Wednesday 23 January 2019

5 Ways to Play Outdoors in Winter

As the days get colder and the daylight hours shorter, it becomes more and more tempting to stay indoors but this is the time when my children need to be outdoors more than ever.  The crisp fresh air helps wear them out and the change in season gives them something new to explore and discover.  I strongly believe that there is no such thing as the wrong weather, there is just the wrong clothing so the best place to start is with your winter gear.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

Either waterproof trousers and a waterproof jacket or an all in one is vital, along with good quality boots, a hat, scarf and gloves.  We also have ski trousers and jackets for when it gets really cold.  Merino wool makes a great base layer and you can get great value products from places like Mountain Warerhouse or invest in great quality like Reima.  Fleece is an ideal mid-layer and combining it all means no matter how cold or wet it may be, no adventure is off limits.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

Here are some of our favourite ways to play outdoors over the Autumn and Winter

Outdoor Playgroups / Forest Schools

In some Scandinavian countries, children attend outdoor schools all year round and they build resilience as well as developing knowledge of the world.  Most areas have local outdoor playgroups or forest schools for preschoolers and we love visiting one nearby to us where the little ones can explore in a safe environment.  With mud kitchens, wooden climbing frames, mud pits for digging and all sorts it brings the games and toys most children are familiar with into a different environment.

Searching for Gruffalos in the Woods

It doesn't have to be a Gruffalo, you could play stick men, or go on a bear hunt instead. Bringing story books to life is becoming more popular with story sacks but it is even more exciting outdoors and the cold weather often helps with the stories.  Wet grass is swooshy, wet mud is squishy and everywhere is quieter in the Autumn and Winter too.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

Scooting through Puddles

Stomping through muddles is a well known rainy day activity but have you ever tried scooting through them? Make sure everyone is in waterproof trousers and find the best puddles. There is a great one in our local park that fills up as soon as it starts raining and the children love racing through it watching the water spray out to the sides. 

Collecting Craft Materials

Skip the glitter (I think most parents are more than happy to do that) and use nature as your craft materials.  Take out a bucket or basket and collect fallen leaves, twigs, pine cones and anything else that doesn't impact the environment by removing it and use if for painting, crafting and making Christmas tree decorations or spring garlands.

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

Don't Rule out the Summer Favourites

The beach is certainly not just for summer.  We love building stone towers, throwing rocks into the sea and walking along the built up sand barriers.  We love how quiet it is as the children can explore further from me alone and it still feels safe.

Scavenger Hunt

In the spring we love to do a colour based scavenger hunt and this works just as well in the winter.  Write lists for older kids and draw pictures for younger ones and send them out with baskets to collect their treasures.  Not only does it get them moving outdoors but it is a great way to explore the changing environment and the new colours each season brings to the natural world

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

I would love to hear your tips for getting kids outdoors in winter

5 ways to play outside in winter, outdoor play,

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