Having Fun on Windy Days with Kids
Rain, sleet, snow, heat – with the right gear, we can deal with it all. But there’s one kind of weather that seems to trip most of us up.
It stings your face, leaves your kids unsteady on their feet, and blows dust and pollen all around. Might as well stay inside, right?
But with a little planning – and the right attitude – a windy day can be fun.
As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, we earn from qualifying purchases.
Staying warm on windy days
Even a slight breeze can leave you feeling significantly colder than if the air is still. While you’re gearing up to head outside, make sure you check the wind speed and “feels like” or “wind chill” temperature for your area and plan to dress for that temperature.
But keep in mind – the wind steals your warmth. Any body heat you build up can be whipped away easily if the winds are strong enough. You not only need the right layers for the air temperature, but ones that are good for wind.
Dressing kids extra warm on windy days
When it’s cold and windy, you need to make sure to dress in warm layers. Make sure you check out our blog post for tips on “Layering up kids for cold weather.”
If you’re typically miserable on windy days, wear more layers than you might typically for the same air temperature. Remember, wind will keep taking any body heat you build up away from you.
A good outer shells will is important to keep the wind from whipping right through you. Avoid outer layers like fleece that have small holes to let the wind in easily.
And don’t forget accessories like hats and gloves. Not only will a hat keep you warm, but a snug fit will also keep annoying hairs from blowing all over faces. For warmer weather, I like these sun hats with chin straps to keep hats from blowing away. The chin strap breaks away if it’s caught on something, an important safety feature.
If you have a little one, wearing them on you can help keep you both warm. If they’re facing inward, they can also better keep those annoying breezes off their face. I also like that my Burley trailer/stroller has a cover that keeps my little ones warm and dry in stormy weather.
Even on warm and windy days, I like to wear long long sleeves to keep the breeze off my skin.
So when you’re getting dressed for windy weather, remember:
- Dress warmer than you would for the same air temperature on a still day.
- Wear snug hats or ones with chin straps.
- Outer shells help break the wind.
- Face babies inward if you are babywearing, or put them in a stroller with a cover.
Choosing some good places to go on windy days
Every spring, my kids play soccer. And every spring, we stand out on a huge, open field and absolutely freeze while the wind pummels us. Goals flip over, the wind pushes the ball around the field, and on particularly windy days, half the team quits and goes to sit in the cars.
My point is – if you’re looking to stay warm on a windy day, avoid large open spaces that have no landforms to block the wind.
Finding a good place to go on a windy day can take a lot of trial and error, but paying attention to weather patterns in your area can help. Does the wind typically blow from a certain direction? Are there are any mountains or hills that can protect you from gusts in that direction?
Windy days are also not great days for peak-bagging. The higher up in elevation you go, the stronger the winds will be. It’s a much better time to stick to exploring protected valleys. If winds are not too strong, the trees in forests can also help buffer against the wind.
Wind coming off of water will be significantly colder. If you’re looking to stay warm, avoid heading to lakes and rivers where the air will be cooled even more as it blows across the body of water.
The time of day matters too. Have you ever noticed how wind tends to pick up throughout the afternoon? In the mornings, a stable mass of cool air keeps things calm on the ground. As the air warms through the day, wind moves downward and the wind speed on the ground increases.
So when you’re picking somewhere to go on a windy day, remember:
- Wind speed will pick up throughout the day.
- Wind is stronger at high elevations.
- Avoid wide-open spaces with no landforms to blog the wind.
- Wind coming off of bodies of water will be colder.
Keep moving to stay warm in windy weather
I’m not suggesting that you try to battle the wind on a hike or bike. Running into the wind is a sure-fire way to leave everyone over-tired and over-grumpy. But a windy day is certainly not the time for a picnic either.
A few days ago, it was 34 degrees with 20 mile per hour winds. I was dreading taking my kids to the playground like I had promised. But unsurprisingly, we had the place to ourselves, so I just jumped in and ran around with my kids. I stayed a lot warmer than I would have otherwise, and after a few minutes, I didn’t even notice the wind.
Find activities that will keep everyone moving (but not fighting) the wind. For example:
- Try a fitness trail if your town has one.
- Play soccer in the backyard.
- Head to a playground and join in the fun.
Be safe in windy weather
If you live in the Mountain West, you’re most likely familiar with the pine beetle epidemic which killed millions of trees across the Rocky Mountains. The higher-than-usual number of dead trees in forests meant that windy days were even riskier than normal, as dead trees are at a greater risk of falling over.
On a light breezy day, the forest can offer some protection against the wind. But if winds are strong enough to pose a threat, we avoid forests, especially ones with high numbers of dead trees. As much I want my kids to have a healthy sense of adventure and to take risks, I also want them to learn to respect weather warnings. We semi-frequently have high wind warnings in our area, and we’ll often take it easy on those days.
