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7 Sneaky Ways to Stay Warm at Fall Games

Autumn sports, color guard, cheering, and marching band activities never seem to end before the weather turns cold! Stay cozy all season with these clever tips.

By Laura Quaglio

people watching the game in 1-person viewing tents
Under The Weather Tents

You want to support your kids until the playoffs are done … but, baby, if you live in certain sections of the U.S., it’s cold outside! Maybe you’ve already gotten the puffy jacket, winter boots, and team knit cap. What else can you do to keep out the chill? Plenty! Here are a few options you may not have tried yet. They range from free to DIY to a tad pricey, but they all can help get the job done. Let us know which ones you try — and love — this season. Or, better yet, share some of your best ideas in the comments. Give us a W-A-R-M! Go, Team!

Take a Tip from Red Riding Hood

Hood Scarf by EricaPennieLayne on Etsy

No doubt about it: Hoods are both cute and cozy. And when it comes to keeping in body heat during a late-season match, a hood and scarf is a must-have combo for soccer moms. We found this item — billed as a Winter Hood Scarf — on Etsy. It was created by Erica Pennie Layne, who counts herself as among the “Canadian winter warriors; a woman on the constant move in a land of ice and snow.” If it’s warm enough for her to wear when braving Canadian temps, it’s bound to keep you cozy during the playoffs. Though this design is sold out, you’ll find plenty of similar products to purchase or make yourself, simply by searching the web.

 

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Cuddle Some Homemade Hand Warmers

Find instructions on www.vanessachristenson.com

If your fingers are the first thing to get chilled, hand warmers can make a huge difference in your ability to enjoy the big game. To save money – and put your craft skills to good use – consider making your own version, using a little leftover fabric and some uncooked rice. Complete instructions are available on Vanessachristenson.com. As a bonus, their creator says they can be tossed in the freezer and used as cool packs for, say, a bump or bruise.

 

Don’t Let the Winds Chill Your Wrists

Here’s a DIY project that’s great for fall and winter: wrist warmers made from a pair of socks. You can find complete instructions on Offbeathome.com, but the concept is simple. You basically cut off the toe, cut a thumb-hole in the heel, and (if you like) finish off the top with a nice cuff. If you’re likely to conceal the whole thing within coat sleeves and under a pair of mittens, you can skip the finishing work. These also are perfect for keeping wrists snow-free if you’re in a climate that allows for shoveling and snowman construction.

 

Treat Your Seat to Some Heat

Sunbeam Heat-to-Go Seat Warmer

Ugh — those cold, metal stadium seats! Sometimes even a blanket isn’t enough to keep your bottom from feeling the chill when you watch your kids play. This Sunbeam Heat-to-Go Portable Warming Stadium Seat offers you 2 hours of comfort and warmth, thanks to two reusable gel packs (that you warm up in hot water), a foam cushion, and a weather-resistant cover. It even has a carrying handle, so it’s easy to tote to the stadium, on a camping trip, or on a winter horse-and-buggy ride.

 

Raise Your Temp in a Tiny Tent

people watching the game in 1-person viewing tents
Under The Weather Tents

Admittedly, this item makes more sense on the sidelines than in the bleachers. Available in a rainbow of colors, this one-person tent from Under-the-Weather.com is water- and wind-resistant, weighs just 7.5 pounds, and will keep your surroundings up to 30 degrees warmer than the air outside. It even has an SPF of 50, so you can avoid pesky (and sometimes unexpected) autumn or winter sunburns. Similar tents are available in an XL size and a two-person model.

 

Create a Spectator “Uniform”

You’d never let your kids on the field without the proper gear. It’s time to think of yourself as one of the team, and invest your own uniform of sorts—one that will keep you toasty so you can cheer for the team without your teeth chattering. Insulating underclothes and outerwear can help, but if you live in a really cold region, check out the wide array of high-tech togs that use portable batteries to radiate heat. Sporting goods stores and websites offer mittens, gloves, jackets, vests, socks, boots, insoles, pants and more. Another tip: Store an inexpensive rain poncho in your coat pocket for the entire season; then, when there’s an unexpected rain shower, you can stay dry, which will help keep you warmer too.

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Warm Up by the Hot Dogs

Here’s a tip that won’t cost you a dime — and it might score you some points with your kid’s coach or marching band director: Work in the concession stand or hot dog truck during the coldest games of the season! This strategy will keep you warmer since the walls will buffer those late-autumn and early-winter winds. And if you’re actually serving warm foods or standing near the grill, you may even get toasty enough to take off one of your coats.

 

Looking for Still Another Way to Warm Up?

Consider becoming a coach or assistant to your child’s team! As you’ve probably noticed, adults in these roles rarely sit down, and the more you’re up and moving, the warmer you will be. Wondering if this might be a good option for you? Check out our exclusive blog on the topic: Want to Coach Kids? 4 Tips to Make It Work for Your Family.

