The restlessness is real. Welcome to the long weekend.
I remember when long weekends were something to look forward to. When they were all about leisure, relaxation, and an extra day of unwinding after a long work week. Gone are those care-free weekend days.
Welcome to weekends with toddlers, where at any given moment boredom sinks in. There are two ways that this plays out – either your toddler gets bored, and the whining starts, or you get bored and start pulling your hair out. There is, however, a MAJOR silver lining to this entirely non-relaxed weekend situation. You get to do So. Much. Fun. Stuff.
Now, instead of sitting on the couch and being a sack of lazy potatoes, I actually get out and do things. Fun things.
Summer is easier – we spend a lot of time riding bikes, going on nature walks, playing at the playground. You know, the kind of thing that helps with your tan, and oxygen intake. Basically, my kid forces me to be healthier, which in turn makes me exponentially happier. I feel fulfilled, I feel like I’ve accomplished something throughout the course of the weekend. I have fun stories to tell – and let’s be honest, without all of that I’d have literally nothing to write about.
Winter is a bit harder. Neither my husband nor I are fans of the cold (irony of all ironies that we call Canada, or the Great White North, our home). This tends to make us hibernators during the winter. Or at least it has in the past. My son doesn’t share in our fear of the cold, he wants to venture out, see things, do things, LIVE. Ah, the spirit of the young.
If my kid is lucky, one of my friends will stop by with her kid and drag me out to play in the snow. We’re talking snow pants, ski jacket, and layers upon layers on top of my mommy leggings. Once we’ve got the entire winter regalia on, it’s out the sliding door and into the 5 feet of snow that’s accumulated in my backyard. My kid is loving this shit, and I’m almost willingly freezing my extremities off as I’m teaching him to make snow angels. I have to admit – it’s fun. Makes me feel young and carefree – must be the fresh air and the frost nipping at my abnormally large nose.
However, despite the occasional snowy playdate, we’re mostly playing indoors. Lucky for us, Toronto is full of fun-filled activities that will keep you out of the cold, and out of the house.
- Indoor Playgrounds
I think these are the biggest money makers in the winter months. What better way to tire your kids out than letting them run wild on an indoor playground? My son loves them. He’s also still at that age when I’ve got to climb around with him – which is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I’ll never need to go to a gym EVER again. I think I’ve racked up enough indoor playground hours to cover me from having to commit to a fitness routine for the rest of my life. A curse because – he’s not the only one that ends up coming back home exhausted. In that sense, it’s a great pre-dinner activity, especially when post-dinner is bedtime.
- Science Centre
I love the Ontario Science Centre here in Toronto – it’s an educational outing that’s fun for both myself and my toddler. Especially now that they have an entire floor dedicated solely to children. Maybe my memory has lapsed, but I don’t remember that being there when I was growing up.
I’m also lucky enough that my child enjoys browsing the other exhibits with me. We call it stroller time – it’s fun, and relaxing for both of us. Then he gets to go run around in the kid’s section.
I just took my child to the Royal Ontario Museum for the first time this past long weekend (for Family Day). He quickly became obsessed with the dinosaur and animal exhibits. He went from naming the dinosaurs (yes, he’s a total nerd like his mother, and wants to know the proper names – he says Parasaurolophus like a boss), to matching all the wildlife with the characters from his favourite Disney movies (we got to see Rafiki and Nala). We didn’t even make it through the entire museum, so needless to say this is going to be an activity we repeat.
Anything animal related that is also indoors is a huge hit with my kid – this usually means a trip to Bass Pro to see all the taxidermy animals (my kid is weird, this is his choice of outing), Reptilia (where my husband refuses to go, because… snakes), or Ripley’s Aquarium.
Ripley’s is a great big water world. A giant aquarium, filled with fish and sea creatures from all over – it’s a really fun place to walk around. It’s rather slow paced, so excellent for a lazy weekend day. But don’t worry about the kids getting bored, half way through is a little play area where the littles can get rid of some of that pent-up energy they’ve managed to gather quietly browsing the first half of the aquarium.
- Arts and Crafts
If the weather is TRULY terrible, and driving conditions really don’t permit going out and about, I have a list of activities and games we play indoors. Anything to keep ourselves occupied.
What are some of your favourite Winter activities?