Also, be extra careful if you are on a boat in the wind. If your kids are kayaking or rafting by themselves, they can easily get blown out farther than you or they might feel comfortable.
Keep in mind that high winds can pose a few other risks as well, such as blowing dust and debris. Sunglasses can be great for protecting eyes from not only the sun but from dust and allergies as well. (Check out our favorite sunglasses for kids here).
If it’s a warm and windy day, don’t forget the sunscreen. I’ve made the mistake of forgetting to put it on because I didn’t feel the sun warming up my skin. The sun can burn you just as well on a windy day as on a calm one!
- Be careful in woods with dead trees
- Take extra caution if you are on the water.
- Don’t forget sunscreen if it’s warm.
- Wear sunglasses to protect against dust and debris.
Fun ideas to do in windy weather
On a windy day, it might seem like all your favorite activities to do with kids are no-gos. A bike ride into the wind will leave everyone grumpy and miserable. A hike to your favorite view will leave you hanging on for dear life. So what can you do on a windy day?
Luckily, there are still plenty of great ways to have fun when the wind is blowing. Here are some of our favorite ideas:
Fly a kite
There is, of course, absolutely nothing better to do on a windy day than flying a kite. You don’t need to spend a ton of money on a kite, but if you want something that will last more than a few minutes, it’s best to avoid the cheap plastic ones. We like this octopus kite for its ease of flying and plenty of giggles. I highly recommend getting a separate spool to attach, as the ones that come with kites are often difficult for little kids to handle.
If you’re kite flying, in this case it is best to head to wide open spaces. You’ll want to avoid power lines and trees, as well as have some room to run. Empty sports fields are a great place to start.
Want to try making your own? Check out this tutorial from SciShow Kids.
Make a pinwheel
Pinwheels can be fun to watch on a windy day. If you want to avoid buying plastic ones, try making your own! Here’s a simple tutorial on how to make your own pinwheel from The Spruce. You can let the kids decorate the paper with markers and crayons themselves to help keep them busy on days it’s too windy to play outside for long.
Make a wind sock
Windsocks are a great way to learn about wind direction. Hanging one on your deck can help you learn about the weather patterns in your area, but they can also be a fun craft for kids to make. Here is another tutorial from The Spruce on how to make a tissue paper windsock. For a different style, check out this tutorial from AccuWeather. Use scrap fabric, grocery bags, yarn, or other recycled materials to make it more eco-friendly.
Forecast the weather
Wind is caused by air systems moving around the globe, and can come in handy weather forecaster. Head outside with your kids, and see if you can figure out the direction wind is coming from. Is it coming from the north?
Are colder temperatures in your forecast? Is it coming in from the coast? Do you have rain in your future? Is a storm blowing in, or is one moving past? Have fun seeing if you and your kids can figure out what the wind is telling you about the days to come. For more tips on how to do this, check out the resources below.
The last bike ride we took, the wind was starting to gust 20 miles per hour. But because we realized it was blowing from the north due to a snowstorm moving in, we were able to have a decent bike ride heading east-west before the winds became unbearable.
Learn about windy weather
Because it is so windy so often where I live, learning about wind has helped me appreciate this often-annoying weather. Looking for some resources to learn more about windy weather with your kids? Check these out. Some of the books are purely fiction, but will leave wind sounding a lot more fun.
- Sci Show – What is Wind?
- Bill Nye the Science Guy – Wind
- WSAV News – Why does wind speed change directions?
The links below go to Bookshop and help support small book stores. Or you can check out the books via Amazon in the widget below.
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind – William Kamkwamba
- The Wind Blew – Pat Hutchins
- Everything Weather – National Geographic
- Flora’s Very Windy Day – Jeanne Birdsall
- Magic School Bus Rides the Wind – Anne Capeci
- Energy Island – How One Community Harnessed the Wind and Changed the World – Allan Drummond
- Henry and Mudge and the Wild Wind – Cynthia Ryland
- Millicent and the Wind – Robert Munsch
Keep the right attitude on windy days
As with everything, a parent’s mood sets the tone for any outdoor adventure. If you’re whining and grumbling about the wind (and trust me, I have been there!), your kids are bound to pick up the message that the day is doomed to be a failure.
Sure, a windy day might not be the best day for a long bike ride or trying to wrangle multiple kids in a jogging stroller. But if you look all the fun you can only have on a windy day, you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
Or at the very least, fake it till you make it back inside. Then sip some hot chocolate while you enjoy watching your pinwheels from the window.
- Diverse Books for Kids in the Outdoors
- Wild Math Second Grade Review
- School Outside
- Baselayer Options for Adults
Having Fun on Windy Days with Kids
© 2021, Tales of a Mountain Mama. All rights reserved. Republication, in part or entirety, requires a link back to this original post and permission from the author.