9 ideas on how to combat cold, psych your kids (and yourself) up for warmer days of summer

  • Picnic-basket

  • For some downtrodden Toledoans, winter holds no charms.

    And now that we've officially met the season's bitter wind chill face to face, we just can't seem to warm up to the idea of shovelling in below-zero temperatures and hiking through mounds of snow to get anywhere.

    For some of us, the winter season only stirs that longing for summer, when the days are long and warm. The first day of the sunny season is still five months away, but the fun of summer can be had all winter long. All it takes is a touch of creativity and sense of adventure. Here are nine ideas on how to combat the cold and psych your kids (and yourself) up for the warmer days of summer, that currently seem out of reach.

    1. Have a picnic. Roll out the blanket, pack the basket, and enjoy a family picnic right in your living room. No, it's not your favorite park, but at least you won't have to worry about bugs, rain or crowds.

    2. Go swimming. Yes, -- in the dead of winter -- put on your bathing suit and take a dip in the pool. Area indoor water parks are open all year long and are sure to give you that summer fun you've been longing for. Here are a few to keep in mind: Splash Bay Indoor Water Park Resort at the Holiday Inn Hotel, Toledo; Splash Universe Water Park Resorts, Dundee, Mich.; Great Wolf Lodge, Kalahari Resorts, Maui Sands Resort and Indoor Water Park, and Castaway Bay, all in Sandusky.

    3. Play golf. Nothing says summer like the smell of freshly mowed greens and riding across fairways in a golf cart. You won't find that experience around here this winter, but you can work on perfecting your stroke at one of the many indoor golf ranges and practice facilities in the area.

    4. Go camping. In your backyard, basement or living room, it's up to you. Play games, tell stories, and don't forget the s'mores. No campfire needed. The toaster oven or microwave will do.

    5. Play ball. Cold weather is no reason to avoid physical activities. Break out the bats and balls and play soccer, catch, or balloon ball in the basement or any other space large enough for fun.

    6. Eat ice cream. Ice cream is like the mascot of summer. Bring on the feeling of summer with a banana split or strawberry shortcake from one of the few ice parlors that are still open, or make your own sundae bar at home.

    7. Have a barbecue. Fire up the grill (or the oven, if you absolutely refuse to go outdoors) and invite friends over to warm up with smoked grub. Grill the meat and corn, serve a summer salad, and sip lemonade, just as you would if it were 89 degrees outside.

    8. Break out the summer games and toys -- hopscotch, hula hoops, jump ropes, and any other toy or game that reminds you of the sunny days of summer -- and enjoy with the kids, in the basement, living room or even outside.

    9. Hot movies. On the coldest days of the year, it might make you feel better to watch films about the hottest days of the year. Here are some titles to consider: Jaws, Some Like It Hot, The Long, Hot Summer, and Spike Lee's Do the Right Thing.

    Contact RoNeisha Mullen at: or 419-724-6133.