How to encourage outdoor play regardless of the weather?
As I was walking in the park the other day with Charlie (see photo), my beloved pooch, I was excited to hear the happy sound of a couple of little kids jumping and frolicking in a puddle created after a night of heavy rain. T shirts and shorts, sun hats, sunscreen and water bottles close, in this warm balmy day these kids were having the time of their lives.
On the same night I got video from my sister in the UK where her grandson was running though a snow covered playground with the look of pure glee on his face. Rugged up in snuggly looking snow gear including gloves and pompom hat there was no doubt as to how much joy he was feeling.
Two extreme examples of the how the weather only enhanced the experience these kids had.
The benefits of playing outside are such an important part of a child’s development, both mentally and physically, helping them to connect to and understand their senses. This results in stimulating brain development, creative thinking and gross motor skills.
Another massive benefit is better quality sleep.
A healthy child’s immune system will actually protect them from picking up any bugs, such as colds etc. as long as they are appropriately dressed for the weather they are out in.
5 simple ideas to stimulate and encourage kids to play outdoors
- take the music outside, singing, dancing, playing instruments, this is great for building confidence and self expression
- go on a nature walk, look for plants and animals, head down to a waterfall and have a swim or if its wet put the welly boots on and find some puddles, enjoy exploring natures backyard
- lie and roll on the grass, catch snow flakes, make snowballs, taste raindrops with an open mouth
- story time outside, make the story about the surroundings, talk about the sky, the clouds, the colours, the shapes – engage their creative minds
- play some games, hide and seek is always a favourite, make a snowman, play chasing games by the sea
Although some of these activities do require parental involvement some of them just require some basic setting up.
After a little forethought as to what clothing they need to wear to keep them safe and protected let them experience the weather in all its forms