Beat the winter blues with these family-friendly activities

Beat the winter blues with these family-friendly activities

The hustle and bustle of the holiday season has come to an end and, for many Canadians, that means we’re looking forward to at least 12 more weeks of winter. Depending on where you live in the country, that could mean three months of arctic-cold temperatures, lots of snow or seemingly endless grey days, not to mention fewer hours of daylight until late winter. It could be tempting to stay indoors and let the blues set in, so here are five low-cost winter activities that are sure to tempt almost anyone to get outdoors and enjoy the winter weather.

Canadians make up some of the best hockey players, figure skaters and speed skaters in the world. And it’s no wonder. With so many natural and artificial rinks available for use across the country, many of us learn to skate as soon as we can walk. Most cities and towns have local rinks that are free or have low fees for use. Larger centres rent ice skates by the hour, so there’s no need to invest in expensive equipment to enjoy one of winter’s quintessential activities.

There’s nothing quite like waking up on a winter morning after a fresh snowfall and heading out to the nearest hill. While some people take to the hills with fancy sliders and toboggans, anything from an innertube to a large piece of cardboard can deliver endless fun. An adult should ensure that the hill is free from hazards, check the park’s rules, and make sure everyone moves out of the way on busy hills.

Check out your local farmers’ markets
Grocery shopping is likely not high on most kids’ lists of fun things to do, but many markets provide all kinds of family-friendly fun during winter. Farmers’ markets offer unique activities year-round, so be sure to regularly check out your local market’s calendar to see what they have on offer. There might be nighttime hikes, winter cycling, nature adventures or hands-on workshops that could appeal to your family.

Head to a sugaring-off
Just when it feels as if winter will never end, life begins renewing under the snow. Near the end of March and in early April, tree sap starts to flow again in anticipation of warmer spring temperatures. Of course, Canada is renowned for its maple syrup, and there are many farms and festivals for families to participate in. While Quebec and Ontario are best-known for their maple syrup festivals, maple syrup is produced across the country, so be sure to check out the activities on offer near your family. Many farms offer sleigh rides, pancake meals and maple sugar samples in addition to sugaring off demonstrations.

Discover geocaching
Geocaching is a scavenger hunt taken to the next level. To play along, you simply need to have a GPS-enabled device and then register with a free Hide and Seek cache page. Plug in your postal code, and then search for geocaches near you. Once you’ve found a trail or park that has geocaches listed, simply put in the desired coordinates and head off on the hunt for your “treasure.” There may be small tokens that you can claim and you can leave another token in its place, or you can take photos of your find and log and share it on an online logbook. Parks and trails across the country offer details and guidelines about geocaching locations and cache containers.