Monday, 7 January 2013

Outdoor winter fun!

We've had pretty perfect winter weather this Christmas break - just cold and snowy enough for outdoor winter fun and a lovely white Christmas, but not cold enough to be miserable and windy and wet. We've spent more time outdoors in the last two weeks than I think I've ever spent outside during the winter months in my entire life.

Children, somehow, don't feel the cold if there's fun involved, but I am most definitely not a winter person. I hate the cold, I hate the slush, I hate the wind; hats and scarves make me itchy and no matter what boots I wear my feet always freeze; I don't ski or snowboard or snowshoe or ice skate. For me, outdoor fun means swimming and biking and hiking and sitting in the sun, preferably with a nice cold drink. Slush is for margaritas, and frost is for a beer bottle on a hot summer afternoon.
Kids playing in the snow, snow fort, igloo, building with snow, winter activities, outdoor activities

The children disagree.

So, dutiful Mommy that I am, every day with snow on the ground finds me braving the winter wonderland that is Ontario in January, bundling up the boys in their snowsuits, hats, mitts and scarves and heading out for some outdoor winter fun.

Building a snowman is the first thing we tackle as soon as there's a speck of visible snow on the ground. We have a "snowman" hat, scarf and mittens on a shelf in the closet saved just for that purpose. Building snowforts and igloos is always a major project, which of course turns into massive snowball fights with teams and barricades and strategies and defences. Snow "grafitti" is always fun - we fill up a spray bottle with water and food colouring and the kids go crazy "painting" the snow in the yard.

Further afield than our own backyard we have lots of fun with the same activities we'd do in the summer - playing at the park out back or hiking in the ravine across the street - and sledding is the perennial winter favourite. My boys can happily spend three hours trooping up and down the hills with their sleds and never feel the cold. There's skating year-round at the local arenas, of course, but when it's cold enough the Town maintains the local pond for free ice skating, too.

And of course no day of outdoor winter fun would be complete without a big mug of steaming hot chocolate to finish off the afternoon.

There really is so much to do outside with the kids in the winter - it's just that it's all cold. But, on balance, it's a lot more fun - and certainly healthier for all of us - than spending the two weeks of winter vacation stuck indoors and inactive.

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