By Michelle S. Lazurek, Crosswalk.com
The holiday season is always a great time for families to gather and spend quality time together. But once the holidays are over and the cold, dreary winter days become shorter, it is easy to waste days away staring at a TV or computer screen. Winter doesn't have to be a series of boring, non-eventful days, do they? Any day can be a family fun day if parents are creative enough. Fun is what we make it. Here are some fun activities families can do to enjoy the winter:
1. Snowball Fight
In every holiday movie, such as Elf and A Christmas Story, there is a classic snowball fight scene. Whether the main characters are being pummeled by opposing snowballs or families are enjoying a playful snowball fight, these scenes bring us back to our childhood when we had snowball fights, whether it was with our siblings, families, or friends. Now that the holidays have passed, and January can bring us hefty credit card bills, families may not always have the money to enjoy an expensive family activity. A snowball fight only requires the snow in your backyard and a willingness to let your guard down and turn up the fun (and be willing to get a little cold.)
If you're lucky enough to get enough snow, pursue the possibility of creating a snow fort. Some of my favorite memories of my children involve them creating a big snow fort their father dug out of the snow. In one of winter’s blizzards, my kids created an igloo-shaped snow fort, which they enjoyed for many weeks until the snow melted. They pretended they were Eskimos and pretended it was their home. I have many fond memories of that snow fort, as well as the forts I made as a kid. Kids spend so much time on their screens today that they don't always make the time to create something out of nothing. Snow involves so many wonderful activities; families are bound to find something they all enjoy doing. The best part is that once they're done, they can go inside, enjoy a warm cup of hot cocoa, and treat themselves to their favorite winter movie.
2. Indoor Adventure
Since winter brings with it so many cold temperatures, do a quick search on the Internet of places around your area that host indoor adventures. This could be anything from an indoor go-kart track, to an indoor trampoline park, to indoor skydiving. Although some of this requires a healthy body, a low sense of fear, and a willingness to take a risk, families can enjoy racing each other on the go-kart track, flying in an indoor skydiving facility, or jumping and doing flips at a trampoline park. Dare each other to see which one can go the fastest in the go-kart or race in the fastest time, go the highest during indoor skydiving, or do the biggest flip in the trampoline park. Some innocent competition will only add to the fun of the activity for kids of all ages, as well as their parents.
3. Outdoor Adventure
For those who like to endure the freezing temperatures, there are plenty of outdoor winter activities in which you and your family can participate. Your family can try ice skating on a lake, snowmobiling, sledding, or snow tubing. Race each other down the biggest hill you can find in your town and make for a healthy day of fun. Dare each other to make the best snowman. Pair up one adult with a child and get as creative as possible. You can create either the tallest snowman with the fattest snowballs or you can do the most creative snowman. Take a paring knife and try to make a sculpture with your snowman. Be sure to dress warmly so you can optimize your time outside. Again, adults need to watch their children so they don't get hurt, and adults need to take a risk to have a little family fun by possibly getting hurt as well. The pain you might experience slipping in the snow won't compare to the memories you will make that will last for many years to come.
4. Gather with Friends
Winter is football season. For those families that love to watch football together, gather your friends and host a football party. Ask each person to wear their favorite jersey or shirt of their favorite football team, bring a snack, and watch the game together. If your family is not into football, you can do the same thing with a movie or even create a game night. Get creative and make a game night, movie night, or themed night. For example, make a monthly movie night where each person who attends votes for their favorite classic movie. Each person submits their idea, and then, by consensus, the group chooses which movie to watch based on the largest number of votes. You can also do it randomly by having each person write down their favorite movie, place the papers into a jar or basket, and have one person select a movie. This will help to ensure that no one's idea gets lost in the shuffle. This is an inexpensive way to enjoy fun with friends and family; include young children and enjoy the shorter, darker days.
5. Make Food Together
If you are like me, cooking is one of my least favorite activities. Yet, each person needs to cook to have food for meals. While this can feel boring and mundane, and winter can feel long considering the cold, dark days, enjoying these days with friends makes winter days a little more fun. Have a monthly get-together where people make food for themselves for the month. Have the group agree upon recipes that each person can enjoy. Then, provide stations for each ingredient. For example, put someone in charge of chopping vegetables; another can put the ingredients in a pot and stir. One person can be responsible for running the oven and making sure everything is cooked to the right temperature, etc. Provide freezer-compatible containers or have one person responsible for them and create enough meals to freeze for at least one to two weeks. This will make meal prep and deciding what to have at each meal much easier. Additionally, you will have enjoyed making food with some good friends and had some great conversations in the process.
You can also put another spin on this idea by getting together and making apple cider, hot chocolate, or another special drink. These can be drinks ideal for the winter days or simply be an activity you do together as friends and then enjoy sipping on later. Whichever you choose, make enough not only to enjoy that evening but to be able to take home as a treat for another day.
Winter is a tough season for many people. Children, however, love winter when they hear the news report telling them their school’s canceled, and they have a free day to enjoy the snow and do fun activities. Make the most of winter and take time to enjoy it with your family. Follow the suggestions above or create your own day to make this winter one of the best seasons ever.