Winter Activities for the Whole Family

by Guest Writer

Winter is upon us, and while some people may not like the cold, it’s a great time to take on some fun cold-weather activities as a family. As someone who grew up with snowy winters, I love all the good times winter has to offer. And, I’d be lying if I didn’t say my current home leaves me a bit disappointed in winter. Growing up near Syracuse, NY, most winters I could count on at the very least a foot of snow on the ground at all times. So now, the dustings that I get leave me wondering what to do.

Ice Skating— To say my son loves ice hockey would be a huge understatement. This year we enrolled him in ice skating lessons, and I’m so happy we did. I have been ice skating (for fun) since I was a kid and I have so many wonderful memories of skating on the Village Green where I grew up. One of the volunteer firemen would donate his time and he would create a huge ice rink on the Village Green and he would maintain it throughout the winter months. And, where I grew up, you could always count on the ice remaining intact throughout the winter thanks to the frigid temperatures.

If you’re thinking of giving ice skating a try, I would recommend renting skates (if you don’t already own them). This way you can make sure you and your kids enjoy it before you really make an investment. And, if you do decide that it’s an activity you want to pursue, one of my favorite place to get good second-hand ice skates (or any sporting goods items, for that matter) is Play it Again Sports. With locations all over the country, you’re sure to find one nearby.

Skiing— Skiing can be a little trickier, since not everyone lives close to mountains with ski resorts. Again, growing up near Syracuse, there was no shortage of places to go skiing. I could easily name four places right off the bat, and I haven’t even lived there in nearly twenty years. Of course, I’m referring more to downhill skiing, which is a ton of fun, but if your kids are really small, you may want stick to the bunny slopes. Keep in mind, that if you aren’t sure about downhill skiing, or aren’t ready to invest the money in the sport until you know that you’ll be able to do it frequently, you can rent skis and ski boots at all ski resorts.

Another skiing option is cross-country skiing. Generally speaking, you’ll need to own your own cross-country skis, since you don’t go to a specific place to do this. My dad used to take my brother and me cross-country skiing when we were kids. We had so much fun trekking through the snow on our skis. It’s especially fun if you have a nice countryside to ski along—it allows you to observe the wildlife and just take a nice peaceful trip through fields and forests.

Play— You don’t have to go anywhere to enjoy the winter. I’m always excited when we get good “packing snow” as I call it. It’s the snow that’s wet and sticks together. It’s perfect for making a snowman or for having a good old fashioned snowball fight. Unfortunately, the last snowman we made was a couple years ago, since snow has been scarce of late. And, for all those people who think they need a snowman making kit, you don’t. All you need are some stones, a scarf and maybe a carrot for your snowman’s nose (don’t be surprised if an animal eats your snowman’s nose, though). I’m keeping my fingers crossed this year that we’ll get a ton of snow dropped on us for at least one weekend so we can really enjoy it! I’ve also always loved making snow angels. And, as a parent there’s nothing that will amuse your kids quite as much as watching you drop to the ground to play in the snow like a child. And you’ll enjoy it, too.

Obviously, these are just a few ideas of things you can do when the thermometer drops below 32 degrees. I encourage you to embrace the cold weather and get outside and enjoy it with your kids. Before you know it, winter will be over and you’ll have missed out.

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