One of the beauties of our country is the changing seasons. As fall drifts into winter and our backyards become covered in blankets of soft snow, we're reminded that the True North is indeed a sight to behold. Despite the cold temperatures, find ways to enjoy the best the season has to offer. Here are 10 ideas to get you started.
1. Go tobogganing
One of my favourite childhood memories is trekking up an enormous hill down the street from where I lived as a child. My dad would settle me on my toboggan and give me a push and I'd go barreling down the hill at lightning-fast speed. It was thrilling and exhilarating, and I've never forgotten how much fun those days were. The best part? Heading home for a steaming cup of hot chocolate.
2. Build a snowman
Bundle up the kids and take them outside for a snowy adventure. Build a snowman or a snow fort, or get on the ground and make snow angels with them. If you don't have a backyard, take the kiddies to a nearby park. They'll have a blast -- and you will, too.
3. Baking day
Get the whole family in the holiday spirit by letting the kids lend a helping hand in the kitchen. Sit down as a family and choose a variety of recipes you would like to make, and spend the day baking up a storm. Keep a close eye on little ones around the oven, and assign them the fun (and messy!) task of decorating and icing cookies.
Try: Our collection of recipes for cookies, bars and squares
4. Plan a game night
Snowed in? Spend an evening playing your favourite games. Whether it's an old board game or a zany game of charades, let your inner child loose. If you have kids who are video game fanatics, how about getting your hands on a console and challenging them to a showdown? They'll be thrilled to see you get in on the action.
5. Read a book together
Turn off the TV and the computers, and choose a book everyone agrees on. Then schedule time every evening to read a chapter together. Take a turn each night and rotate who reads aloud. If you have a fireplace, light a fire and make it a cozy, comforting experience for everyone. This is the stuff memories are made of.
6. Let the kids decide
Allow the kids to decide what they want to do by giving them a full day to call the shots. Give them a few days' notice to think about what they'd like to do for the day. Make sure that they understand that their request must be reasonable, but give them the power to choose a family activity they would most enjoy. You might be surprised at their great ideas.
7. Themed dinner nights
Once a week, have a themed dinner. If Chinese is your theme, serve Chinese food and pick up fortune cookies to place on everyone's plate after the meal is finished. The kids can make Chinese-themed crafts and decorate the kitchen with them. Let the kids decide on the weekly themes in advance so you can make the necessary dinner preparations.
8. Get a pet
If you've been planning on a furry or feathered addition to your family, a new pet is a great way to beat the winter blahs. The kids are sure to love a cat or dog, but don't make any rash decisions, because this one's a biggie, one you only want to make if you think everyone's up for the responsibility of a pet. Before you decide, see our guide to adopting a pet.
9. Get ready for Valentine's Day
Find a corner in the living room and set up a gift-wrapping and card-making station. Pull out all the supplies you'll need (scissors, tape, wrapping paper, gift tags and pens) and set aside a day for the entire family to make crafty cards and decorations and wrap presents. Put on some music, and get it done together.
10. Make family resolutions
At the start of the new year, make a family resolution. What are the things you want to accomplish next year as a family? Whether it's spending more time together and engaging in activities as a family, or spicing up meals with new dinner ideas, sit down together and make a list of things you can all help each other to accomplish. Write down your resolutions and post them somewhere you all can see them, to help you stay on track.