Winter Walking: Snowshoeing Family Fun

[ 9 ] February 25, 2008 |

SnowshoeingSnowshoeing is a great winter activity for getting outside and keeping active. More convenient (and cheaper!) than downhill skiing or snowboarding, and easier for little kids than cross-country skiing, snowshoeing is something the whole family can enjoy with just a little preparation and investment.

Last winter, my husband and I bought these nice “step-in” snowshoes from L.L. Bean, which means you can use pretty much any snow boot with them. Since we were only planning on being occasional users, we opted not to get poles (although I could see poles being handy for more hardcore enthusiasts). That meant that the snowshoes were the only equipment we needed before heading out into the great snowy wilderness, aside from the usual winter layers of clothing, hats, and gloves.

For my four-year-old son, we originally purchased a pair of Snow Paw children’s snowshoes. While my son loved the cute bear prints these shoes left behind on shorter trips (read: around the backyard and down the driveway), I found the straps difficult to adjust and rather flimsy. A longer hike down a snowy beach left me exhilarated, but my son fell a number of times and ended up facedown in a drift of snow sobbing about returning to the car. Not exactly what I pictured for our wintertime family fun.

I would definitely recommend choosing substance over style for kids’ snowshoes. For our next excursion, we upgraded to these Little Bear Spiderman snowshoes: they still looked cool but stayed on a lot better and felt much sturdier. My sister got the L.L. Bean Winter Walker snowshoes for her two-year-old, and both mom and babe have been happy with them. Each brand adjusts to fit up to 50 to 60 pounds, so the kids should be able to wear them for at least a few years.

The best thing about snowshoeing is that once you have the snowshoes, pretty much all you need is snow. Mother Nature’s been a bit fickle about that recently but when it does snow, you should head out as soon as possible. There’s something incredibly peaceful about walking atop fresh snow, feeling the winter sun on your face, and thinking maybe, just maybe, you heard the first robin tentatively calling out for spring.

Nature/Nurture, written by Michelle Riggen-Ransom, is an occasional column with ideas and information to help kids and their families engage with the natural world in fun, interesting ways. Share your thoughts and explorations by adding your comment below, or contact us with your story ideas.

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Category: activities: outdoor, nature/nurture, seasonal


Michelle Riggen Ransom

about the author ()

A fan of all things oceanic, Michelle keeps moving from one coast to another. She's lived in many cities (always by water) and now with her husband in Seattle is raising two fourth-generation beach babies. Michelle currently works as a communications consultant for tech companies, and on building apps like Craftmonkey and InstaChimp. Apparently a love of nature and a passion for cool technologies are not mutually exclusive, as she is equally smitten with both.

Comments (9)

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  1. calendar Kate says:

    is that barrington beach? what a good way to enjoy the beach in winter. this is such a good idea.

    we’ll keep our fingers crossed for more snow.

  2. kickstand says:

    Caratunk wildlife refuge in Seekonk, MA, is a good spot for snowshoeing:

    http://www.asri.org/caratunk.htm

    There hasn’t been much snow this year, though.

  3. calendar Katharine says:

    Caratunk is great and we also like winter hikes/nordic skiing/snowshoeing at Trustham Pond in south county. It’s part of Audubon too, is similar to Caratunk (an easy hike that is) but ends at the water.

  4. Michelle says:

    That is indeed Barrington Beach. I love walking the beaches in the winter. I just found a link to Canoe Passage out of Warren who rent snowshoes and arranges moonlight snowshoeing excursions complete with wine, hot cider and cheese – malto romantico! Maybe if we get some more snow we can arrange a kidoinfo reader field trip (they take parties of eight, kids welcome :)

  5. calendar Katy says:

    I’d like to go on the field trip!

  6. SueA says:

    We just bought our 3 1/2 and 6 year old some cross country skis. They are like the snow shoes, in that their winter boot straps into the skis (makes for longer lasting skis) but all they have to do is glide. My boys love them!

  7. Anisa Raoof Anisa says:

    I vote for the Kidoinfo reader field trip to Canoe Passgae in Warren.

  8. Marla says:

    Hi Michelle! Love the whole beach/snow thing. I have never been snowshoeing but this is something I see myself doing along with some snowmobiling. :) Being from Texas this is def a winter trip somewhere.

  9. Rick Trustham says:

    Could you let me know where Trustham Pond is, please?

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