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COLUMN: Make Family Day a priority for your loved ones

There's no shortage of activities for families to enjoy in this area, reporter says
This Family Day, get outside and enjoy each other.

It’s impossible to live where we live and say there is nothing to do on Family Day.

I love Barrie. I have since before I moved here in 2008.

This city and surrounding area really has everything, and it comes in handy for kids on Family Day.

There are obviously all the city-run events that have been publicized, but besides that it’s easy to find something that can distract the kids from the electronics and get them active for a bit.

A cheap way to keep them entertained is a homemade scavenger hunt. It costs nothing, and Mom and Dad can even make coffee at home and bring their insulated mug.

The hunt can be held downtown, where the recent ice sculptures have been placed. Front windows of local businesses are decorated and there is an abundance of landmarks.

Even a hike in the woods or on one of the many local trails works for the scavenger hunt, and pinecones, animals and certain plants can be on the list.

They’ll be exercising and not even realizing it.

For the very little kids, it doesn’t take much to keep them occupied. They’re not looking for quality, just quality time.

A walk in the snow that turns into a snowball fight, or a snow structure-building contest.

Parks in this city are plentiful, so you can’t run out of space.

I have always been a big fan of the local museum when I’m stuck for things to do. Not only is there walking around and checking out the inside artifacts and sites; the grounds of the Simcoe County Museum are beautiful any time of year, but particularly in the winter.

If the weather isn’t ideal for being outside, doing things inside that are fun can make a day go by faster.

It’s soup weather. Have the family choose a soup to make together and have it for dinner, making a deal to do that every Family Day weekend moving forward.

Or baking, which is my wife’s favourite thing to do with our kids, can not only put a fun dent in the day but also is a delicious activity for everyone to enjoy.

We’re big on the surrounding area as well, so sometimes the drive to Mariposa Market in Orillia is a fun treat or, even better, walks in Muskoka. The drive allows everyone to just chat and spend time together — which is what the weekend is about.

This winter stretch after December can be hard. Everyone is already so busy. Now add the pressures some have of making up those holiday payments and it’s a stressful time.

Family Day isn’t just a day for some to be off, because some people still have to work or feel like they have to.

This weekend is needed by many to forget about everything but family.

Take it seriously.

Tell your work you’re not coming in. You don’t need to stress about money. The kids just want to spend time with you. They don’t care about the material things of the weekend.

Breathe. Unwind. Turn everything off and go be with your family.

Have a good one!

Shawn Gibson is a staff reporter at BarrieToday.