Hibernating In Winter Is Cool…
I am not known for winter outside activities. Snow and cold is just not my scene. Raise your hand if you are with me on this. I whisper to my kids in their sleep, “College in warmer climates.” I’m hoping the subliminal message takes root.
However, I am a mom, and just like most moms, we are always striving to be better. Common sense (not to mention endless scientific studies) tells us that getting the kids outside is far better for them (and for you and me!) than sitting inside at home, in front of a screen.
But right now there’s that issue of the snow, and the ice, and the cold. (Can you tell I’m whining just a bit?) And with kids so addicted to video games and iPads and cellphones, it’s hard to convince them that there is a whole world of outside winter activities, just waiting to be explored! Particularly when I am on the couch myself, laptop on my lap, under a cozy blanket, where this is the current forecast…
(Incidentally, if you are a weather buff that doesn’t mind a little profanity, there is a hilarious (yet accurate) app called What The Forecast? You can find it here. Today’s forecast was “Colder than the hubs of hell”. My kind of forecast!)
Getting Everyone Outside Is Better
Our life is not all hibernating and wool socks (I still go barefoot in the house most mornings). And I am pretty proud that, looking back through pictures, there are quite a few of us, outside, in the winter. One of my all time favourites…
Family Day here in Ontario is a recent addition to our observed holidays. The first one happened in 2008 and we celebrate on the 3rd Monday in February each year. Kids are off school for the day, usually for the first time since returning from Christmas break.
It’s also around the time of year when the temperature is not excessively cold (or at least not as cold as January). I am also getting a bit stir crazy from my own hibernating tendencies. So I pull everyone off their electronics, bundle them up, and throw them outside (not literally, but sometimes it feels that way, what with the grumbling and complaining…mostly from me).
We are blessed that, even though we live in a mid-size city, in a very suburban type subdivision, there is a protected wetland area just a short walk away. Add to that, our city’s largest natural area of wetlands, meadow, forest, and creek is only about a 5 minute drive from our house! Really leaves us no excuse not to get out in nature.
For me, Family Day is the perfect day to get us outside, enjoying the nature we have right in our own backyard. And as long as we are all appropriately dressed for the weather, we manage at least an hour or two (although it doesn’t hurt to make a pitstop at a drive-thru Tim Horton’s store for coffee and hot chocolate for the outdoor adventure!)
Ideas For Winter Activities Outside
If getting outside in winter is foreign to you, or if it’s on your to-do list with your family, I encourage you to do it! There really is nothing like the fresh air and surrounding nature to lift you out of the winter slump. Exercise and spending quality time with your loved ones is an added bonus!
Here are some of our favourite winter activities outside…
1. Spot some critter tracks in the snow. How many different kinds can you identify?
2. Make snow angels!
3. Hug a tree! Can you spot the difference between deciduous and coniferous in winter?
Take Them Outside
As a family, we are really trying to make a habit of getting outside in nature more often. For a bit more inspiration, check out Take Them Outside. A fellow Canadian, Jenn Borlee understands our harsh winters, and has some great tips and ideas, even a 5-day Challenge, to help families reconnect with nature.
For more information on our local park, Huron Natural Area in Kitchener, Ontario, and the activities they host year-round, click here. There’s also some great videos below, showcasing the history of the park, archeological finds, and children’s natural playscape!
And you’ll notice…summer is just around the corner! Or at least we can dream…