We got our first accumulating snow of the year. My Google Pics account sends me blasts from the past photos from the past periodically and I got one this week reminding me we can and maybe should get below zero weat
her around now. I know the difference between climate and weather, but this is just weird.
I think about this time of year a lot of families are zoned in on television and staying warm by the fire. We do, and always have done a fair amount of this too, but there is plenty to do outdoors this time of the year - whether the temperature is freakishly warm as it has been typically this year, or more typical of January, like the one hanging on the old cedar tree in the adjoining picture. You know your family best, and you ought to adpat any of these ideas for what works for you, but here's some ideas to get you thinking.
ROAST SOME HOT DOGS AND MAKE S'MORES
Anything to get outdoors can be a real plus as the realities of cabin fever set in. This is an easy one, becasue you can keep everybody nice and warm, and at the same time, teach kids some outdoors skills such as building a fire.
It's the kind of thing you can do on a Saturday afternoon or even after work. If you live out in
the country, you probably have options as close as your back yard. If you don't, plan a short trip to a public area. If you don't have firewood at the house, a lot of times you can pick up a dry bundle at a convenience store. Think about bringing alond a stick of something like Duraflame firestarter available in sporting good sections or stores.
Bring along a stainless steel coffee pot and make some hot drinks to warm everybody up and wash down a some campfire food.
TAKE A WINTER HIKE
For those who deer hunt in the woods, you know how different the woods look this time of the
year. The landscape seems to be a completely different locale than in other times of the year.
Try getting somewhere that gives at least the opportunity to observe wildlife, whether that be birds, deer, foxes, or whatever populates the natural world in your region. If you have kids, I suggest you don't try to keep them quiet much of the time - keep it fun.
But tell them that for some part of the hike, you are going to sneak as quietly as you can through the woods and keep track of what you see. Sit down for a few minutes and encourage your kids to focus some of their attention on the far away and some on the area right around where you are.
Whether your family is a hunting family, or just enjoys the outdoors, spending time outdoors throughout the year, is invaluable.
GO EAGLE WATCHING
If you live near a river, you have a great opportunity to see our national bird in the wild. The Bald Eagle, through the awesome efforts of the USFWS and local entities, has made quite a comeback.
Many regions have places where these beautiful birds can be observed from either the comfort of your vehicle, or even a heated building or observatory. Try searching eagle viewing for your local region on the internet. In Missouri, visit MDC.mo.gov, and search eagle viewing.
RENT CROSS COUNTRY SKIS OR SNOWSHOES AND GET SOME GREAT EXERCISE
For not very much money, the whole family can try something that will ha
ve everybody come back home ready for perhaps the best sleep of the year. In most communities, there is a place to rent gear such as snowshoes or skis, and they may have a good course on whcih to try them out.
Whichever way you choose to go, the first time go on pretty flat ground, and if you choose the skiing route, maybe try a lesson of no one in the family has experience.
Both activities are great, low impact exercises, that can be a life long activity. The more winter you get in your area, the more you will want to invest in your own set of equipment, but make sure you enjoy it before you lay out the bucks.
GO ICE SKATING
Similar to the last idea, ice skating is a great outdoor activity during the winter. In most places outdoor venues are available. Or, if you are 110% of its soundness, ice skating on a pond or lake is a great American tradition.
If you do not own skates, they are even more readily available for rent than skis or snowshoes. This is especially true if you are going to a public skating venue.
Whether you choose one of these activities, or something else, find an excuse to get outdoors. The consensus is that as little as 10 minutes outdoors on a regular basis is a recipe for health and happiness. Doing these activities as a family is a recipe for a healthy family.