Winter is coming and I’m dreading it! I end up being stuck inside in the cold weather with all of the kids and we go nuts. I run out of ideas and end up buying more things to keep us all sane! What can I do with them?
I hear you! Winter is tough for a lot of us. Daylight feels minimal, weather can be harsh, and schedules can get busy. These are stresses felt by adults and children alike! I’m sure you are looking for a bunch of fun, indoor activities to keep you and your children busy on those cold winter days. I’m going to suggest, however, that you rethink the notion that you are “stuck inside” and get outside to play!
The benefits of outdoor play are plentiful, but often we think of these benefits as being present only in nice weather. The advantage for children of getting outside to play does not disappear in the winter! In fact, they might even increase! Cold and flu season is often associated with the cold weather, but rather unfairly. It is not exposure to the cold that necessarily brings on the illness. It is, rather increased exposure to bacteria and viruses that live indoors. Getting outside to get fresh air will cut exposure to these germs. It will also increase vitamin D levels with exposure to sunlight. Playing outdoors in the winter also fights childhood obesity, and improves physical development as children use large muscles to run and play. In addition to all of these physical benefits, children are able to freely explore and play outside which is a huge emotional gain for them. They are also learning about the world around them and problem solving as the environment presents challenges. In short, outside is the place to be!
SO how can you safely let your children outside? Bundle up! Stop investing in video games or indoor activities that get boring after a time. If you are going to spend, let it be on outdoor gear! Boots, snow pants, warm socks, coats, hats and mittens will provide endless opportunities for play! Allow your children to explore on their own, or gear up yourself and go play!
Below are some wonderful resources on ideas for outdoor play in the winter