Snow time should be play time

Mike Collins, Senior Press Officer at the National Trust, on why snowy days are a great opportunity to spend time outdoors.

©National Trust Images/John Millar

People enjoying snow at Box Hill, Surrey ©National Trust Images/John Millar

Whenever it snows I think back to my childhood. Hours spent in the freezing cold with my fingers tinkling as we built snowmen or had snowball fights. Those were the days when memories were made that would last a lifetime.

Waking up this morning my two kids were so excited and opened the curtains to whoops of joy. Around 10cm of snow fell overnight and it’s been snowing continuously, sometimes vertically, since first light.

When we ventured out in to the garden and beyond two things stood out. The sheer joy of the kids as they played in the snow and their cheeks gradually went red. And the total silence. The background noise of daily life changed as cars remained glued to the spot that they were parked in. Lone birds flew around in search of shelter or food and a flock of starlings battled against the biting wind.

Slowly parents and children gathered with sledges of all shapes and sizes. Their mission was clear: the thrill of the ride and the beaming smile. For decades it hardly snowed in the winter beyond the hilly areas of the UK and suddenly for kids it’s becoming ‘normal’ for them to see more than a light dusting of snow.

Snow days are a great chance for families to spend time together and experience the feeling of cold on their faces and the thrill of the sledge ride and the anticipation of a warming hot chocolate. Today we’ll be adding some handwritten notes to our memory tin.

It’s also time for communities to come together and have that rarest of things – a shared experience – as people pour out on to the streets, reclaiming them from the dominance of the car.

When it snows kids become connected with nature and find that sense of fun and excitement that they can only ever find from being outdoors. Being indoors can never match these experiences that make us whole and enrich our lives.

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4 Comments

  1. sarah
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Permalink

    Definitely agree. I commented on this last time it snowed. Adults and children were out playing, many of us do not normally mix together. But we were all sledging on the bank outside my house looking out for each other as shouts of car were passed up the road depending which way the ‘danger’ was approaching from.

    I can’t wait for our snow to come down a bit harder so we can do it again :-)

  2. Kirsi
    Posted January 18, 2013 at 8:30 pm | Permalink

    It´s somehow enjoyable to read the describings about the British snow days, as it makes me think that we share something despite the distance between us :) The picture is alike ours in the middle of Sweden, we also have these thick beds of snow and people are getting out, sporting or sledging. I use to take one hour walks everyday in one of the large public parks in my hometown and it´s great to see that people aren´t afraid for the cold despite the -8 degrees Celsius. The runners run, the walkers walk, mothers with baby strollers and people with dogs take their daily doze of fresh air. As it was mentioned, it makes me as well to think on my childhood and youth when we rarely were seen at home and played outside until it was dark. Our parents had to come and bring us home, we could easily have been on the hills and sledging or ice skating at the school yard to the late night!

  3. Joshua Koepp
    Posted January 19, 2013 at 8:53 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Fiddlehouse Dad and commented:
    As Minnesotan’s, we know that this is the only way to survive winter. Mr. Collins does a great job of capturing the wonder of playing in the snow.

  4. Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:44 am | Permalink

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