Not everywhere has winter weather for snow fun, but everywhere will be having weather. Playing outside supports the healthy development of both bodies and brains, and kindergarten readiness. There are countless funny stories about getting kids dressed to go outside and play in the winter time only to have them need to go to the bathroom, or discover that the missing mitten is deep inside the leg of a snowsuit, etc. but it’s worth the effort.
During the preschool years, children’s bodies are growing and developing, inside and outside. Vigorous physical activity promotes the development of strong muscles and skeletons. Kids are learning how their muscles and body parts all connect and coordinate as they run, jump, and climb. Sometimes challenging themselves, kids are learning to balance safety and risk.
There is a great deal of sensory stimulation. The ground not only looks different, it might sound different too. Hands (and tongues) need to be careful that they don’t stick to cold metal when touching things outside.
Besides the benefits physically and mentally, outside play also has social and emotional ones. When playing outside, kids are more likely to make up their own games, even when they are on their own. With others, there’s lots of communicating and interacting. Imaginations sometimes get as much exercise as bodies. Extra energy and tension can be released outside and somehow noise doesn’t sound nearly as loud as it does inside.
At this time of year, some kids are able to play in the snow. For areas without snow, neighborhood playgrounds and parks might be an option. If available and appropriate, hockey sticks can be used with pucks or are just as much fun with balls. Can you fit in some winter outside play time for your child, for fun and learning?