This piece was slated to be about outdoor ice rinks, or one in particular. Of course, any seasonal piece is likely to be ‘weather permitting,’ and the weather does not, as it were, permit. Global warming skeptics please recall the balmy January afternoons of your youth, splashing through green park fields. For families who want to have fun outdoors, the challenge is real. The playground is a quagmire, and every swing and slide contains its own little puddle. What are a parent and child to do?
You do laundry. The first thing to recognize doing anything outside on cold, wet days is that even though a preschool child probably only has one snowsuit, and will get it soaked in mud and slush, you just have to put it on and chance needing to wash it overnight. If the slides are dry (or frozen) then you may get lucky, but most likely dirty slush and salt will motivate you when off-peak hits.
A quick scan over the government weather office data for Pearson Airport shows that there were two days in January 2012 of double digit (Celsius) temperatures, and a stretch of nine consecutive days of high temperatures above the freezing mark. In 2011 the thaw came on New Year’s day, and the previous year there was a stretch of 13 out of 14 days which peaked above 0. The new January routine is based on whether it is (relatively) wet or dry, and accordingly whether you can get away with a walk to a park with some balance structures of appropriate difficulty, or perhaps venture to Riverdale Farm, the boardwalk, or a nature walk or ravine trip which includes safe stairs or hills. These kinds of trips can provide outdoor exercise, but even they are unavailable if it is rainy.
In case of rain, indoor activity centers and play areas like those mentioned in the previous piece are good to know, as well as your local community centers, drop-ins, and of course, the little lists. Hopefully there are a limited number of wet autumnal days during the winter, and these outings are sufficient to keep everyone happy. Then we can get back to tobogganing!