Mid winter survival guide

We took some time off for the holidays and have returned (mostly) refreshed and ready 2015. The days are getting longer but spring feels a long way off!

So far its been a gross strange winter, the weather has not been as cold or as snowy as we or might have liked and what cold weather we have had has been VERY windy or wet or both. Generally not outdoor fun sort of weather, instead its been hunker down and eat soup kind of weather.  With 6+ kids in tow staying inside and waiting for winter to be over (even if the weather is terrible) doesn’t really work. So we have come up with a survival guide.

1. Go outside anyway. Dress for the weather and if the sun is out, get out there. Even if only for a few minutes, some sun on the face (even in the biting cold) will feel good. The weather might be uninspiring, but a walk through the park (keep moving) can still be enjoyable (you might even find a teachable moment) . Show your little ones how everything looks different with the leaves gone and the gardens empty. Even without a substantial snowfall, you’ll find us playing with beach balls among hills of snow, where the Zamboni has dumped its ice shavings onto a basket ball court.

2. Map your neighbourhoods kid-friendly indoor spaces. (have you seen our map of FREE kid spaces ?)
Find out the schedules, programming offerings and make sure that an indoor gym (bike, climbers, balls, & open space to run) is included in your week’s outings. Kids need exercise everyday and they will eat and sleep better after some physical activity indoors or out.
Invite a friend, in the warm weather its easy to bump into other moms, dads and caregivers to chat or commiserate with, but not so much in the cold. Make a point of meeting up with grown-up and little people you like.

3. Make your own spring. We are so crafty we made a winter into spring. Okay, not really. In Toronto we are lucky enough to have Allan Gardens, an oasis of plants surrounded by warm humid air. Go there, take a tea, wander the paths and check out the turtle pond. Your little people will love it and so will you! Or go to one of those big box stores, and take a walk through the greenhouse.
Better still make spring come early in your house by planting seeds. Herbs or flowers with a short germination time work well for the kids. We like microgreens and salad greens: a mix of radish, kale, swiss chard, beets, dill, & basil seeds; or seeds for lettuce, iceburg, red leaf, spinach, & arugula. Then you can eat your craft.
(we’ll have a tutorial for making your own seedling pots, and planting seeds with your kids on Friday)

4. Have a couple of easy crafts or activities in your back pocket. If it really is too terrible to be outside for very long make a craft that has a few steps, and head outside in between. Salt dough is one of my go-tos, another of my favorites is turtle bread. The making, shaping, decorating and drying/cooking can be spread over a couple days. Or head to a cultural hub for some special indoor fun. Grab a friend to help wrangle your kids and visit the Ontario Science Centre, ROM, AGO, Harbour front, etc.

5. Fresh fruit and vegetables. Eat lots, take your vitamin D, and maybe a multi vitamin too. You’ll feel better.
Too cold to go outside, and full of energy and imagination pack some good-for-you food into a ‘pretend’ picnic.
We packed a snack of celery with peanut butter, cheese, biscuits, strawberries, oranges, peas in the pod, boiled eggs, and lemon tea.
We marched around the house and up and down the stairs before settling on the perfect picnic spot in the middle of our living room floor.

Let us know how you are surviving this winter in the comments!

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