Family Day ideas for fun in the snow
Family Day is the perfect holiday. It’s new, so you can design your own traditions, and build your own fun. Whether you’re in the city or at the cottage, it’s a great opportunity to introduce your kids (or parents!) to the fun of winter outdoors. Here are a few ideas to get you warmed up for a day outside in the snow:
1. Snowy running games:
These three games are simple and sure to get the whole gang laughing.
2. Build a snowman: What could be simpler? Roll three balls of decreasing size and let out your inner fashionista as you give Frosty some personality. For a fabulous photo shoot, raid the Tickle Trunk for feather boas, fancy gloves, and grandpa’s Sou’wester. Or, if you plan to leave your snow-friend dressed for a longer than a day or two (and possibly through a spring thaw), break out the carrot, scruffy old toque, and shovel. (Oh, and don’t forget to pretend that your creation is Parson Brown while you sing the old classic, Winter Wonderland.)
3. Make an outdoor ice bunting: Want to dress up your porch for winter? Here’s a beautiful and simple, cold-weather craft all ages can help create:
4. Build a snow fort: Get the whole family involved in building and outfitting your snowy hide-away. Here are the steps to build a hardworking and humble quinzie (a basic snow shelter).
5. Play shinny: You’ve got a whole frozen lake just steps from your door. Put in a little work to clear and maintain a rink and then enjoy hours of fun curling, having skating races, or playing shinny (informal, pick-up hockey—the game at its best, if you ask me).
6. Be a kid: This may be obvious, but one of the best ways to have fun outside in the winter is to think like a kid. That means be goofy, make snow angels, jump around, challenge your friend to run with you and leap into a big pile of fresh snow. Don’t be afraid to get down on your hands and knees and roll around in the cold, white stuff. In the don’t-try-this-at-home-kids category, check out these shots of big kids doing silly big-kid things, on my friend’s blog.
7. Take a hike: There’s nothing more beautiful than long shadows in the forest on a wintry day. Get everyone to strap on skis or snowshoes and go for a hike. Before you go, make a list of things you’d like to spot while you’re out (such as mouse or deer tracks, icicles on a cliffside, or a fungus on the side of a tree) and then try to find them. Bring birdseed and see if you can get a chickadee or gray jay to land on your hand. You can extend the fun by staying on the trail for lunch: Try these recipes for a kid-friendly, outdoor winter picnic. Just remember to bring a flashlight, in case it starts to get dark on your way back.
- Does your sled need a tune-up? How to get your ride into top condition, plus safety tips.
- For a peek into the science of sledding, read Rocket Science, from the Winter 2008 issue of Cottage Life.
The number one secret to having fun in the snow? Wearing the right clothes to keep you warm and dry while you’re out playing. Snowpants are a must, as are hats, mitts, and good boots. My favourite boots are rubber boots with an insulated liner. You can swap out the liners and hang up the wet ones by the woodstove, or chuck them in the dryer.
Still looking for more? If you can’t get enough of winter, here are even more things you can do outdoors in the snow.