Before kids I was a hibernator. We lived in Toronto and I’d walk between the subway and our house with hands stuffed deep in my pockets and head hunched over. Then we had our first kid and the walls of our small semi-detached house started to feel more like confinement and less like a long peaceful slumber.
So I geared up. Proper boots, coat, and a hat that kept my ears toasty and my hair flat.
I still don’t like winter, but I’ve learned to embrace it. With two small active boys I know getting outside and staying active is important for all of us, most of all for my mental health!
This year we’re posting our Outdoor Winter Bucket List on the fridge so we always have ideas at our fingertips, frozen as they may be. Hope you’ll join us in some or all of these outdoor activities around Burlington.
1. Outdoor skating
I’m a little nervous at Rotary Centennial Pond in Spencer Smith Park as it doesn’t have a rail around the edge to aid in stopping. But I love the festive atmosphere. And it has a great inside spot with lots of window seats to warm up cold toes or watch the Zamboni. This one is definitely on our list!
2. Snowshoeing at Crawford Lake
The kids have been really into a Curious George book called Snowy Day lately. Just like Curious George we’re going to strap on snowshoes and head out for a hike. This will be a new experience for everyone in the family so should be lots of fun learning together. Crawford lake rents equipment so that will be a good spot for our first experience.
3. Farm Visit
Our youngest is really REALLY into farms and animals. I like both Mountsberg and Bronte Park as they have lots of outdoor hiking and a playbarn providing a break from the elements.
4. Winter scavenger hunt
I’m hoping this will be an activity that gets the boys working together. (Hey, a mama can dream right?!) I created this list that we’ll use to explore around us.
5. Hiking at Kerncliff Park and Cherry Hill Gate
We’ve never visited our two favourite hiking spots in the winter. Kerncliff has trails but we usually explore the clearing around the boardwalk and have a snack on top of the big rock, I’ll be curious if we can scale it when it’s slick with ice. The boys love climbing on the big overturned tree at Cherry Hill and I expect will love it all the same when covered in ice and snow.
6. Lowville festival
This is the only City of Burlington festival we haven’t been to since moving back home a few years ago. That changes this year!
My youngest was a little nervous about tobogganing last year but now, as a fairly adventurous 2.5 year old, I think he’ll enjoy it. The Toboggan Hills website is helpful to find hills that are suitable for our wee one but still provide enough excitement for our 6 year old.
8. Snack in an outdoor fort
Last year I ended up sitting in a fort pretending I was a pirate eating tacos. This year I’m going to surprise the kids with real food and snack in our outdoor fort (or pirate ship or whatever it is on that particular day)
9. Beach day
Last year we explored the big ice cliffs at the beach near Beachway Park. The boys were fascinated with them so we decided this year we’ll visit once a month to see how the beach changes over the winter.
10. Surprise snowball fight
Our 6 year old really likes the set up of games so this will be perfect for him. The plan is to build a stack of snowballs behind a snow wall and surprise a visiting guest. The guest will likely be an unsuspecting grandparent so I’ll probably drop a hint or two 😉
11. Draw a picture in the snow
Food colouring mixed with water in a spray bottle. The winter version of sidewalk chalk.
12. Burlington Santa Claus Parade
This is probably the one event each year where I feel the coldest as it’s a lot of standing/sitting. But we’ll still go.