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Winter must be a terrible time for claustrophobics. After all, the urge is strong during those wickedly cold months to barricade the doors and huddle inside until April.
Think of fun winter activities
But even the most extreme cold-weather haters have to emerge from their lair occasionally -- especially if they've got kids cloistered in there with them. Make a virtue of the winter wonderland with some frosty winter excursions with the kids.
Here are great suggestions for bringing your family outdoors:
1. Who says picnics need to take place in the summer only? There's something magical (and ant-free!) about an al-fresco meal on a mantle of snow (not literally: best to spread a tarp across the ground before plopping yourselves down on it). Dress in your warmest togs, and pack plenty of thermos-warmed vittles, like soup, stew and chili. Play tag or winter-time soccer after your picnic lunch, or just shoot down the hills on toboggans.
2. If you happen to live within driving distance of the house of your childhood, use a winter morning to share it with your kids. Drive past your old school, and the homes of your friends. Use the outing as a jumping-off point for lots of "I remember when" stories.
3. Throw a wintertime get-together for your kids and their friends, and make an outdoor scavenger hunt its centerpiece. Hand out lists filled with winter-weather finds, like pine needles, mittens and snowballs.
4. Cemeteries are lovely, peaceful places in the winter. A stroll through one is a great way to pass a sunny afternoon. Read some of the very old gravestones and imagine the long-ago lives of the dead. Or just chase the squirrels in the land of the living.
Page 1 of 2 -- Visit places close to home, or explore winter destinations a bit further out, with our family-friendly winter activity ideas on page 2
5. Sometimes, the best winter destination is just outside your front door. Bundle up after a snowy night and hit the snow-blanketed ground for some artistic fun. Make snow angels before the surface gets mashed up with foot prints, then load up beach pails with mounds of the hard-packed white stuff. Decorate your "snow castles" with twigs and stones. Or make water-colour creations on your front lawn with spray bottles filled with food-colouring-tinted water.
6. What better than a winter's day to explore the limit of your community's public-transportation system? Take your subway, bus or commuter train as far as it will go (within reason!) and then indulge in a special treat at your final destination (like lunch at a faraway restaurant, or a movie in an out-of-the-way theatre). Then turn around and make your way home again.
7. There's something magical about a beach in the wintertime. If it's not too far a drive (or even if it is, for the more intrepid souls), visit the scene of your summer idylls. Take the dog, and chase him down the long empty stretches of sand. Duck into one of your holiday haunts for a bite to eat, and head out for some cross-country skiing, if you can.
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