea of "hiking" in Halloween costumes -- no time this year, but I've put it on our idea list for next fall. I'll keep my eye on the site. Linda

Kari said:
Hi Linda,
We have been out in "No bad weather,only bad clothing for 3 years now in our outdoor playgroup.We are located in Toronto,Canada. Check out our site for winter activities .
We keep adding new ideas every week, right now we are in fall season.But,you can find tips about winter activities on our site.
http://www.activekidsclub.com/

We are 3 urban outdoor playgroup and for small children 0-6 years of age. So our sites are local parks and ravines. We are not so lucky as you when do come to to wild nature. We look for sites that is enclosed, has trees and varied landscape. The trees will provide shade from the sun in the summer and protects against the wind-chill in the winter. A park with a hill is perfect for sledding in the winter.

We do also find the most problem that parents do not dress their kids for the weather.

I hope it help
Good luck with you group
Kari
Hi Linda and welcome to the movement. I live in Pullman, Washington so we are fellow Northwesterners being subjected to an early winter it looks like. In addition to the great responses you have received already, you might want to contact Margaret Rietano who has started an organization in DC called The Elements, specifically targeted to get kids outside in inclement weather. Margaret is a member of C&NN Connect but doesn't frequent this space very often. Her direct email is mrietano@theelementsdc.com . She has four children and works closely with their school system, including using their teachers as guides/companions when the kids get outside as an after-school activity. I believe at this early stage, the kids sign up for one of three nearby parks. I am sure Margaret would enjoy hearing from you. Again, welcome aboard. John
Linda,

What great news! Ashley and I would love to help out in any way that we can. Our first meeting had us out in 4 inches of snow, a big snow for Roanoke, Virginia. Since then we go out in any weather, but we are in the southern states. Bundle them up and keep it short. There is such an amazing world out there in the winter. Crushing, smooshy leaves, wintergreen, and pine cones. Watch the animals adapt to the weather and compare it to how we people adapt!

Check out www.kidsadventuring.org for our gallery of events. We have everything listed since March of last year. You can see some ideas of different events there too.

Please feel free to write with any questions or concerns. Of cours, check out all the great resources available on www.childrenandnature.org, such as the NCFF's toolkit. Also, check out Get Out! by Judy Molland and Let's Go Outside by Jennifer Ward. Both books have excellent examples of ideas for any kind of weather.
Best to you!
Congrats, Linda! Happy Trails FNC is in Minnesota, so we are out in cold, snowy weather all the time. One thing that helps us is to go to places with visitors centers (nature centers, Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, etc.). We start indoors, where we're still learning about nature, then head out, even for 25 minutes. Also, sometimes we have a small fire before we start. I tell people that they'll really love us in winter, when going out with other people is a motivating factor! I also remind people that they can get snow pants at discount shops... Have Fun!
Wow, thanks to you all! Less than 24 hours after I posted this, I have a ton of great resources and ideas. It feels like Christmas! I'll definitely incorporate the idea of using areas with visitor centers -- an easy way to transition from inside to out. And it hadn't occurred to me to build a campfire. I know that would be a hit. I appreciate all the suggestions for Web sites and hearing about "The Elements." I can't wait to dive into them all. You all are making my job of starting this club a lot easier. Many thanks!
Hi Linda,
Thanks,
We had fun even though it was raining...

I'm starting to looking forward to winter both as family and in our outdoor playgroup.

Let me know how things are going
Cheers
Kari


Linda Caricaburu said:
Thanks, Kari. I just looked at the site. I love the idea of "hiking" in Halloween costumes -- no time this year, but I've put it on our idea list for next fall. I'll keep my eye on the site. Linda

Kari said:
Hi Linda,
We have been out in "No bad weather,only bad clothing for 3 years now in our outdoor playgroup.We are located in Toronto,Canada. Check out our site for winter activities .
We keep adding new ideas every week, right now we are in fall season.But,you can find tips about winter activities on our site.
http://www.activekidsclub.com/

We are 3 urban outdoor playgroup and for small children 0-6 years of age. So our sites are local parks and ravines. We are not so lucky as you when do come to to wild nature. We look for sites that is enclosed, has trees and varied landscape. The trees will provide shade from the sun in the summer and protects against the wind-chill in the winter. A park with a hill is perfect for sledding in the winter.

We do also find the most problem that parents do not dress their kids for the weather.

I hope it help
Good luck with you group
Kari
Hi Jodi,
I totally agree(-:

But, one thing I'm wondering about guidelines for parents;when is to cold to be out? I have not yet seen any guidelines about that here in North-America.When is it to cold to be out for your group?

Cheers Kari

Jodi Hiland said:
Congrats, Linda! Happy Trails FNC is in Minnesota, so we are out in cold, snowy weather all the time. One thing that helps us is to go to places with visitors centers (nature centers, Nat'l Wildlife Refuge, etc.). We start indoors, where we're still learning about nature, then head out, even for 25 minutes. Also, sometimes we have a small fire before we start. I tell people that they'll really love us in winter, when going out with other people is a motivating factor! I also remind people that they can get snow pants at discount shops... Have Fun!
Hello Linda and Greetings from Scotland!

This is a great discussion and I just had to pitch in ....

1) If it's any help the Swedish I Ur Och Skur schools and pre-schools have the following policy re winter temperatures
"I Ur och Skur schools have an indoor place. If the weather is really atrocious or the temperature falls below -10°C then the children will spend up to three hours inside at some point between 8.30am and 2.30pm which is the standard day." It's worth remembering that most Swedish outdoor schools are in the near vicinity of woodland which provides more shelter. Also many have outdoor shelters and dens in the forests too.

2) If you visit the resources section of my website, scroll down and click on the "Winter Wonderland" link. You can freely download the activity pack I created a wee while ago.

Best wishes and enjoy the cold weather. This our second day of frost! No snow yet!
Juliet
We walk in the parks a lot - we live near Trenton, NJ close to the Delaware River. There is a canal on both sides of the river full of great stuff. It is snowing now and we put out suet and seets for the birds. Our feeders were full up this morning and we lso had about eight deer in the back yard which brings me to my point - if it is really bad out, we sit in front of a window and watch the birds visiting our feeders and try to name them all. It's not as good as going out, but it keeps you in the nature. We have a squirrel who was hanging upsidedown trying to break in to the suet - we had a hugs win in that we spent about twenty minutes watching the squirrel - beats TV for sure!

When it gets dark we draw pictures of birds etc. And, we work on what spring and summer activities we will go on for our nature club.

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