Add fun to your weekend with an adventure day!

Ever been to the beach in -5 C weather?

Newfoundlanders will probably say yes — that could be a typical day in July, depending on the year, as easily as it could be February or March. My family recently took a Sunday afternoon and went to the beach in snowsuits for Adventure Day.

In the summer when the weather is nice (and despite a cold start, summers here in Newfoundand are generally glorious), getting outside is easy. There’s lots to do and it doesn’t take much to come up with an outdoor activity everyone is interested in, whether it’s a hike on the Signal Hill trail or blueberry picking. In the winter, it’s more of a struggle. The six-year-old is excited to get bundled up and go outside and play in the snow, but for a grown-up who has just spent two long hours shoveling, maybe not such a thrill.

Realizing we were spending a lot of weekend afternoons indoors, we came up with Adventure Day. The rules are pretty simple. We pick an adventure: somewhere to go or something to do that we haven’t done before in the winter. It must be outside for at least part of the time and involve some sort of physical activity, but not necessarily strenuous. So far, our adventures have taken us from our own back yard tracking moose prints in the snow to a walk on the beach, where we saw huge ice walls and looked for heart-shaped rocks. Six-year-old was especially impressed with a rock he is convinced holds the toe print of a dinosaur. 

We’ve explored an area of old train tracks (there haven’t been trains in Newfoundland since 1988) and my favourite adventure so far, packed our Coleman stove and a picnic in a huge backpack and went on a hike and boil-up in the woods. We’ve visited a lot of touristy sites like Cape Spear (the most easterly point on the continent, where there’s a lighthouse and old war bunkers to explore, as well as an amazing view), and taken walks along the St. John’s harbourfront.  My son looks forward to Adventure Day, and gets excited about having a say in where we go.

When you put on tourist eyes, you see things you’ve never seen before, even if you’ve lived in a place forever, and tourist sites look so much different in the winter. There are tons of benefits to the fresh air and sun, plus our adventures are helping us meet the Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines, which include 150 minutes of physical activity per week for adults, 60 minutes daily for kids. Check out this page for more information.

We’ve been taking pictures of our adventures and putting them into a scrapbook, and six-year-old usually brings his sketchbook and colouring leads along, too, so we’re also creating some great family memories.

ParticipACTION and the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador are working together, with support from Recreation NL, to inspire families to make physical activity a higher priority in daily life.