There’s something magical about waking up on a crisp winter’s morn to discover a perfect carpet of thick white snow. And it’s even more magical watching the wonder of the very first snowfall through your child’s eyes.
For many, the fascination and wonder that snowfall evokes never fades. Perhaps it’s the purity of its whiteness or the perfection of each tiny flake, as unique and individual as the humans who walk the earth. It has a soothing, almost soporific effect, but imagine the wonder of watching snow fall for the very first time, silently and majestically, as tiny flakes grow ever thicker until you can barely see through its sheer whiteness.
When my daughter Grace was born – a February babe – London had its first significant snowfall in years a few days after she was born. I remember looking out into our snowy garden, with the delicate heads of the recently bloomed snowdrops looking like they were wearing fluffy white fur coats up to their necks, and feeling the need to cuddle Grace ever closer to me.
I wasn’t in the slightest bit tempted to take her outside; I was a nervous first-timer, sharing precious bonding time with my daughter and in this instance, the snowfall was my ally. We were happy prisoners and any intruders (with apologies to our eager visitors) were also kept at bay by the inclement weather.
There’s a lot to be said for observing snow whilst holed up within the cosy confines of your home, of course, but there are also times when it’s incumbent upon you to venture out into the wintry wonderland. Indeed, your children will demand it!
Living in London, heavy downfalls of snow used to be rare. In recent years, however, we’ve had sufficient snowfall to whet our appetites. Will it snow this year? Our sleds and snowball-making kit is ready and waiting for the chance to build a snowman, throw snowballs, make a snow angel or head to the nearest slopes to master the art of toboganning!
But here’s the thing. Snow is brilliant fun, but it comes with its challenges (much like ice-skating, which looks so wonderfully effortless when executed by the professionals, but is a whole different affair with toddlers moaning about the tightness of the stiff boots that squeeze your ankles, and pulling you over in an attempt to steady themselves).
Over the years, we’ve had lots of fun in the snow – and picked up a few handy tips over time. We’ve built snowmen of all shapes and sizes, with varying degrees of sartorial elegance.
Our best buys have included an inflatable board for toboganning, and some nifty Arctic Force ‘weaponry’. To the uninitiated, Arctic Force is a bit like Nerf for snowy climes, but instead of foam bullets, you utilise snowballs! We especially love the Wham-O Arctic Force Snow Trac Ball, which scoops up the snow then moulds them into snowballs – hugely preferable to getting frozen, soggy hands.
We’ve got our fingers crossed that it’s going to snow soon. When it does, try these tips to make the most of your snowy escapades:
- Firstly, wrap up with a warm coat but light layers underneath – toddlers can feel uncomfortable with bulky jumpers, so thin thermal layers are better as they won’t constrict movement. We love the stylish jackets by ski specialists Perfect Moment which are suitably cool for the cold!
- Choose a hat that covers ears, deerstalker-style, or earmuffs, and waterproof gloves with fingers, rather than mittens to give greater dexterity for building snowmen or tossing snowballs.
- Woollen gloves will get very soggy in the snow, and coldness often leads to grumpiness, so go for water-resistant materials.
- For footwear, it goes without saying that waterproof is best, with good crunchy grip on the soles. Wellington boots are not really ideal as they don’t offer warmth, though you can add thermal insoles and thick socks. Again, choose a style, like Aigle, Hunter or Joules, with good grip on the soles.
- Waterproof salopettes are great, too, provided they are not too stiff, as trousers tend to get wet when you fall over or are subjected to a torrent of snowballs!
- Always play safely! See our guidelines for best practice for toboganning and building snowmen. Snowball fights can be fun, too, but make sure your child does so safely, and never throws snowballs at anyone’s face.
- Keep your play sessions short to avoid getting too cold. And stock up on delicious hot chocolate to warm the cockles when you get indoors.
Main photography courtesy of Perfect Moment