February is a month in which Family Day is celebrated in several provinces of Canada. Alberta led the way in 1990, when Premier Getty introduced Family Day as an extra day or holiday for families to spend together. His hope was that having the day off to spend with loved ones would strengthen family values.
If you’re a Canadian and observe this holiday, what do you do on Family Day?
We hope you consider making the day a physically active one. Teaching your kids the value of exercise and healthy eating will reap benefits now and in the future.
Active Family Fun
In Canada, so many activities in the winter are weather-dependent. On snowy, cold days it feels wonderful to curl up on the couch with a bowl (or two) of popcorn and watch re-runs of your favorite family movies. That’s fine and good. We suggest you upgrade this event by taking a brisk walk around the block before or after your movie marathon! The walk can include a lively discussion of what movies you’d prefer to watch or which sequel you liked best.
On warmer, sunny winter days, hikes in the neighborhood park, and then drinking hot chocolate upon returning home is another great activity. On the occasional Family Day we’ve even managed to ride our bikes on a paved path. Dressed in what seemed like a thousand layers, we’d come home drenched in sweat.
In Alberta, skiing is a popular activity on Family Day. In fact, it’s one of the busiest times on the ski hill since the day coincides with more days off school because of Teacher’s Convention falling within the same week. A long weekend in the mountains, skiing during the day and walking along Banff Avenue after dinner, is a nice family time tradition.
In Toronto, skating in Nathan Phillips Square is a fun family activity. Going downtown is always an adventure with subway rides and walking along Yonge Street. After such a long active day, kids are surely tired and ready for restful sleep.
5 More Ways to Move for Family Groove
Looking for other ideas for active family fun? Give these a try:
1. Play games.
Outdoor games like football, soccer, capture the flag, and tag are fun in the snow or on grass. Invent your own twist by adding new rules for the game or playing them on cross-country skis or skates.
Indoor games like Twister or musical chairs, especially with younger kids, will get your family laughing and moving at the same time.
If you are a Wii family, check out this article in Parents.com that reviews “9 Action-Packed Wii Video Games“.
2. Sign up for fun run/walk.
Even in February you’ll find races that are family friendly events. For instance, Ottawa has the Winterman Somersault Event, on February 15, 2015, which includes race distances from 3 km to a full marathon and marathon relays. There is something for everyone in the family! The post-race activities are also fun to attend.
If you’ve always wanted to learn to ski or skate, do it with the family. Group rates are cheaper and you can support each other during the learning process. Be prepared, though, your kids may be such keeners that their skill level may progress more quickly than yours.
If skiing or skating is not your thing, then take group lessons for some other activity like horseback riding, tennis, or squash.
4. Explore on foot a different part of your city.
Many cities in North America are thriving, multicultural centers. Plan a family outing in a part of the city you normally don’t visit. Park the car and walk through the neighborhoods, exploring for novel shops, eateries, and interesting landmarks.
5. Visit or volunteer at a local organic farm.
This activity will take some planning and could be right up on your family’s bucket list. There are many organic farmers in North America and across the world who offer volunteer opportunities for people who want to learn about organic farming. Check out the “World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms” (WWOOF) website for information on these great opportunities.
We know there are a ton of other ways to get your family active so get creative and involve them in making the choices. Create a bucket list of activities from which to choose and keep it as an ongoing list for future Family Day plans, summer vacations, or weekend events.
For summer activity ideas, read our past blog on ethicalDeal “5 Ways to Get your Kids More Active This Summer”