Q: Got any ideas for some fun winter outdoor activities to do with my family on a Sunday? In the past, we’ve gone bowling or to indoor amusement centers but I want to change things up a bit this year. Got any ideas?

A: Sure I do! I love winter; it’s my favorite season. Time to break out the tights, the boots, the pea coats, the cute scarves and hats. And who can resist the holiday spirit of Thanksgiving and Christmas? It’s January you have to worry about — when there’s no holidays to look forward to and the weather is positively frigid. Ugh. But until then, there’s loads you can do on a Sunday afternoon. These ideas are all good for you – getting outside for some winter fun means lots of exercise. Did you know that going outside can even improve your memory, too? Mother Nature’s benefits never cease to amaze. So what are you waiting for? Bundle up and be off!

1. Go to the park. Parks will be a lot less crowded this time of year and playgrounds will be more fun for your kids if they don’t have to wait their turn at the slide or at the swings. Also, this time of year is great kite-flying weather because of the wind. Even if you’re not successful, you’re sure to have fun trying.

2. No more skating around in circles in the indoor rink. Find an outdoor ice skating rink in your area. Outdoor ice skating rinks are so much more fun than indoor ones — you get to enjoy the scenery and the fresh air while getting some great exercise. Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta features the city’s only outdoor skating rink, surrounded in winter by a glittering lights display.

3. Once it snows, get outside! You can have lots of fun with snow — have a snowball fight, build a snowman or make a snow angel. You can even eat snow (just don’t eat yellow snow — that’s a definite no-no). Whatever you do in the snow is bound to be fun if you’re doing it with your kids.

4. Visit a zoo. Many zoos do not close for the winter, and there are usually less crowds this time of year. Many zoos also have special light displays for the winter and trains that run through the zoo, so check yours for their winter activities (or click here to find a zoo near you) and get going!

5. Check your local paper or website for local fairs and events. Around the holidays, there are lots of holiday displays to see, such as the window displays at Macy’s or Bloomingdale’s in NYC (always a favorite) — and things to do with the kiddies in your neighborhood.

6. If you’re lucky enough to live in one of these places or will be visiting one of them, try a horse-drawn sleigh ride! Sleigh rides are oodles of fun and are often through beautiful forests or wooded areas. Dress warmly and bring a big blanket to cover yourselves! Here’s a list of the top 10 sleigh rides in the U.S.

Last but not least, once you’ve had your outdoor fun, and you’re giving your toes and fingers a chance to thaw out, make sure to warm up inside with a cup of hot chocolate or roasted marshmallows by the fire. In the dead of winter, nothing can make you feel so toasty!

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Photo: Pimonova/iStockphoto

What are some outdoor winter activities for my family?
Chanie Kirschner recommends going to the park, the ice rink or the zoo during the chilly months.