We ♥ Winter

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A Park Slope parents shares her tips for playing in the snow in Prospect Park.

Sledding in Prospect Park

 

My niece just posted a new photo album on Facebook titled, “I Heart Winter!”  Clicking through her pictures brought me back to the winters of my youth and the fun I had playing in the snow.  Our elementary school had a big hill and recesses from mid-October to mid-April we drug our sleds up the side of the hill so we could sled down the middle.  If the line was short, we could get five good runs in before lining up to go back inside.  On days I didn’t want to sled, I’d pack my figure skates and dream of becoming a professional ice dancer while I glided across the rink.  I heart winter, too!

 

Fast forward twenty years.  After my first Brooklyn snowfall, I plowed my double-wide city jogger up President Street.  I bulldozed through snow burms piled up at the curb cuts, the boys squealing with delight as the snow sprinkled in their faces. We bought a long, green sled at Tarzian Hardware then headed into the park.  We took a few runs down a small-ish hill and headed back home with the sled balanced on top of the stroller.

 

Sometimes I lugged the sled to “pick up” and we headed straight into the park after school let out.  On our way back home we would stop by Starbucks for hot cocoa and a cookie.

 

We always had such a grand time! … Except when we didn’t.

 

 

We wouldn’t leave Prospect Park with winter-rosy cheeks singing Frosty the Snowman. We’d leave when the younger boy felt like pins were stabbing into his toes. On the walk home my oldest, upset he didn’t get enough sledding in, blamed his brother for being wimpy and would “accidently” bump his elbow into his brother’s side setting off more crying.  By the time I rolled the stroller into the apartment, both boys would be in tears, blaming each other for the ruined day.  I’d cozy each boy into a blanket, scoot them to opposite ends of the couch and turn on a DVD until toes warmed and tempers cooled.

 

Big kids

 

They’re older now.  I don’t have to come up with extensive snow day ideas; they have plenty of their own. Of course, they still have opposite ideas about what is fun in the snow.  The oldest anticipates the snow.  He jumps out of bed to shovel, build forts, and stock ammo for an inevitable snow ball fight.  The younger appreciates the concept of snow but prefers watching football on a warm, dry couch.  Over winter break when the streets were left unplowed for three days, both boys were in heaven.  I spent a few hours each day at the park supervising the oldest speed off the jumps made on the hill behind the Picnic House.  The younger boy stayed home with Grandpa.  That night we watched a movie and no one cried.

 

So much snow, so little time for little noses and toes

 

Quick jaunts in the snow

  • Plow through the snow—if you have to push the stroller through the snow anyhow, make it fun.
  • Snow painting—fill spray bottles with water and food coloring (yellow may not be the best color). Spray them on the snow burms to “paint” pictures.
  • Shovel—Perhaps it’s not your responsibility to shovel.  Still, letting your tot go to work with a shovel will give you something to do outside without hiking into the park.  Plus you’ll get to chat with your adult neighbors.
  • Snow angel—collapsing back into a pile of fresh snow is fun!  Still! At 36!
  • Break out the camera—taking pictures in the snow is so much fun!  Give the camera to the kids, if you dare, and see what they come up with.
  • Bring snow inside—you hear that no two snowflakes are the same.  Shake a few off your gloves and put them under the looking glass.

Xtreme Sledding, Slope-style

 

Long expeditions

 

  • Sledding—the slope of the hill and duration of the sledding trip are, obviously, age dependant.
  • Snow adventure—while taking a hike through the fresh snow pretend you’re a discoverer trekking through the South Pole.
  • Building Snowmen—or snow women, snow animals...  Last year, a talented snow sculptor made a snow dinosaur.
  • Build an igloo—remember the largest snowball ever that someone made in Prospect Park last year?  Someone else hollowed it out to become a snow fort.

 

The reward

  • Hot chocolate and cookies—And at the end of it all, warm up with a cozy mug of hot cocoa.  Unfortunately, my kids don’t like chocolate. (They get that from their dad).

 

Amber