Family Day and March Break are both great times to find cool family activities that you can do together that everyone will like. And, with more mild temperatures, it’s a lot more enjoyable (and tolerable) to be outdoors. From making the most of the dwindling snow to letting your creativity flow, here are 10 ways to have fun outside on the upcoming days off from school. —Jennifer Cox
treasure hunt. There are lots of different ways you can set this up, depending on the age of your kids. It can be as simple as a pictogram list of items your child has to find outside (squirrel, tree, bird, etc.) or as detailed as a map around the backyard with different clues leading to one final treasure. Any way you set it up, kids will love being on the hunt.
snow art. Make the rest of that snow as beautiful as possible by sculpting with it (if it’s melting it’ll be especially sticky and pliable). Fill squirt or spray bottles with dyed water so you can add colour and personality to your creations. Collect things in nature for accessories to your works of art.
night play. Glowsticks are always fun to play with in the backyard, especially if there’s snow and ice lingering around (glowsticks create beautiful light when they’re buried in the translucent snow). Play nighttime hide n’ go seek. Set up a tent and use the glowsticks for illumination.
winter carnival. You can play all sorts of entertaining carnival games outside in the cooler weather: ring or bean bag toss, potato sack races (all the trickier in boots!), bullseye practice, obstacle courses, etc. And why not pop some popcorn or pick up some cotton candy for an added theme-appropriate treat?
bonfire. Whether you have an outdoor fire pit or create your own makeshift one out of a foil-lined terracotta pot and some coals, the whole family will love bundling up, sitting around a fire roasting marshmallows and sipping hot chocolate, and telling stories or stargazing.
snow treat stand. Get some flavoured syrups (that you can either make yourself or buy), a few plastic cups, and spoons, and open up your very own snow cone stand. For older kids, snow and soda makes for a yummy, fizzy combo too.
family olympics. In light of the recent winter Olympics, set up your own individual or team events and try your hand at backyard sports like snow football or baseball, racing, nerf-gun shooting, and more. Fashion some medals out of aluminum foil too.
neighborhood cleanup. The beginnings of spring can be a messy time of year, so gather up your family (and even some friends, if you want) and help clean up the local park or schoolyard. There’s always lots of litter that reveals itself with the melting snow, and those in your community will appreciate the helping hands (plus it sets a great example for the kiddos).
paint the sunset. Wintertime is known for its picturesque sunsets, and they should be remembered. Put one some knit gloves and take your easels outside to paint the beautiful sunsets in the fresh air. Plus, it’s fun to see everyone’s own interpretation of the same scene.
prep for spring. Take advantage of the down time to start getting ready for springtime at home. That could include tidying up your property as well as clearing any residual snow and ice around gutters and paths. It’s also warm enough to sit outside and plant some seeds in pots (but these will need to be kept warm indoors until at least May)—when it’s time for them to be planted into the ground in spring, they’ll be strong and ready to go.