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8 Great Holiday Activities You Can Do With Your Kids

Christmas break and other holidays can leave kids bored or blue. Beat cabin fever with these low-cost family-fun activities that kids of all ages enjoy.

By Jennifer Moore

 kids winter holiday activities

The holidays are one of the best times of year to promote family bonding, and doing activities as a group can help strengthen those ties even more. Keeping your kids’ brains and hands busy also makes for fonder memories, since boredom and cabin fever are sure-fire triggers for sibling squabbles. The following are a few activities that cost little or nothing and can be enjoyed by children of all ages. With each one, think about your own favorite holiday activities from childhood, and use those fond memories to add your own special touch.

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Get Crafty


From Flickr user sararuthberry

Start making holiday crafts, tree ornaments, wall ornaments, and frames. You’ll get keepsakes you can bring out every Christmas, and your kids will get a kick out of seeing their crafts on display for years to come. (Be sure to have your child add their name and date to each item.) Even if Christmas is over, creating decorations is a great way to keep kids busy during the break. Plus, you can see what areas of the house could use some extra adornment next year, then make items just for those spots. This is also a great time to do minor repairs and touch-ups on decorations from years-gone-by.

Stir Up Some Fun

Kids of all ages love to cook, and the holidays are the perfect time for parents and kids to bond while baking. Get out the cookie cutters, icing, and edible decorations (such as sprinkles and candy letters), and create unique cookies, cupcakes, and candies. If you’re not much of a baker, purchase a gingerbread house kit and have fun decorating it. Clean-up tip: If you’re not planning on nibbling on the gingerbread house later, you can adorn it with old candies that are left over from Halloween or school goodie bags.

Have a Movie Marathon


From Flickr user DavidDMuir

Don’t forget family movie night! A dreary or cold day is the perfect time to pull out all of those must-see holiday classics. Or break out the new DVDs that the kids recently received as presents. This is especially great when siblings are tiring of each other or when they don’t like to play the same games. Having the “shared experience” of watching a movie will provide siblings with an enjoyable interaction. Plus, they’ll have something to discuss later, such as favorite scenes, lines, and characters from the film. If they tend to bug each other, be sure to have them be bookends, with you sandwiched between them as a buffer.

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Throw a Goodies-Be-Gone Party

The best way to get rid of extra Christmas cookies is to invite some of your kids’ friends over. This may seem like a lot of work when you’re already trying to amuse your own children all day during break, but it actually may give you time to regroup while the kids show friends their new toys and games. You and your spouse can take turns supervising the play date, while the other does chores … or relaxes with a good book.

Get Out of the House


From Flickr user Michael Allbritton

It’s easier to get rid of cabin fever if you don’t spend the whole break in your “cabin.” If you live in a place that gets winter weather, then go out and enjoy the snow. Building snowmen, making snow angels, having snowball fights, and even constructing snow forts or igloos are all classic family activities because they just never stop being fun. But if you live in sunny California or Florida, winter is also the perfect season for a family walk in the neighborhood, a sing-along with the local kids, a hike in a local wildlife refuge, or a sight-seeing trip to a local tourist spot. Check out local travel guides and newspapers to see what family-friendly events are coming up.

Boost Kids’ Brainpower

School’s out, but that doesn’t mean your children have to stop learning. For kids who love tech, sit down together and check out interactive games on websites like ABCya.com, PBSKids.com and DiscoveryKids.com. Or plan an educational family outing to a nearby planetarium, zoo, children’s museum, or state park. Many such locations offer free talks from experts, guides, or rangers. (Kids don’t need to know that they’re educational!) You can also document the visit with photos, then research fun facts on wildlife or relevant subject matter when you return home.

Beat Boredom With Board Games


From Flickr user Crazybananas

When you ask adults what they remember most from their childhood, many will place “family game nights” among the “best nights of their lives.” Though kids will love playing against you on some of their video games, they’ll also get a kick out of playing those “old-fashioned” games from your childhood. Get out the Monopoly board or play Clue. Even a game of Scrabble can be fun when you divide the family into teams — particularly if your teens are obsessed with Words with Friends.

Burn Off Some Kid Energy

Many public parks set up ice-skating rinks for the winter, complete with cheerful Christmas lights and skate rentals. Or simply grab some hot cocoa, soak up the holiday music, and sit and watch the skaters twirl by. Not a fan of ice? Hit the roller rink or ski slopes instead. Or try a physical activity that requires less athletic talent, such as bouncing at a trampoline park, or a different kind of skill, such as playing laser tag. These latter options may be less holiday-oriented, but they’re just as good at burning off holiday-cookie calories and kids’ excess energy.

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Jennifer Moore is a mother of three, juggling work, kids, and family time. Promoting family time is usually a job that falls on Mom’s shoulders, but the benefits are long-lasting, keeping a family united over generations.