With the school year in high gear and the temperatures dropping, you just might be feeling that magic in the air: winter is coming soon. We love the fall colors and apple picking season, but we’re secretly super excited to make winter official. Here are a few reasons why.

snowflake-in-hand-samuel-chou-flickrphoto: Samuel Chou via Flickr

1) Snow! Or—for some of you—fake snow. That’s okay, too. If you live somewhere with freezing temperatures you can start the winter right with a colorful igloo. Even if there’s no frost in the forecast, you can still learn about the science of snowflakes with these easy experiments

2) Cocoa. Right? Just another excuse to be a grown-up with a mug of hot chocolate. Go beyond simply the “add hot water and stir” method and try out one of these delicious variations.

photo: dagon via Pixabay

3) Winter outfits! We’re not just talking about our favorite cozy sweaters and scarves: there’s something so adorable about a kid all bundled up in layers like a walking stuffed animal. Squeee! 

4) The holidays. Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or Solstice—or another winter tradition—there’s no denying the darker nights call for more twinkle lights and plenty of songs for entertainment.

5) Movie nights. Now that’s it gets dark so early, bedtime doesn’t seem like quite the battle. (And our kiddos are worn out from playing hard in those cold temps!) Enter: cozy family movie night. Check out this list of 75 movies to watch with the kids before they grow up. And after the kids are in bed, well, we know you’ve got plenty to binge-watch.

photo: Visit Leavenworth WA’s Facebook

6) Winter travel! From ice castles to blazing fireworks, we can’t wait to get away to some of our favorite winter festivals that we think every kid should experience at least once. 

7) Crock pot meals. It’s the time of year when something warm for supper is truly satisfying, but nobody wants to stay inside all day cooking. Enter, the crock pot or slow cooker. Here are 25 to get you started.

8) Story time. Staying inside with a blanket and a book is always the best in winter. Looking for a new book to read together? Check out our list of 100 to read before your kids get too old!

photo: Filip Mroz via Unsplash

9) Feeling the burn. You burn more calories in the cold than in warmer weather, so all that outdoor activity gets you double the effects. Whether you’re just up for a winter hike, cool temperature walk or out and out snow shoveling, getting outside makes all that cocoa and curling up that much more satisfying.

10) No yard work. Other than shoveling snow, in most of the country winter isn’t the growing season so you’ll be weeding less and most likely watering never. Yay! More time for other activities.

What’s your favorite thing about winter? Tell us in a comment below!