Incorporating healthy activities into our weekly routine is a life-long habit that we can learn at a young age.
Sometimes just knowing what to do is half the battle. To help bring family activity back into your household, the following are ten unique (and mostly free) ideas you may not have thought of, in and around the Okanagan:
Flower Festivals • Walking never feels like work when you can wander among flowers. This is a great activity to teach children the beauty of exploring nature. In the spring, check out the tulips, and in the fall, you can observe the varieties of sunflowers. You can even bring your dog for company. Check out bloomflowerfestivals.com for more information.
Corn Mazes • If you’re not interested in flowers, maybe a corn maze is a better fit. There are so many elaborate corn mazes in the Okanagan. Some places to visit are O’Keefe Ranch in Vernon and McMillan Farms in Kelowna. Mazes are excellent activities for not only the body but also the brain because they improve focus and encourage problem-solving. Often, you’ll be able to find a pumpkin patch nearby to make the perfect Jack-O-Lantern. There’s even a haunted corn maze called the Field of Screams during Halloween in Vernon. Check out fosokanagan.com for tickets.
Animal Visits • Studies have shown that animals positively affect human health. When kids connect with animals, they develop crucial skills like empathy. There are many farms to visit in the area like Sagebrush Ranch Pony Petting Tour in Kaledon for those interested in horses and ponies. The Kangaroo Creek Farm in Kelowna is always a hit. Lumby and Oliver have petting zoos on family-run farms: Gold Fox Acres and Covert Farms Family Estate. Camelot Haven in Vernon provides guided alpaca tours. Peachland offers Parrot Island Sanctuary, where kids can observe rescued parrots. If you love goats, there’s GottaGoat Farm in Penticton. There’s something here for everyone!
Rail Rides/Hikes • There are so many great trails in the Okanagan, so whether you’re a biker or a hiker – there’s something for you. On the rail trail, enjoy the crystal blue waters of Kalamalka Lake as you breathe in the fresh air and connect with the outdoor community. You can bike or walk the rail trail any time of year for free. Looking for more excitement? Every fall is the annual Okanagan Rail Ride. Get tickets at okanaganrailride.com. Another easy hike or bike for the family are the Myra Canyon Trestles which offer breath-taking views of the canyon below. You will be in awe of the tunnels and stunning trestle bridges.
Roller Night • On warm evenings you can lace up your roller skates and enjoy skating around the many paved paths in the parks of the Okanagan. Stuart Park will seasonally host roller nights for all ages. In the winter, the rink has a layer of ice, and you can drop by for a skate all day long! In Armstrong, there is often drop-in roller skating at Hassen Arena. Skating is a great way to get moving and could be a new activity to try with your family. Check out the City of Kelowna and the township of Armstrong websites for more information on skating.
Bat Counting • Is your child interested in science? If so, bat counting might be the activity for you to get outside and do research! The BC Community Bat Program is always looking for helpers. Certain varieties of bats in this area are endangered or at risk, so volunteers can help record population numbers to ensure survival. You can go to many designated sites to do a twilight bat count. Peachland has activities and crafts for kids before counting the bats that swoop around in the evening at the Peachland Historic Schoolhouse. Go to bcbats.ca for details and locations.
Virtual Yoga • For rainy days inside, it’s always good to have a backup plan. Why not try virtual classes with your kids? The YMCA offers virtual options at ymcahome.ca that are worth checking out. Cosmic Kids Yoga on YouTube is also a valuable resource for kids who might enjoy yoga. This channel provides various stories that engage audiences and incorporate yoga poses. Yoga helps teach vital skills for stress management and mental health by incorporating mindful breathing.
Dancing in the Park • Dancing is a powerful outlet for creative expression. Stuart Park in Kelowna typically offers dance classes for all ages in the summer with certified instructors. This could be a way to try out different styles and see if there’s one you enjoy. Check out okanaganfamilyfun.com for more information. You can also get your groove on while listening to live outdoor music at a variety of locations in the summer. The Y also offers dance classes for kids. Why not try getting a workout in while your child does too?
Fruit Festivals • There are several unique festivals and farms to experience in the Okanagan that inspire healthy living. The Penticton Peach Fest in the summer celebrates the annual peach harvest that began in 1947. At the festival, you and your family can try fresh fruit and activities. Check out the City of Penticton website for more information. Davison Orchards in Vernon is another great family-friendly option, or you can try one of many u-pick operations where the whole family can pick their own fruit.
Join the Y • From swimming to drop-in basketball to family play time, the YMCA of Southern Interior of BC has many programs to get kids moving. Check out our website at ymcasibc.ca for more information and schedules.
These adventures incorporate movement, mindfulness, and the importance of staying connected to the community. These pillars of health are vital for any age.
It is essential to enjoy active experiences with family and loved ones. The more these experiences get us up and moving, the better. A resource for healthy living, the YMCA of Southern Interior BC is always available to help. To learn more about the programs and services available through the local charity, check out ymcasibc.ca.
The YMCA of Southern Interior BC, formerly the YMCA of Okanagan, was established 40 years ago as a cause-driven charity dedicated to building a healthier local community. The Y provides a wide range of programs and services with a focus on health, inclusiveness, and accessibility, serving people of all ages and abilities. The YMCA is in the business of prevention, while promoting healthy lifestyles, nurturing young minds, and strengthening our community. Visit ymcasibc.ca to learn more.