Sledding with Kids: Winter Fun on the Snow
Sledding is a beloved winter tradition for most families. The thrill of flying down a snowy hill and holding onto a sled tightly is exciting for kids of all ages. Sledding is a perfect way to enjoy the winter weather while spending quality time together as a family.
Before heading out to the sledding hill, there are a few things to take care of. Make sure children are dressed properly for cold weather. Warm, waterproof gloves, hats, snow pants, coats, and boots are a must. Layering clothing helps trap body heat. Bring extra socks and gloves in case kids get wet. Apply sunscreen on exposed skin, even when it’s cold and cloudy. The sun’s rays reflect off the snow and can cause burns. Pack healthy snacks and thermoses of hot cocoa to help keep kids fueled and warm.
Choosing a Sled
The type of sled you use can impact the sledding experience. Traditional wood or plastic toboggans are durable and versatile for all ages. Inflatable tube-like sleds are bouncy and fun for younger kids. Disk saucer sleds can reach fast speeds for thrill-seeking sledders. Make sure to get an appropriate-sized sled for your child to ride safely and comfortably. Bigger sleds allow for riding together with a parent or sibling. Consider bringing a variety of sled options to accommodate different ages and temperaments.
Finding the Right Hill
Not all hills are created equal when it comes to the ideal winter sledding experience. Seek out hills that are long enough for a decent ride, but not dangerously steep or icy. The incline should allow the sled to glide smoothly downhill, not violently race out of control. The hill should have a flat, open run-out area at the bottom to allow sleds to coast to a gradual stop. Stay away from hills that end abruptly with obstacles like trees, rocks, or busy streets. Scout out potential hills after a fresh snowfall to assess conditions. Local parks are often excellent sledding spots.
Sledding is meant to be fun, but safety should be the top priority with kids. Children must stay seated during the ride and keep arms and legs inside the sled. Wipe out any bumps or divots in the slope that could tip or stop the sled. Adults should supervise the hill from top to bottom to monitor all sledders. Take turns sledding one at time, waiting for the hill to clear before sending the next rider. Sled feet first or sitting up, no headfirst belly flops. Move aside quickly after finishing a run to avoid collisions. Consider having kids wear helmets for added protection. With some common sense precautions, sledding can be safe amusement.
Learning proper sledding techniques can help kids gain confidence and skill. Start runs from a seated, stationary position at the top of the hill to avoid losing control right away. Lean back and use hands as brakes to regulate speed if needed. Keep the sled pointed straight downhill and avoid twisting sideways. When riding together, the heavier person should sit in the back to help steer. If the sled veers off course, lean hard in the opposite direction to get back on track. Quickly drag feet or hands in the snow to come to a stop if necessary. With practice, kids will soon be sledding pros.
Take a Break
Kids love to go sledding for as long as they can. However, after an hour or so of outdoor winter play, kids will need a chance to warm up. Bring them in for hot chocolate and a snack to recharge. Have spare gloves and socks in case theirs got damp. Check for any signs of hypothermia like shivering or loss of coordination. Take a break to just relax and appreciate the magical winter wonderland. Chat about their favorite runs down the hill and the thrills and spills along the way. Then it’s back outside for more frosty fun on the sledding hill.
Sledding with kids is a timeless tradition that creates lasting memories built around simple joyful play. Children will remember the feeling of wind rushing against their faces as they slid uncontrollably down towering snow piles. They’ll recall the struggles to pull their cumbersome sleds back up the hill time and again. And the sight of their rosy red frostbitten faces beaming with exhilaration after an adrenaline-filled run. Beyond just the physical activity, sledding builds bonds through shared experiences that become cherished moments. The nostalgia of winters past spent sledding together is a gift to kids that will warm their hearts for years to come.