The great indoors is awfully tempting in the winter. Though we all know how important nature connection is for kids, it can still be tough to uncurl ourselves from the iPad to get out there. To inspire you, we've asked four Seattle-based writers who write about outdoor adventures for ParentMap (and who have blogs of their own that are chock full of ideas) to chime in about what gets them out the door in the dark months.
1. Rachel McClary, early childhood educator and blogger at RightFromtheStart
Winter nature activity: Go exploring: looking for Winnie the Pooh in the Hundred Acre Wood, finding natural materials, spotting letter shapes in nature, searching for a Gruffalo’s cave, or looking for a stickman. Having grown up by the sea I also love to visit the beach in the winter when it is both wild and peaceful.
Place to explore: A lot of our exploring is done in our own garden where we can take a break for a hot chocolate if necessary but we also love woodlands and beaches. For a longer trip we love the hike to Rattlesnake Ledge as the view at the top is tremendous.
Favorite outdoor winter gear: For the kids, I love their all-in-one rainsuits.
Favorite quote: "The best classroom and the richest cupboard is roofed only by the sky" - Margaret McMillan
Don't miss: Rachel's article on playing outside in the dark
Jennifer Kakutani, artist, nature educator and blogger at MermaidCity
Winter nature activity: Snowshoeing. We love it because it gets us into the mountains, it's slower-paced and cheaper than skiing and our entire family can participate together.
Place to explore: On some winter days just getting outside for more than our daily bike commute can be a challenge, therefore I keep my expectations low. A short walk around our neighborhood will suffice. If we actually arrive at our local green space, Woodland Park, I encourage the kids to look for signs of winter or seasonal change in their favorite climbing trees and hiding spots.
Favorite outdoor winter gear: My toddler's thin wool hood. It keeps him warm while framing his face adorably and fits under his helmet comfortably.
Quote: “If a child is to keep alive his inborn sense of wonder, he needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with him the joy, excitement, and mystery of the world we live in.” ― Rachel Carson
Don't miss: Jennifer's piece on winter frost fun (baked-potato walk!)
>Next: Jennifer Johnson, HikerMama
Jennifer Johnson, nature educator, home-school mom, and blogger at HikerMama
Nature activity: We started snowshoeing last year, and have enjoyed the changes winter brings to the mountains. We also like to explore more parks closer to home while mountain trails are inaccessible.
Place to explore in winter: We really like the large number of trails in the Anacortes area – Deception Pass State Park, Washington Park, and the Anacortes Community Forest Lands. You can’t beat the wild feel of the trails, the beaches, cliffs, lakes and big old trees just a little over an hour away from home.
Favorite outdoor winter gear: Oh, how can I pick just one! I love my new Kahtoola Microspikes for ice, and my kids are coveting my pair. I would live in my SmartWool shirt if I could. But the best thing we’ve done is get us all individual thermoses from REI to carry hot cocoa or tea in – they help immensely in fighting the chills on a cold day, and it’s more pleasant to drink something warm than it is to drink icy cold water.
Quote: “Contemplate beauty in the world around you, and you yourself will become beautiful.” - J. Donald Walters
Don't miss: Jennifer's article on 10 great outdoor/indoor hikes
>Next: Lauren Braden, NWTripFinder
Lauren Braden, travel writer and blogger at NWTripFinder
Winter nature activity: Snowshoeing is tons of fun and easier than it looks, even for kids. I love going up to Paradise at Mount Rainier and taking one of their free family-friendly snowshoe walks with a park ranger. They lead them twice a day on weekends through March.
Place to explore: We love to rent a rustic (yet heated!) cabin at Silver Falls State Park south of Portland. I particularly love this park in winter because you're in the Cascade foothills there so you have a good chance of snow, and there are many miles of trails in the park that pass waterfalls that sometimes freeze in winter. It's so convenient to be able to hike right from your cabin without getting in your car.
Piece of outdoor winter gear: A layer of down, like a jacket or a vest. Even when temps aren't that cold here, moisture in the air can zap the heat from your body quite quickly. I froze my way through several Northwest winters before I discovered the warmth of down goose feathers.
Don't miss: Lauren's article on how to book the best campsites