01/27/2013 11:40 EST | Updated 03/21/2013 08:28 EDT

Winter Hobbies Perfect For Some Family Fun


Just because there’s snow on the ground doesn’t mean everyone has to hibernate for the winter. There are plenty of fun hobbies just waiting for the whole family to enjoy – even when the weather outside is frightful.

There’s no better time than now to begin pursuing a new winter hobby – you’ll have just enough time to really get into it before the snow starts to melt and spring begins peeking out. So why not turn off the TV, coax everyone off the couch and head outside to enjoy a few of these great winter activities?

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1. Snow tubing: There’s no training required for this exhilarating new activity that’s like a high-end version of tobogganing – with bigger hills and a much smoother ride. Tubing has already taken British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario ski resorts by storm, and is starting to spread across other parts of Canada, too. Still not sure what it is? Check out some of Lakeridge Ski Resort’s tubing videos here.

2. Nature photography: Why just go hiking when you can go on a nature photography expedition? Help the kids set up expert shots of scenic snow-covered landscapes and majestic wildlife like birds, bunnies and deer. Before you head out, brush up on your own skills with some handy winter photography tips — like how to avoid condensation on the camera lens.

3. Skating: Whether your kids are pros on the ice or just learning how to skate, hitting the rinks is a great way to spend quality time together while preemptively burning off all that hot chocolate you’ll be sure to savour afterwards. If you’re teaching a wee one how to skate, Today’s Parent has some helpful tips on how to have them gliding in no time.

4. Tobogganing: It may not be as glamorous as snow tubing, but tobogganing is an enduring classic for a reason – it’s fun, easy and affordable! Unfortunately, it can also be dangerous, so make sure everyone is up to speed on tobogganing safety practices before heading for the hills.

5. Snowshoeing: For a winter pursuit that’s much less expensive and a whole lot safer than skiing, why not give snowshoeing a shot? It’s harder than it looks, which means it’s that much more rewarding to master. Check out Snowshoe Magazine’s comprehensive first-timer’s guide for some great tips on how to tackle the heart-pumping pursuit.

6. Bird watching: Much like nature photography, bird watching can take plain old hiking to the next level. Grab a book like the Smithsonian Field Guide to the Birds of North America, and get the kids to identify what kind of birds they spot during your family foray into the woods. Educational and physically active? How could you go wrong!

7. Snow painting: That fluffy white snow in your backyard is the perfect canvas for the whole family to showcase their artistic sides on. Haven’t heard of snow painting? TLC has a great guide to getting started. All you’ll need is some food colouring, water, paintbrushes and an old bowl – and voila – you’ll be ready to unleash your inner (and outdoor) da Vinci.

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