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Monday, January 13, 2020

10 Benefits of Playing Outside in the Winter for Kids

Photo by: Free-Photos (pixaby)

As the weather outside is frightful and the fire looks delightful, it can be so easy to get lost in the rut of the indoors. Rather than venturing outdoors into the cold, many choose to hunker down in their warm bunkers at home. But there are so many reasons why it's worth digging out your winter gear and enjoying the winter wonderland outside. Before you get out to enjoy the unique experiences of winter, it is important to make sure that you and your family have the proper gear: warm hats, water-proof gloves, snow pants, warm socks, boots, and full-coverage face masks are all important winter clothing items that should be worn when playing outdoors for an extended period of time. In addition to proper clothing, it is also important to practice proper winter safety, keeping a close eye on children and other adults for signs that it may be time to retire back to the fire. Intense shivering, stiff muscles, and shallow breathing are only a few signs of hypothermia to be aware of. 

Beating Seasonal Depression - Playing outside in the winter can help dispel winter blues in both children and adults. Being active and enjoying nature are key parts of this.

Winter Fun and Risk Management - Children learn to access and handle risks better as they encounter slippery surfaces, frozen water, etc.

Cold Weather Exercise - Winter play can be more physically challenging as children push through snow, carry around snow, etc. This helps build physical health and wellbeing. It's great exercise.

Building Emotional Resilience - It helps children develop emotional resilience as they make the most of every environment and every season. 

It boosts the immune system  - It is easy for many to fall back on the "you'll catch your death of cold" excuse for not playing outside in the cold but, in fact, getting out into the fresh air and vitamin D can help children strengthen our children's immune systems.

Unique Sensory Experiences - Playing out in the snow and ice offers the children a special opportunity to enjoy and manipulate their environment. Using touch and playing with snow, children can learn and explore in a way that is unique to winter. 

Breathing Fresh Air - Breathing cold, fresh air helps to invigorate and strengthen the body, especially the lungs. Exposing the body to cold air supports respiratory health. Free of seasonal allergens, it offers us the opportunity for allergy sufferers the chance to get out and breathe clean air into their system.

Stimulating the Imagination - The unique elements of winter offer children opportunities that can't be found in any other season. Whether it's building with snow or playing with water and ice, winter play can be a fun seasonal solution for kids cooped up indoors. 

Problem Solving Skills - Navigating deep snow and slippery surfaces present challenges in seasonal play. Challenging kids to come up with their own solutions to these problems can empower them to make decisions and exercise their problem-solving skills, both 

Built-in Environmental Learning Opportunities - Fun lessons about earth science and weather can be done outside during the colder months and offer hands-on opportunities to learn and play at the same time. 

Find more about the author: Kim Hart

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