Do you feel like it’s the same old thing every year? Quickly after the beauty of fall fades, the next season creeps in. A season that makes even some of the world’s most resilient animals say… yeah, no, gonna sleep through this one.
I’m talking about winter.
Winter makes us feel the need to bury ourselves under every blanket in the house, turn on the fireplace, and debate whether letting our kids watch TV for the next 5 months straight is reasonable. Anyone with me? I haven’t always been the biggest fan of winter and my fiance is even less impressed with this particular season.
Unfortunately (but also, fortunately), our 5-year-old child tends to set the stage for our daily activities, so… OUTSIDE WE GO! He has truly helped warm my relationship with winter. Greatly. I’ve come to actually love it! So I’m going to spend the next little while trying to convince you, while winter isn’t the easiest season to tolerate, it can be one of the most fun! Believe me?
First, let’s quickly touch on safety. Safety in the outdoors is always important, but I would say it’s the most critical in the winter with all the ice, snow, and darkness (I know… I’m selling it. Please keep reading!). I’ll keep it short. I strongly suggest you check the forecast and overpack with many layers and backups if you’re heading out. If your kiddo is typically unimpressed with the cold weather, bringing hand and foot warmers can help keep them toasty and you happy!
Winter Fun in the Backyard
Let’s realistically assume you’re not going on long-distance adventures every weekend. More likely, your kid(s) are going stir crazy stuck in the house, begging to make a fort with all of the couch cushions for the fifth time. If you’re looking to keep it on your property, here are a few tried and true ideas to have a blast out in the snow!
- Make an army of snowmen. Why make one giant snowman when you can make 20 little ones? Don’t forget to make sure your snowmen can see, touch, and smell so take a few moments prior to building and collect rocks and fallen twigs to animate your future buddies!
- Be creative with LEGO! The iconic building blocks are likely strewn all over your house (hands up if you’ve been stabbed in the foot by some at some point). Follow these steps to create an activity sure to last days!
- – First, make a few fun structures inside with your kid(s), and collect some LEGO characters (or another figurine)
- – Head out and make a snow hill or two
- – Plant the structures and figurines around the snow hill and pretend the LEGO characters are climbing a mountain!
– Follow up bonus: take pictures of the creation! Print the pictures out, cut and paste them into a blank book, and write the adventure into a story!
- Make a real igloo. This one can take time, but “luckily” winter lasts about half the year in Alberta. If blocks the size of ice cream buckets are unrealistic, use smaller containers to start building. You can also use food coloring to make each block fun colors! If the igloo is too small for your kiddo to fit inside, I’m sure there’s a ton of fun ahead for the dinosaurs and barbies in the house!
Winter Fun Out and About
If you’ve made it this far, I’m pleased! I’ve saved the best for last. Our family loves getting out of the backyard as much as possible and although everyone may not have access to a wilderness cabin, you don’t need one to explore winter’s wonders! These ideas can be done in your neighborhood, a local park, or a winter campground.
- Picture scavenger hunt. All you need is a kid-friendly camera (or a cell phone if you really trust your kids), and an imagination! Make a list of outdoor items (Or download mine here-> Winter Scavenger Hunt) then hit the neighborhood to collect all the items on your list! The most points get a prize. Remember pics or it didn’t happen.
- This one is obvious: skating. Hit local skating rinks, or better yet, hit the mountains! If you can manage to get out on a long-distance adventure, I highly recommend skating on a crystal clear lake with a snowy mountain backdrop. It’s a Canadian classic and everyone should do it at least once in their lifetime. If you’re not a skater and are lucky enough to own snowshoes, the mountains offer lots of avalanche-free trails.
- My personal favorite: Winter camping… Yes, camping. Even if it’s just for the day! Pack your camp chairs, hotdog sticks, and anything else you feel ambitious for (yes, pack your tent and sleeping bag!) and hit your local park or campground. Want to know the best part? Not a lot of people are likely to be out with you, so pack your portable stereo and have a snowy dance party!
Well, friends, that’s about it. I hope these ideas were helpful! Or at the very least these ideas piqued your interest enough to put on socks and give winter a shot. We’re all in the same boat here in Alberta and I think it’s important to try and make the best out of this very cold situation! Especially since the animals are the only ones lucky enough to hibernate, so we might as well do something… right?