Saturday, 3 March 2018

Forcing The Children To Build Shelters In the Snow

If you live in the UK I don't have to tell you it's been cold.

It's quite an unusual storm, a mixture of cold strong winds that are blowing in a different direction from what is normal and snow. The snow is far dryer than normal as well (if that makes sense) and is blowing everywhere. I have areas with no snow on the ground at all and some drifts higher than me (6ft).

We're not used to this type of weather anymore and things like keeping the wood burner going and the heating on have been a priority. The new unfinished extension that we've knocked through to has been chilly as there was quite a few drafts for the wind to blow through. I spent a good half hour with some expanding foam to fix that problem!

The children were quite happy inside, watching films, making crafts and baking cakes but I decided it was the perfect weather to take them outside for a light bit of survival training! I'm a mean dad, but want to try to teach them some things they might remember.
First of all we talked about where they could find natural shelter or things that they might not have thought about. They both suggested sleeping in the animal housing or finding somewhere under the trees. We also talked about which way the wind was blowing and how to tell.

For the first shelter we took out a tarp, rope and paracord. We're short on suitable trees here  (they're busy growing) so we decided upon a few gate posts to build it around.
 Certainly not the best shelter in the world and I could have done with some way to peg it down better. It did show them how easy it is to build one and what a difference it makes getting out of the wind. It also took a bit of teamwork as the wind was gusty so needed us all to hold it as we built it.
 We talked about holding the back down with snow if we had no other option to stop the wind. Some pegs would have been a good idea to keep the lines and the tarp lower. It wasn't the ideal shape for the conditions either, a normal small tent shape would have been better, but my younger daughter was cold so we just tried to build it quickly.
 My younger daughter then went in as she was too cold (it was blinking cold), but I suggested to my eldest that we should build a snow shelter, (with much pretending about polar bears chasing us) it was a great fun little exercise.
This girl is such a trooper, nothing phases her. 
 We made our way down to the bigger field where the drifts were higher (6ft). She struggled through the deep snow but didn't give up.
We then set to digging ourselves a cave in the deep snow - keeping a watchful eye out for polar bears the whole time ;-). We brought her little proper shovel, one for digging trenches - children's ones don't last five minutes with my kids, and dug as deep as we could.
quite happy out of the wind! 
 We tried it a few times until it was deep enough for her to get completely out of the driving snow and wind.
Digging
Our snow cave

My eldest getting out of the wind and the elements in the cave she helped to dig. 
 A great way to spend a few hours with my children in some harsh elements we don't get to practice in very often. My eldest really impressed me with the snow cave, she didn't give up digging or walking and didn't make a fuss, asked sensible questions and enjoyed the whole thing, she's got some real determination there!  I also taught her the trick for warming your hands up in your armpits, which is something I watched on a program somewhere and it really works!

Also no polar bears got us either, which is always good!

How's everyone else in the UK dealing with the snow? Anyone else forcing their kids to learn stuff in these conditions?

Whats the weather like elsewhere in the world?

7 comments:

  1. Your day is always a good one when you don't see a Polar bear.

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  2. What a great Dad you are teaching your kids these survival techniques and making it fun along the way. They will have wonderful, and useful, memories of the 2018 snowfall.

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  3. Your eldest daughter is very tough and clever. Doesn't it feel lovely and warm once you do come in? How were your roads?

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  4. Wow, that's some storm! The snow cave seemed to keep your eldest both safe from the elements and polar bears. ;)
    It's been markedly colder here than normal (not too cold--7C-10C) & the rain has been dumping in spurts.
    There's been snow in the mountains, but not down where we are. And, of course, no polar bears in sight!

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  5. Looks like you and the girls had lots of fun even though it was pretty cold. We have MOUNTAINS of snow here. We had the most snow fall in February since 1961 and we had another 2 feet in the last 3 days. The 2 little girls next door(a little older than your girls) were out today making snow caves in the snow that is piled between our 2 houses. Unlike over there, this is not an isolated occurrence, we get this all winter, every winter,lol. Enjoy it, because hopefully you wont get snow to that extent for a long time again! Oh, and no we didn't see any polar bears but if this was Churchill, Manitoba it could have been a different story!!

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  6. No, not a mean dad, but a very involved and loving one. Maybe they will never need those skills, but they will always remember that you were the dad that spent lots of time with them. My youngest son quit his job four months ago to stay home with his two year old and four month old. Both boys. His wife is a nurse. I am so proud of him and all the parents who sacrifice so much to be at home with their little ones.

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  7. I remember digging a very similar snow cave for myself when I was very small. The snow had suddenly started to fall like crazy and I was out in the field behind our house. When I eventually went home, I was expecting a huge 'where have you been' fuss, but no-one mentioned anything at all.

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