35Opposite Photo by Bryan Mullennix. Above: Photo by Paul Morton.
36Make sure your family has the winter gear necessary to bravethe cold. Dressed for success, there's no reason not to continuewalking to work or school or running errands on foot.Skates, sleds, shovels, hockey sticks and other seasonalequipment help ensure a fun and active winter for all. Lookfor community skate exchanges and be sure to pass alongoutgrown equipment that's in good condition for someoneelse to enjoy.Skating, whether outdoors (Harbourfront, Beaches, City Hall,Mel Lastman Square or the Shops at Don Mills and at variouscommunity centres) or indoors at your local arena, providesactive fun for all ages that's usually free. Why not look intolessons or get your kids started with hockey or ringette?Snowshoes provide for super winter fun for all ages andaren't overly expensive. Leave your prints in Toronto's trailsystem or a nearby park or ravine --or head north to Barrieor Collingwood where rentals are available to try.Get resources and information that will help your familyconnect with nature from organizations like The Trans CanadaTrail and The Child & Nature Alliance of Canada. Go sledding! Check out Leaside hill after the first snowfall. Thencheck to see who's enjoying it more --the kids or the parents!Get out into your own backyard with the kids as we do at ourhome. We build snowmen, forts, and last year built a minihill with speed bumps for after-school toboggan fun.Have your kids invite the neighbourhood kids or their schoolfriends over to play outdoors. Whether it's building a fort orplaying a game of ball hockey, the more the merrier!Take your camera along for winter walks and hikes, andencourage the whole family to capture the season.Planning a day trip with the kids? Why not have them invitesome friends along too? Got little ones? How about a wintertrip to the zoo?Make your own backyard skating rink. We provideddirections on our popular blog last winter and heard fromhundreds of Canadians who made it happen! You'll findinstructions for a good, old-fashioned skating rink right here:http://blog.participaction.com...........ParticipACTION's Active Living Ambassadorshares someSeasonal Tipsamong them, and together with our golden retriever, perhaps a fewfriends, and a thermos of hot cocoa, we make the most of nature'splayground. In fact, though none of us is a particularly competentskater, we also lace up skates from time to time. Skating is anactivity many teens enjoy, especially when shared with friendsready to rescue each other from slipping and falling. I view myparenting job in this instance as that of facilitator and funderbecause going for après-skating hot chocolate as a group adds tothe appeal for teens.While Toronto offers many active winter options, sometimesgetting into real snow country adds to the possibilities for activefun. Why not plan a day trip to Hardwood Ski and Bike nearBarrie or head to Collingwood for some XC skiing or snowshoeing?Last year, for example, I took up snowboarding, and though myego was somewhat bruised by the experience, it's safe to say thatI'll be back this year.Winter is here. Welcome it. Embrace it. Help your kids explorethe many active opportunities it brings --and above all, dressfor the weather!For more information and tips on how toget you and your family active, please visitParticipACTION, the national voice ofphysical activity and sport participation at www.participACTION.com