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Family Day, a relatively new statutory holiday established in Ontario in 2008, has quickly become one of our favourite holidays to spend a wintry weekend outdoors. In previous years there might have been any number of exciting activities happening across the province but with the absence of group activities this year, we’ve created an extensive itinerary of ideas to help you decide how you want to spend this precious day.
Depending on how old your kids are, an 8 a.m. wake up might be a bit of a stretch. But if you’re able to, try to spend a few extra hours—or even minutes— in be to take some of the pressure off the day ahead. But remember this is a holiday, so feel free to wake up as early or as late as you please.
Treat yourself to a special breakfast like French toast or pancakes—real Ontario maple syrup is a must. Add some eggs and thick-cut farmer’s bacon on the side for some extra protein. (If the kids aren’t partial to eggs, try this protein-packed pancake mix.)
Independent activities for the kids
Begin the day with a sense of freedom by letting the kids choose which activity they’d like to do. If there’s a trail nearby or a wooded area to explore, pack your trail boots and go for a hike. If you’re close to a hill, pack your toboggan, or inflatable snow tube and take advantage of the incline. If you’re saving your energy for a bigger outdoor activity later in the day, here are eleven fun craft ideas the whole family can partake in.
Keep it simple for lunch with a recipe that’s both delicious and filling. We recommend this asparagus and prosciutto frittata, spicy chicken enchiladas, or if you’re keen on using up pantry ingredients, this bulgar salad with artichokes and sun-dried tomatoes.
Explore the outdoors with the family
After a morning of freedom, plan one big outdoor activity where everyone can be together. Ice skating on a pond or an outdoor rink is a great way to get exercise and spend quality outdoors. Make sure to check the ice thickness though, safety first. Those who love skiing might take this as an opportunity to plan an entire day on the slopes. (Don’t forget your goggles and ski gloves!) If you haven’t done so already, go for a hike and try to identify the plants and trees you see in nature. Pay close attention to the bird calls you hear and try to identify them.
Afternoon hot chocolate break
There’s nothing like a mug of hot cocoa to warm your insides after an afternoon spent in the great outdoors (make sure your cottage pantry is stocked with dehydrated marshmallows for times like this). Take it easy and savour the moment.
Wind down with your kids
After a big day of outdoor activities, a hearty dinner is a must. Stew a big pot of chili or create an assembly line to prepare this excellent mushroom walnut ravioli recipe that uses using pre-cut wonton wrappers. After dinner, find time to wind down and relax together by streaming a family-friendly flick like Knives Out or Fiddler on the Roof.