Winter seems to be our longest season, and both parents and children can become very restless and bored during the long cold winter months. Fresh air and exercise can help keep the winter blues away, so try to get outside with your children every day. Be sure to dress them for the weather in warm layers, keeping minimal skin exposed to the cold. Watch for signs of discomfort or frostbite, and have some water bottles on hand to keep your children hydrated, especially if you are out for a long time and there is lots of physical activity.

Give in to the season and take advantage of the cold and snow for some winter-themed fun. For example: Make paths in snow with a game of .follow the leader. Build a snowman, or a whole snow family. Using sandbox toys build a snow castle or pack roads where toy trucks can drive.

Bring a blanket and hot chocolate outside for a winter picnic. Go sledding. You can go to a big hill, or work together with your children to create some bumps and slopes in the snow. During a light snow, catch snowflakes on a dark piece of construction paper and study their designs. Have a nature hunt. Encourage your children to look for pinecones, animal tracks, rocks and so on. They can also close their eyes and listen for sounds such as birds chirping and wind blowing. Have a treasure hunt. Hide a number of familiar plastic toys in the snow and give clues to help your children locate them.

Show your children how to make snow angels. Blow bubbles outside. On a cold day, they will bounce along the snow before popping. Set up a target and throw snowballs. Make bird feeders with pinecones, butter and birdseed or by stringing Cheerios on yarn. Hang them and watch quietly as the birds come by. Use small plastic shovels to create paths and snow piles. On days when the temperature drops below -25C, plan some indoor activities:

Put some clean snow in a plastic container, put on mitts and play inside in the snow. Use white crayons or chalk on black or dark blue construction paper to create winter scenes. Warm up the house by baking cookies or making a pot of soup together. Put on shorts, sunglasses and the Beach Boys to have a summer in the winter party. Snuggle together with a stack of books. Build a fort out of sheets and blankets and go camping.

Save cardboard boxes to use as giant building blocks. Use masking tape to create roads on the floor for toy cars. Encourage your children to put on a play, acting out a familiar story or making up a new adventure. Teach your children the board or card games you enjoyed as a child.