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The Winter Warmup!

Whether we want to admit it or not…Winter is coming. We want to help you prepare with The Winter Warmup! For the next 8 weeks, we’ll provide fun activities for you to do to help you get ready. Take pictures during the challenge and post on social media and tag #TheWinterWarmup!

Week 1: Nov 8-14


November 8: Take a picture with an Oak Tree

Large Oak Tree with red leaves by playground

Use the Champaign Park District Tree Map >> to find an Oak Tree and take your picture with it!

November 9:  Pick up litter in your neighborhood or favorite park

Help keep your parks clean with champaign park district.

This movement challenge will help you warmup for winter while helping to keep your parks clean.

November 10: Go on a Nature Color Hunt

Rectangular nature color view finder. Different colors line the edge of the paper with the center cut out.

Print out our Nature Color Hunt View Finder and bring it with you to your favorite park!

November 11: Go for a bike ride

person riding bike through park on paved path.

November 12: Paper Texture Rubbing Art at the Olympic & Paralympic Tribute

engraved stones of Olympic & Paralympic athletes' names.

The Tribute to Olympic and Paralympic Athletes rises from an ordinary prairie landscape transformed by playing fields, gardens, and a community college campus. It honors the extraordinary achievements of Champaign County residents who have participated in the Olympic and Paralympic Games, and its granite platform is inscribed with their names and the Olympic symbol of linked rings.

paper laid on textures surface. Purple crayon used to create texture on paper by rubbing across the surface.

Take a piece of paper and a crayon or pencil to The Olympic & Paralympic Tribute in Dodds Park to get a texture rubbing of the athletes’ names inscribed in the platform.

November 13: Stroll through one of our Natural Areas

Natural area field in the fall with blue sky

Whether you know the scientific name of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) or can’t tell the difference between a toad and a frog, we encourage you to discover all of our flourishing natural areas. Nestled within Heritage Park, Scott Park, Porter Family Park, and Sunset Ridge Park, all feature our careful attempt to restore the balance of nature in settings that are simultaneously beautiful and educational. So while you’re exercising your body, get out to our natural areas and exercise your mind and soul as well; no two visits will ever be the same.


November 14: Make a big leaf pile

children's feet in shoes in a pile of autumn fallen orange leaves in an fall forest or park. children are walking or traveling in nature

Week 2: Nov 15-21

November 15: Plant bulbs in your garden

If you haven’t planted bulbs in your garden yet, today’s your day! Time is running out before it’s too late to get them in the ground.

November 16:  Play a game of pickleball

Champaign Park District has several options for you to play a game of pickleball! Hessel Park has stand alone court as well as pickleball overlays on the tennis courts. Leonhard Recreation Center also has indoor pickleball.

If you love pickleball, register for the First Annual Champaign Park District Pickleball Open on December 3-5, 2021 at Leonhard Recreation Center. Deadline to register is Friday, November 19.


November 17: Find a BIG leaf

November 18: Take pictures during the “Golden Hour”

In photography, the golden hour is the period of daytime shortly after sunrise or before sunset, during which daylight is redder and softer than when the sun is higher in the sky. The golden hour is also sometimes called the “magic hour,” especially by cinematographers.

November 19: Hessel Park Tree Walk

Hessel Park, located off Kirby Avenue in Champaign, is a 26.9 acre park that is easily one of the most used parks in Champaign-Urbana. Because of its central location, ease of access and variety of park amenities, Hessel Park has been a favorite with both residents and visitors since the land was first donated in 1918.

In addition to the many park amenities like pavilions, basketball and tennis courts, playgrounds, and grills, Hessel Park boasts one of the largest and healthiest tree populations within the Champaign Park District. With over 50 different species of trees dotting the landscape of this beautiful park, you’re sure to find something of interest.

Featured in this brochure are drawings provided by Jean Burridge, International Society of Arboriculture (ISA) Certified Arborist, and descriptions of 28 of the more common species of trees that currently exist in Hessel Park. The purpose of the brochure is to provide opportunities for area school children and residents to learn about trees in central Illinois, and through a partnership with the University of Illinois Extension, to provide residents with access to information about proper planting and care for featured trees.

So take a stroll through the park and learn all about the trees of Champaign!

November 20: Skate at Spalding or Sunset Ridge Skate Parks

  • Spalding Park | 900 N Harris Ave, Champaign, IL 61820
  • Sunset Ridge Park | 3907 Boulder Ridge Dr, Champaign, IL 61822

November 21: Gather pinecones to make bird feeders

Branch of tree with pine cones, stock photo

Week 3: Nov 22-Nov 28

November 22: Workout in Douglass Park with the Douglass Fitness Trail

Douglass Fitness Trail (.74 mi) with outdoor exercise equipment (Ab Crunch/Leg Lift, Assisted Row/Push-Up, Balance Steps, Cardio Stepper, Chest/Back Press, Mobility Station, Plyometrics, Pull-Up/Dip, Squat Press, Stretching Station, Tai Chi Wheels). Visit our Douglass Park page for more information.


