Enjoy winter: Think summer

(Photo courtesy of stock.xchng user edudflog)

On a cloudy, cold or otherwise wintry day, I can’t help but dream of summer. Daylight until 9 p.m., weekends spent hiking, happy hour on an outside patio in downtown York… and, of course, all the entertainment that comes with warmer weather. Summer camps, kids’ baseball games and days at the pool all offer easy options for an otherwise unplanned day.

In the winter, finding things to do without going stir crazy is a bit harder. So while it’s still a tad cool for T-ball practice, head to a local bowling alley for an afternoon game or two.

Younger kids can use bumpers for a little assistance as they pick up the game, and older kids (even adults) will enjoy translating their Wii bowling skills to a real-life game. (Seriously. I easily bowl above 200 in Wii bowling, and I’m lucky to break 90 in real life. Why is this?!)

While you’re brushing up on your skills, check out the program Kids Bowl Free. In its fifth year, it allows kids across North America bowl at no cost — all summer. Families register at www.kidsbowlfree.com, and then receive two free games of bowling every day, typically from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day weekend (dates vary depending on the area). Vouchers are emailed on a weekly basis.

There are a handful of bowling alleys in southcentral Pennsylvania to choose from — one in Red Lion, one in Hanover and five in York.

According to a release, Kids Bowl Free began in 2008 with just 75 bowling centers. This summer, the program expects to serve more than 2 million children in 48 states and every province in Canada at more than 1200 centers. For more information or to find all participating locations and guidelines, visit www.kidsbowlfree.com.

As the cold sets in and that couch calls your name, Smart magazine encourages you to enjoy winter for all it offers. From outdoor activities like skiing and hiking to cozy indoor ideas like making your own hot cocoa, we’ll offer a tip each Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday through March.

Sarah Chain

I'm an avid reader and book lover living and working in downtown York. Follow me on Twitter at @sarahEchain.

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