Family Sledging Through Snowy Woodland

My family is hoping for a snowy winter. Winter ranks as highly as any season at our house because we love so many winter-specific activities. Here are some ideas to have ensure you have winter family adventures.

Get a Good Hat

The most important key to enjoying winter may be a simple piece of apparel…a great hat. Get everyone a quality hat that they will want to wear and add the mittens or gloves to keep extremities warm. Trade cotton clothes for synthetic or wool layers to keep kids comfortable – even when wet. Warm clothes make winter fun possible for parents and kids alike.

Maintain a Positive Attitude

Parents who choose to embrace winter and stay active will have kids that do the same. And the opposite is also true. So quiet down your inner “weather whiner” and start seeing positive side of the season with your kids. Celebrate the coldest days with an ironic family outing to a great ice cream shop. Prepare for a snowstorm with family board game night and a big pot of soup and fresh bread. Your attitude matters. If you act as if enjoying winter is easy, you will give your kids the gift of enjoying winters for a lifetime.

Activity Ideas

Once you have the apparel and the attitude ready, the ideas are endless.  Here are just a few things you can do keep your family moving all winter.

Neighborhood park or your back yard: Build a snowman, sled down a hill, look for wildlife tracks, feed the birds, practice photography or go for a walk.

Chicago Park District: Attend Polar Adventure Days, go snowshoeing or snow trekking on Northerly Island or many other family winter activities across the city.

Cook County Forest Preserve: Go cross country skiing or snowshoeing.  The Sagawau Environmental Learning Center in Lemont offers ski rentals, lessons and groomed trails. CCFP also offers designated places for ice skating, ice fishing and ten hills for sledding.

Morton Arboretum: Go on a Gnome Hunt, participate in Winter Play in the Children’s Garden, go for a hike or a snowshoe on the arboretum trails (snowshoes and ski rentals are available when there is enough snow). Meet working sled dogs.

Millennium Park and Maggie Dailey Park: Go ice skating. Admission is free and ice skates are available for rent at both rinks in beautiful Grant Park. Warm up afterwards with hot chocolate.

Make the most of limited daylight by getting your family outside for some activity during the afternoon. When you go back inside to warm up, continue the fun together. Use the season to spend time with your family, both outdoors and indoors. Winter may climb up your list of favorite times of the year.

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Chris Palmquist is an USA Triathlon Elite Coach, USA Cycling Elite Coach and Youth/Junior Coach with 19 years of coaching experience. She has written for Chicago Athlete Magazine for more than 20 years. As a Team MPI Head Coach, she has coached athletes to regional, national and world class success. She is a USA Paratriathlon National Team Coach and Team USA Coach at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, ITU World Paratriathlon Series and High Performance Camps at the Olympic Training Centers. Chris coaches youth and junior triathletes as Head Coach for the MMTT Youth Triathlon Team and for USAT at national Junior Skills Camps. In 33 years as an athlete, she has raced several sports including triathlon (13 Ironman), collegiate rowing (Cornell 83-87), canoe/kayak, cross country skiing (20 Birkebeiner) and road bike racing. Chris is married with two kids. Favorite Quote: “Do Simple Better” ~Joe Maddon


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