(Featured Photo: Winter Hikes at the Cincinnati Nature Center)
Navigating the “new normal” amid a public health crisis has come with a variety of challenges. Overall, the people of our communities have very decidedly chosen to be undefeated in their will to live a full life.
With good judgement, and respect to local governing mandates, we’ve discovered ways to get back out there safely! Exercise has always been an important component for living a healthy lifestyle. Getting our children outdoors so that they can release endorphins – for both their physical and mental well-being – so to obtain all the good energy fresh air has to provide is critical now more than ever. Furthermore, getting outdoors, no matter what, is critical to our mental stability as parents!
Greater Cincinnati’s beloved parks always has the golden ticket for families looking to enjoy new adventures, even in the winter time. With 70 parks spread across the city, how could they not? It is probably a good idea to follow Cincinnati Parks on social media to keep up with the latest news and upcoming events. Their Facebook page is a wonderful resource to learn about fun activities for the family.
Mark Your Calendar:
Art Play Hike: Mt. Airy Tree House, Presented by the Contemporary Arts Center and Cincinnati Parks; 1212 Trail Ridge Road, Cincinnati, Oh; cincinnatiparks.com
Thursday, March 4; This program is designed for kids aged 6 and up. Explore the great outdoors with your little ones while warming up with coffee or hot coco, and take home an art activity bag. Each family will also receive an interactive park print designed by a local artist. These hikes occur monthly and take place rain or shine, and at alternating locations. Be sure to view their “Daily Dose of Activities” on their website where you’ll find upcoming opportunities to check for early signs of spring, look for animal tracks and to pull out your bike even!
Great Parks of Hamilton County Winter Activities; greatparks.org
Great Parks has a phenomenal recreation winter activities list. Enjoy sledding, hiking, ice fishing, and outdoor ice skating at the Miami White River Forest or Lake Isabella while the weather permits. Simply visit their website to uncover dates, times and locations. Bear in mind that all surrounding parks are adhering to COVID-19 restrictions: social distancing at six feet, hand sanitizing and wearing masks in some instances. They are putting their best effort forward to keep our families safe while we embrace the wintery outdoors! Registration is required for many, if not all, activities. Be sure to inquire ahead.
Parky’s Farm; 10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati, Oh; greatparks.org/parks/winton-woods/parkys-farm
Greater Cincinnati has some really cool farms. Consider visiting Parky’s Farm, a division of Great Parks, and view farm animals from dawn to dusk – admission is currently FREE – much like you’d experience at the Cincinnati Zoo! Parky’s farm also has their playground open for the kids throughout the entire week.
Tikkun Farm; 10073 Daly Road, Cincinnati, Oh; tikkunfarm.com
Tikkun Farm is another hidden gem situated in Mt. Healthy Ohio. Practice yoga with the entire family, alongside a yoga instructor who has a children’s yoga certification. The health benefits of yoga have been noted as overall holistic. This is an excellent activity not only for bonding with the family, but for individualized healing in the midst of straining times. Currently, yoga will not take place outdoors, however, it is out-of-the-house and offers a change in environment.
Gorman Heritage Farm; 10052 Reading Rd, Cincinnati, Oh; gormanfarm.org
Another awesome place to take the family. Take a guided farm tour anytime, 10 people at $15 per person. Fill out the form on their website to initiate registration. Although our world looks a little different in terms of how we socialize, it has not stopped families from coming together. In fact, many have agreed that over the last several months the connections we feel toward our loved ones have strengthened. There are limitations, but there is no cap on creativity!
More Creative Ways for Outdoor Play:
- Walk the Neighborhood – When the weather calls for it, bundle up and and take a stroll in your neighborhood. Point out the beautiful scenery and winter birds to your kids, and even create a DIY scavenger hunt! Or spread a little kindness to your neighbors by painting “Kind” rocks and hiding them along your walk for others to find.
- Explore Critters – Get around the yard and explore critters you never knew were there. Take pictures and reference what they are in “books about insects” you check-out from your local library.
- Go Bird Watching – Make simple bird feeders with pine cones and see what winter birds come out for a snack! Cover the pine cones in sticky peanut butter or honey and cover them with birdseed! Finally gather some yarn and hang them in the trees. Just sitting on the porch and taking in the outdoor hair can refresh your mind and energize the kids.
- Live in the Little Moments – Do what you’ve never done before with your family, because if there is one thing the pandemic has taught us, it’s that quality time with family is a priority. Search online for local parks, farms and recreation centers for a list of scheduled outdoor activities between now and March 20 (first day of spring!) to enjoy winter outdoors!