While many families take advantage of winter weather to engage in seasonal activities like sledding or building a snowman once or twice a year, they rarely get out to play regularly like they do during the summertime. Wet and cold environments generally aren’t a lot of fun for anyone, and kids, like anyone else, prefer to be warm and dry inside.
Staying active and specifically going to play and exercise outside, however, has significant cognitive and health benefits. To help keep your kids engaged and looking forward to their trips to the playground, then, parents need to find ways to deal with the deterrent effects of winter. Most of the time, this is a matter of preparation.
Warm Gloves and Boots
To make sure that your little ones are having fun, it’s important to make sure that they stay warm, particularly their hands and feet. Playing actively requires a lot of grasping. Swings on public swing sets often have cold metal chains or wet ropes to hold on to, and monkey bars and climbing equipment will inevitably be cold. Footballs, jump ropes, bats, and any other toy will be uncomfortable to hold for more than a few seconds on all but the warmest winter days. On top of that, there will be puddles, wet grass, and snow that will make poorly prepared little feet cold and uncomfortable very quickly.
Kids need waterproof boots that aren’t too tight along with warm socks to keep their feet cozy and well circulated. In regard to their hands, their gloves will almost inevitably get wet, even if they’re supposed to be waterproof. A good solution is to bring a spare set for them, or to supply them with wool mittens, which will still keep them warm even when wet.
Besides waterproof boots, kids also need waterproof pants and jackets. Swing seats, benches, and every other surface will likely be wet and uncomfortable to sit on, and your kids won’t want to stay at the playground very long with a wet, freezing bum. This is also generally important because it frees kids to play with less restraint. They can make snow angels, try to build an igloo, or engage in other traditionally wet and cold activities without fear of getting soaked.
After a day of activities out in the cold, nothing feels as nice as relaxing in a nice warm place with a hot beverage. Reward your kids by finishing cold outdoor activities with hot cider, cocoa, or whatever else they might like. A seasonal drink like cider is a good choice particularly because you can easily set it up as a special reward associated with winter play, to help build special positive memories as an incentive for the future.