Embrace the Elements

Winter Activities
Embrace the Elements

Wind chill readings have long replaced UV ratings and “after-school” activities might as well be renamed “fun after dark”. Winter’s here.

Luckily, we’re a nation of explorers and a nation of hot chocolate drinkers too. We know this because you savvy moms shared with us so many great ideas for winter family activities. (You can imagine our delight with so many responses!)

Here in temperate Vancouver, we can dream of a white Christmas, but sometimes that’s all it will be…a dream. Fortunately we love our nature, whether it comes wet, dry or white. So, in honour of our city’s infamous precipitation levels, we offer you this outdoor activity guide that’s full of ideas from readers who know how to have fun no matter what’s descending from above. So get savvy this winter with your family. Here are some of the tips and tricks we learned from our readers.

Dry Skies
Take advantage of clear conditions to take in the sparkle of holiday lights. SavvyReader Linda Minaker from Port Alberni bundles her kids in the car with hot chocolate and popcorn and takes a leisurely Christmas light tour. If you can, check out the six-block stretch of 2400-2900 Trinity Street, near the Second Narrows Bridge. Each year, these neighbours put on stunning displays as part of a friendly contest that raises money for charity. Check out their Sunday night street fair!

Want to go on vacation without leaving Vancouver? Take a leaf (literally) from Eileen Pulfrey’s book. This Vancouver mom loves to bundle up the kids and explore the pathways of UBC’s Botanical Garden to discover plants and trees from around the world. Visit the garden’s website for child-friendly activities and information.

Rainy Days
Rain just adds to the cozy feeling when you take part in these family-friendly activities:

Visit a dollar store or an arts supply shop and let the kids choose what materials they need to make one project each. Cynthia Friesen from Vancouver likes to stop for a hot chocolate on the way home and Josie Lloyd from Burnaby likes to eat a big bowl of popcorn while making crafts. Peggy, our Vancouver correspondent, knows from experience that you’ll find some great craft ideas for young children at the Enchanted Learning site.

Feeling decadent? Danyelle Kaluski from Abbotsford and her kids head to a friend’s house for a PJ party, complete with an appetizer lunch and a chocolate fondue (sounds yummy!) Shelley Croft likes to dance in the living room with her kids. Not on the tables, Shelley!

Winter Wonderland
If you only have a dusting of snow in your own neighbourhood, just head to the hills. No, you DON’T have to be a skier, according to Kelly Grant in Vancouver:  “To beat the winter blahs we went up Cypress Mountain, not to ski, but to have our five-month-old daughter make her first snow angel. It warmed our hearts and we forgot all about the stormy weather!” 

So for all of you who said you like to go to IKEA or Tim Horton’s for a family outing (yes, there were some!), we hope you are feeling inspired.

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First published 2006.12.14

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