Busting boredom: 10 ideas for Family Day and beyond
Get active, get curious, see the stars, or watch a beach movie
As the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on, the arrival of Family Day looks a lot less like the break it used to be, and more like another weekend of struggling to find fun in a bubble.
Relax... we've got you covered. Here are a few ideas to inject some fun into the equation – without driving up your electricity bills – regardless of whether you're young, old, or somewhere in between.
1. Get away from the city at night, and look up
February tends to bring clearer skies (fingers crossed on that one). So why not take the family, or just your bestie, on a winter stargazing walk? We got this idea from the excellent Active For Life website, which offers an ongoing list of fantastic ideas for keeping younger kids physically active. Their advice is to grab some headlamps, bundle up, walk out into the snow and take in the stars. Note that that even in the big city of Vancouver, it's possible to go snowshoeing at night at places such as Cypress Mountain, where you can take a Lights to the Lodge walk before walking free from the lights and taking in the night sky.
2. Play a game of temperature smart bingo
BC Hydro's Power Smart For Schools website is geared towards providing teachers with fun, educational activities around the likes of energy use and sustainability. But some of the ideas work well for parents, too. The temperature smart bingo activity is geared towards kids in Grades 4-7, but there are age-appropriate activities for kids older and younger.
3. Take steps toward teaching (or learning) poker
Teenagers love poker, but most younger kids will struggle with the nuances of reading other players and knowing when to bet (and how much) in a game of Texas Hold'em. The solution is to start with simpler card games such as Fish and War to teach the basics, then progress through more complicated games later on. There's an excellent overview of how to introduce card games on fatherly.com. And once the teens are hooked on poker, provide a cautionary tale about gambling in the Matt Damon movie Rounders.
4. Explore the beach, or skate on a frozen pond
If you're on the coast, chances are that skating on a lake isn't in the cards. But the ocean is always interesting, so bundle everyone up, pack a lunch and a big blanket, and head to the beach. Time your visit for low tide so that the kids can search for crabs under the rocks. And if you're in the B.C Interior, there's always the chance that there's a frozen lake nearby where you can skate. Just take care to ensure your pond of choice has been declared safe for skating.
5. Stream your way to the beach
Were you forced by the pandemic to shelve your beach vacation for another year? Live vicariously through a series or movie that puts you in tropical locations. You can go the animated route with Surf's Up or Moana, or for the teens, go big on surfing with the based-on-a-true-story movie Soul Surfer, or documentaries The Endless Summer and Riding Giants, or for pure entertainment, the original Point Break. If you like your beaches with a dollop of buried treasure, go for Pirates of the Caribbean (2003), or with a solo Tom Hanks, there's Cast Away. And then there are escapist tropical-themed movies with mature content, including Crazy Rich Asians, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Descendants, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Mamma Mia!, and Sex And The City (2008). And then there's the wild and wonderful 2021 series The White Lotus (rated 17-plus on Commonsense Media)
6. Laugh until it hurts, with Telestrations
Discover the board game where there's no real winner... and everybody wins big. Billed as a visual version of the telephone game, this crowd-pleaser asks each player to sketch a quick version of a word or phrase they each get on a card, and pass it on to the next player, who then guesses the word or phrase, and who then passes it along so that the next player sketches. And so on. Things get really funny when the least artistic in the room struggle to draw something reasonable.
7. Watch the men's Olympic hockey final in Beijing
There are no NHL players in the mix, but that doesn't mean the hockey will be anything less than great. Former Kamloops Blazer and Edmonton Oiler goaltender Devan Dubnyk is among the Canadians likely gunning for a place in the February 20 gold medal game at 8 p.m. Pacific.
8. Go for a bike ride
If you have bikes and the weather looks good, this is a great time to get the two-wheelers out of storage and ready to go. While you're pumping up those tires checking the brakes, and oiling the chain, get the kids to help, as it's never too early to learn some bike maintenance basics. You may even need to fix a flat tire.
9. Take a hike, then drink decadent hot chocolate
Rain, shine or snow, a winter hike can be a blast for all. Ensure it's a great experience by trying a new hike or a walk in a park you've never explored, dressing warmly, and creating the reward of The Best Cup of Hot Chocolate Ever when it's all done. Get the kids involved in making a hot chocolate that includes melted chocolate chips, such as this popular homemade hot chocolate recipe on celebratingsweets.com.
10. Declutter and recycle
Label a few bags or boxes now to start collecting stuff around your home – such as electronics or small appliances and tools – that don't belong in the blue bin. Get the whole family involved in the decluttering exercise and in the drop-off at your local recycling depot. Learn about how to get your recycling right.