During winter it can be tempting to limit outdoor play to avoid the risk of children being stuck with nothing but wet clothes and shoes to wear until home time.
However with children in the UK spending on average less time outside that prison inmates, it’s having a detrimental effect on their development with more children suffering from eyesight problems as a result.
Here at Billy Bounce we firmly believe that outdoor play is essential to children’s happiness and well-being. As such, we’ve rounded up some easy tips and games to make outdoor play easier in winter.
How To Manage Outdoor Play In Winter.
- Look for guidance – If you are unsure how to get colleagues or parents to support outdoor play and learning in winter, look for guidance from the government. In July 2012 the Health And Safety Executive produced some guidance on risks and risk assessments. In essences, outdoor play should be encouraged, and whilst risks should be managed they should not be used to curtail outdoor activities.
- Give parents plenty of notice – During the colder months we would like to think most children will arrive at school or nursery in weather appropriate clothing. However as many parents are short on time, it is best to give them plenty of notice that children will still be enjoying the great outdoors and should bring coat, gloves and wear waterproof shoes.
- Plan Accordingly – If you are worried children will get cold, plan to include lots of active games to get children moving and warm up. This will also be great for the physical health in general!
Benefits Of Outdoor Play In Winter
- More Opportunities To Get Active – As it gets darker earlier in the evenings, children may not be getting as much exercise at home as they do in the summer months. By encouraging outdoor play during the day children have the opportunity and space to get active through the week.
- New Challenges – The change in environmental conditions can present new challenges for children that can aid their development. This can be simple things such as adapting how they behave to account for slippery or wet areas or considering how tightly to pack snow together to create a snowman.
- Healthy Bones & Eyes – Even on grey days children can benefit from the vitamin D available. The natural light can also help their eyes to develop and reduce this risk of short-sightedness.
Our Favourite Games For Outdoor Play In Winter.
- The Great Detective – If there has been snowfall in the area, ask the children to search for footsteps or animal tracks and guess who or what created them.
- Singing In The Rain – Get the umbrellas out and organise a recital of Gene Kelly’s ‘Singing In The Rain’
- Puddle Fun – Use water toys such as boats and ducks in puddles. If the puddle is large enough why not attempt a race?
- Create Rain Art – Use washable markers to create a picture then put it in the rain to see what happens. Ask children which colours they think will run/change the most.
But What If Your Play Area Is Just Unsuitable?
If you are worried your play are is simply unusable in the winter months or too muddy it may be worth investing in safety surfacing. Rubber flooring such as wet pour or resin bound rubber mulch are porous and non-slip meaning it is easier to encourage outdoor activities. If you would like to learn more, speak to a member of our team today!