Family fun for winter: Show your love for nature this Valentine's and Family Day
Imagine never having to hibernate again. Instead of watching endless movies you could be out enjoying nature; instead of spending countless hours on the computer or playing video games all weekend you could be out getting fresh air and having family fun for winter.
Sadly many people dread the winter months and shut themselves indoors until the ground warms and the first flower emerges in spring. This could be because some think winter sports, like skiing and snowboarding, are expensive and can be intimidating, so what else are they going to do out there? But I’m here to tell you there are a variety of winter activities for you and your family that are fun, free or affordable and bring you outdoors to enjoy the beauty of nature in the winter.
One of the easiest activities that’s free, as well as enjoyable, is a casual stroll along the lakeshore — like here in Barrie, Ontario — or through a park or nature reserve. Walking is a great activity for all fitness levels and ages. You can take your camera and spot beautiful winter birds, or make snow angels or even still enjoy the slides and swings at the playground.
Outdoor skating is another great activity. Many neighbourhoods and cities offer free outdoor ice rinks in the winter for families to enjoy. Some even offer skate rentals if you don’t have any, which is great if you’re introducing your children to skating for the first time to see if they like it, before you make the investment in skates.
There are many nature reserves and conservation areas around that are great to visit in the winter. One such place is the Wye Marsh in Midland, Ontario. It’s a fantastic place to explore all year long, as they always have activities and events going on. This is a great time to experience its winter white beauty, the smattering of wildlife you’ll encounter and a variety of winter birds.
The Wye Marsh offers cross-country ski and snowshoe rentals at real affordable rates. I must admit I tried snowshoeing there for the first time this winter and fell in love with it. I saw countless kids enjoying snowshoeing while I was there; clowning around in oversized "shoes" and walking on snow — they seemed to bask in the fun of it.
Another amusing aspect of winter at the Wye Marsh is the chickadees. First you’ll hear their song, “chick-a-dee-dee-dee,” in the surrounding trees. If you’re still and patient and hold out your palm with a handful of seeds, these bold and curious birds will fly over to land on you for a nibble and give you a sweet sideways cock of their head as if to say, "why thank you.” Children and adults alike will really appreciate this opportunity at a wild close encounter.
If you’re looking to try something different this winter, then give geocaching a try. This is great for children and will tug at the little explorer in all of us. Geocaching is a treasure hunt in the real world using GPS and a little sleuthing to try and find a geocache hidden in different locations. A geocache can be small to large and is often a container with treasures of different sorts inside. When you find it you can sometimes trade a treasure inside for a new one you are putting in. This is something you can do all year long, but is an entertaining way to explore nature and the great outdoors in winter. Children will love this opportunity to indulge in real live hide and seek.
So no matter you fitness level or interests, there are numerous ways for you and your family to get outside this winter and explore nature, get some exercise and purely have some fun!
What are you doing this Family Day?