In the UK we have a tendency to batten down the hatches and hibernate for Winter as soon as we have that first frosty morning. A single snow flake can see Brits fighting each other for that last loaf of bread in the supermarket, and making sure they’ve enough supplies to last the Winter.
Of course I jest a little here, but the number of times I hear people saying they won’t go out in the snow and they hate the Winter is always quite staggering to me.
I love the Winter months. I love snow and frost and wrapping up in cold weather. I love going for frosty walks or getting the children to try out a funky swing and slide set.
Children who play outdoors are healthier
The trouble is that if grown ups hibernate during Winter, that tells children that they should do the same. How many times have you heard adults tell children that they need to come inside before they catch a cold?
The opposite is of course true. As long as children are wrapped up for the weather then being outside is actually healthier than being indoors. During Winter when the heating comes on, the Winter germs like to hide indoors. So actually, being outside in the cold crisp air is much healthier for your little darlings than being tucked up inside playing a video game or watching television.
Children who are regularly exposed to the dirt, germs and bugs found in nature outdoors are much less likely to develop allergies and also autoimmune diseases.
Vital Vitamin D can be absorbed whilst playing outdoors in Winter. We associate this with being outdoors in the summer, however, even winter weather offers an opportunity to absorb Vitamin D from the sun. Vitamin D regulates moods and provides higher energy levels and improved memory. Although you can supplement it, natural sources are better.
Outdoor play in Winter is a sensory experience
Outdoor play in Winter brings with it an entire sensory experience for children. The cold of the frost and snow, the feel of that on their faces, or the sound and feel of it crunching beneath their feet is not something that can be experienced during the warmer months.
Imagine denying children these experiences, when there is so much to learn. Splashing and jumping in muddy puddles, crunching of the leaves left over from Autumn, watching the cold of their breath puff out of their mouths like smoke – their are so many things to experience through outdoor play in Winter.
Outdoor play in Winter brings a number of physical benefits
It is often recommended that children have around 60 minutes exercise per day. Outdoor play is an ideal way to achieve this. By running around, jumping, leaping, climbing, swinging or even chasing each other, children are remaining active. Playing on equipment like that made by FATMOOSE can be hugely beneficial. FATMOOSE make stunning wooden play frames which will challenge children physically and stimulate them mentally as they try to figure out how to climb, swing and jump.
This not only keeps them healthy, but also promotes the continued development of their gross motor skills. You often find that children who remain active and have time outdoors also sleep better.
Their climbing frames come in all sorts of shapes and sizes depending on the age of your child, size of your outdoor space and how many children you have. I love the climbing frames with the built in sandpits, and also the Clever Climber – these kinds of climbing frames are great for little monkeys and any child who loves ball games.
Lead by example
You can’t expect children to spend time outside in Winter if the adults in their lives don’t model that behaviour. So – wrap up warm and get outside with them. Play a game together, push them on the swing, go for a frosty family walk, but don’t miss out on the fun that Winter can bring!
This is a collaborative article.