Especially in colder climes, winter can be a time to cocoon indoors, perhaps retreating into watching TV and DVDs or reading books – all more solitary, rather than social, activities. It’s not quite the same as family fun in the summer, when so many entertainment options open up. But there’s plenty to do in winter season and as a green parent you shouldn’t have too much trouble finding activities with an ecological edge that the whole family can enjoy.
Get the whole family knitting in the evenings. It’s not a gender-exclusive hobby anymore and you can create your own eco-friendly warm clothes for your green winter season. If sweaters are a bit too ambitious then try a simple woolly scarf. Socks actually aren’t that difficult either, and it’s a way to prepare yourself for the outdoors or make home-made gifts.
Just because it''s the coldest season doesn’t mean you have to be housebound and with your new warm winter knits you can venture outside to test them out. Nothing quite says winter like going skating, even if it’s an indoor rink. It’s a fun way to exercise (and kids love seeing inept parents floundering on ice). Exercise of any kind is perfect way to warm up instead of switching on the heaters and being a couch potato.
Winter season is the perfect time of the year to go for bracing walks armed with a camera. With digital cameras everyone can go out snapping, and winter offers great opportunities for fabulous photos, especially if you have snow and ice. Snow is winter’s gift for families to have fun with snowmen (and women), toboggans and explorations of winter’s wonderland. There’s nothing quite like the afterglow of a good walk on a chilly day, followed by hot drinks all round at home.
Winter can seem a bit too long, resulting in bored kids and irritated adults. But it’s an opportunity to reuse and recycle. Have a clear-out and donate your unwanted stuff to charity or have a yard sale. Instead of buying from supermarkets and big stores, shop for gifts and household essentials at flea markets and antique fairs. Kids enjoy seeing the weird and wonderful stuff from yesteryear at these events, and buying old things is a way to reuse instead of contributing to consumerism.
Winter season is the end of the old year and the dawning of the new. It’s never too soon to start making plans for the coming year. That includes preparing your spring garden. There are all sorts of seeds (flowers and even vegetables) that you can sow in a window box indoors, as long as you have a reasonably warm room and a sunny windowsill. Some actually need cold to germinate, and by starting your spring seedlings now you’ll have a head start. Just thinking about your spring garden is an inspiring way to get through the dreariest days of winter, and the whole family can get involved.
There’s plenty to keep you and your family busy during your winter season so, as a green parent, don’t hibernate this winter: get creative and resolve to make the New Year even greener than the one that is nearly done.