November 23: Go stargazing

A star at nigh sky with cloudy at night time

Take some time to go and look at the stars! 

November 24: Have a Fall Picnic

Autumn picnic in the forest or park, the blanket lies on yellow fallen leaves. Fruit in a basket and burgers

Picnics are for the fall too! Bring some extra blankets, a hot beverage, and some snacks for a delightful fall picnic in your favorite park.

November 25: Reenact an old photo

Find an old photo of yourself and reenact it with friends! Make sure to tag #TheWinterWarmup with your final creation so we can see it too.

November 26: Go to Winter Nights at Prairie Farm Opening Night!

Opening Night: November 26, 2021

Enjoy holiday lights every Thursday through Sunday, starting November 26 – January 2 at Prairie Farm. This will be an accessible experience featuring festive light displays throughout the farm. Bring your cocoa and enjoy a journey through a winter wonderland!

Join us for opening night on November 26 to meet Santa, listen to carolers, and enjoy complimentary hot chocolate!

Each day after opening night, support the Champaign Parks Foundation when you purchase a hot chocolate to enjoy while you peruse the lights! $2, cash only.


November 27: Attend the 21st Annual Parade of Lights presented by Christie Clinic

Champaign Park District trolley light up in holiday lights rolling through downtown Champaign.

Join us at the 21st Parade of Lights presented by Christie Clinic on Saturday, November 27! We will be part of the parade that’s escorting the big man himself through downtown. Visit the Parade of Lights website for more information.

November 28: Do a lap around Carle at the Fields trail

Long paved path surrounding a pond next to Carle administration building.

A partnership between Carle, the City of Champaign, and the Champaign Park District, Carle at the Fields Trial is a 2.4 mile 10′ wide paved accessible path with beautiful views. Visit the Carle at the Fields Trail page for more information on this great place to warmup for winter!

Week 4: Nov 29-Dec 5

November 29: Fly a Kite

Flying a kite is the perfect social distancing activity! You must maintain distance to successfully get your kite to soar. Let’s go fly a kite at our Top 5 Parks to Fly a Kite in Champaign.


November 30:  Play Tennis at an Outdoor Court

We’re preparing our outdoor tennis courts for winter weather beginning Wednesday, December 1! Visit our Outdoor Tennis Court Winter Schedule for more information.


December 1: Drink a warm beverage in your favorite park

December 2: Cruise the Indoor Walking Track at Leonhard Recreation Center

One of the primary features of the Leonhard Recreation Center is an indoor three-lane walking track (10-11 laps= 1 mile). Visit the Leonhard Recreation Center page for more information.


December 3: Visit the Decker Piano Garden

The CU Sunrise Rotary Club decided to memorialize Don Decker by combining his love of music and gardening to create this piano garden in Mattis Park.


December 4: Make some leaf art in the park

Use what leaves are still on the ground to create designs for others to enjoy!

December 5: Go on an Art in the Park Tour

We have created a virtual Art in the Park map! Use this map to find a new favorite sculpture or monument in Champaign!


Week 5: Dec 6-Dec 12

December 6: Activity Coming Soon!

December 7Activity Coming Soon!

December 8: Activity Coming Soon!

December 9: Activity Coming Soon!

December 10: Activity Coming Soon!


December 11: Activity Coming Soon!

December 12: Attend Holiday in Whoville

Week 6: Dec 13-Dec 19

December 13: Activity Coming Soon!

December 14Activity Coming Soon!

December 15: Activity Coming Soon!

December 16: Activity Coming Soon!

December 17: Activity Coming Soon!


December 18: Activity Coming Soon!

December 19: Activity Coming Soon!

Week 7: Dec 20-Dec 26

December 20: Activity Coming Soon!

December 21Activity Coming Soon!

December 22: Activity Coming Soon!

December 23: Activity Coming Soon!

December 24: Activity Coming Soon!


December 25: Activity Coming Soon!

December 26: Activity Coming Soon!

Week 8: Dec 27-Jan 2

December 27: Activity Coming Soon!

December 28Activity Coming Soon!

December 29: Activity Coming Soon!

December 30: Activity Coming Soon!

December 31: Activity Coming Soon!


January 1: Activity Coming Soon!

January 2: Activity Coming Soon!

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