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Thursday, January 14, 2016

Snow Globe: 5 Winter Activities From Around the World

Photo by julie corsi (Flickr)

When winter turns your city into a snow globe, you have the perfect opportunity to play. Yes, you read that right. The freezing temperatures and frozen landscape encourage indoor and outdoor activities! My family has discovered five great winter activities that families like yours around the world can enjoy all season. Let's get active and try one or all of these this winter!

1. Attend an Outdoor Ice Festival

Ice-carving started as a culinary school skill, but it's now an art form. Ice and snow sculptures transform ordinary blocks of ice into exquisite masterpieces with tools like chainsaws and chisels. Your family can enjoy an outdoor ice festival almost anywhere on earth. Personally, I'd love to check out the Ice Music Festival in Geilo, Norway, where the instruments are made from ice. My girls hope to visit the Frozen Kids' Park at the World Ice Art Championships in Fairbanks, Alaska, where they can slide, ride, and go through mazes made of ice and snow!

2. Hang Out in the Kitchen

The joy of cooking and baking can keep kids and adults entertained all winter, especially when you turn it into a game. Challenge your kids to master basic cooking techniques before the first day of spring or to use one basic cookie dough recipe to make 20 unique varieties of cookies. You can also do a chili cook-off with a neighboring family or see who can find the most unusual recipe from around the world. Whether you use family favorites or find kids' recipes online, your family will have fun, bond, and stay cozy as you roll out pizza dough, stir soup, or mix homemade cookies all winter.

3. Go Sledding

Some of my best winter memories as a kid were of sledding down a hill near our house. My siblings, neighbors, and I had hours of fun. This winter activity makes my girls happy, too. We bundle up in layers, grab our toboggans, and head outside for an afternoon of fun and exercise. Several sledding hills around the globe are on our bucket list, including Ski Dubai, the world's largest indoor snow park, with year-round tobogganing hills and snowboarding. We are also excited to sled down the Volcan Villarrica in Chile, a volcano that features panoramic views at the top and a 20-minute downhill slide.

4. Teach Kids About Volunteering

Volunteering builds character and civic awareness. Plus, it's fun. Last year, my girls and I visited a senior center once a week to play games with the residents. I also know families who help sort food at food banks, play with puppies at local pet rescues, and help neighbors with household chores. Families in any city across the globe can use the winter season as an opportunity to make a difference in their communities and enjoy a unique winter activity.

5. Complete Art and Craft Projects

When winter weather grows fierce, I pull out the art and craft supplies. My girls and I challenge each other and see who can create the most elaborate scenes from play dough or who does a better job of coloring inside the lines in our giant coloring book. With hours of free time, we enjoy a variety of fun art and craft projects that keep us entertained as we play.

Winter weather might turn your town into a snow globe, but I encourage you not to hibernate. Embrace the season and enjoy these fun activities that are suitable for anyone around the world. Which would your kids enjoy the most this year?

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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