Parent to Parent

A Winter Getaway Close to Home

January, cold and freezing, makes me yearn for a winter getaway. Can’t afford a winter getaway this year? Or any year? With the kids back in school, there are some ways to make your own winter getaway.

The proliferation of water parks is a huge help, for one. Ripe for weekend getaways, watch closely for special rates. The big resorts have more than just swimming for fun. There are arcades, food courts, special events for the kids. Smaller indoor water parks are popping up all over the place, so you can check for one close enough for a day trip.

If you’re not beholden to the school calendar, early January is a fantastic time to just pop over to the water park for a day or two. They keep the indoor temperature around 80 degrees, so even if you can see the snow outside, it’s warm and tropical inside. And after a day of swimming, an in-room movie and a pizza delivered to your door tops it off nicely (after a quick bath to clean off all that chlorine!).

Do you have any plain ‘ole hotels nearby? Ones with pools? Our local inn has a pool that gets little to no use during the weekday school hours. So they invite the locals, little ones and homeschoolers, to come on over and swim in the warm waters. And there’s a hot tub for the adults. Just remember, hotel pools generally do not have life guards. Parents are responsible for their own children, so plan to go with friends to make sure there is enough adult supervision.

What else can you do for indoor fun? Look around … indoor play areas are not the sole domain of Chuck E Cheese, although that works in a pinch. Local burger joints like Burger King and McDonald’s often have play areas as well, and all you need to buy is a cup of coffee for yourself. Check out local health clubs for their kiddie play areas. Sometimes they offer “babysitting” for a small fee.

What can you do when you’re stuck at home for a week of snow? Before you get to that point, if you’ve got the room, get out the kiddie pool and some sand. I found a recipe for “magic sand” that consisted only of 2 cups sand per can of Spray Scotch Guard. Just keep spraying, and the sand won’t dry out, won’t get waterlogged, you can shape it, do whatever. And keeping it in a kiddie pool keeps messes to a minimum, like having an indoor sandbox! If sand is too messy, or you have real little ones, fill it up with balls. Just gather up every ball in the house, hard, soft, big, small, and toss them in! Or you could fill it with all the soft and squishy plush animals you have lying around. I still have far too many of those around, and they’re great for playing “pig pile”, even with my bigger boys.

Even though it’s cold outside, who says you have to stay in all day? The trick to enjoying our wintry weather is dressing properly, in layers. And all you Moms and Dads have to dress yourselves just as warmly as you dress your children, if you want to have some fun in the winter sun. You have to stay dry, as well, if you want to play in the snow, so make sure all are properly covered with ski pants and gloves, as well as hats and gaiters, or ski masks for windy days.

Sledding and building snowmen and snow forts are the usual activities going on outside my door these days. But sometimes, I just like to go for a walk in the woods. I definitely need a good warm pair of boots, whether there is snow on the ground or not, because my feet are the first to feel the cold. We like to follow tracks, if we can find any, and watch the birds flit about, looking for food.

Yes, sometimes, our winter getaway is no further than a path in the woods. And yet, it is still miles away from the every day. Sometimes, that’s all that is needed, a break from the every day, cold and gray.

Patti Hermes

Patti Hermes, Parent to Parent, is living the dream with her high school sweetheart, raising their boys in the Midwest because it's a good starting point for epic road trips. While writing, reading and homeschooling take up most of her time, she still blogs at HermesParent to ParentParentingParent to Parent A Winter Getaway Close to Home by Patti HermesJanuary, cold and freezing, makes me yearn for a winter getaway. Can't afford a winter getaway this year? Or any year? With the kids back in school, there are some ways to make your own winter getaway.The proliferation...Parenting Advice| Family Fun Activities for Kids