Winter can be a tough time to get kids out of the house to play. Cold temperatures, snowy and rainy weather, and short days limit the kinds of activities you can engage in, and make it more difficult to find the time to go outside in the first place. It’s much easier to just be a couch potato indoors, and enjoy the winter weather through a window.
It’s important, however, to make time for outdoor play all year-round. The exercise and exposure to sunlight don’t just help to maintain your kids’ health, but also improve their mood and make it easier to concentrate in school. Getting kids to go outside and play all winter long (and enjoy it!) is a challenge well worth the effort for any parent. Here are a few ways to help encourage your little ones to keep spending time outdoors all year-round.
Get Appropriate Play Equipment
Your kids won’t get a lot of use out of a trampoline, soccer balls, or tree house during the winter months. To love playing outside in the winter, your backyard needs to be designed to be enjoyed during winter. Toys that are ideal for winter weather include specifically winter-oriented equipment like sleds, snowball makers, snow scooters, but you don’t have to reinvent the wheel entirely. While a cold and wet sandbox is unlikely to offer much entertainment, a swing set or a frisbee is fun to use at any time of year, including in winter.
Wear the Right Attire
Winter weather might seem like a deterrent, but if your kids are appropriately dressed for it, it’s just another fun play environment. Who doesn’t like jumping into a puddle, rolling around in a pile of leaves, or playing in the snow? Any parent knows to make sure kids are bundled up in a nice warm jacket, hat, and scarf, but it’s important to also make sure that kids stay comfortable as they play. Waterproof boots ensure that jumping into puddles doesn’t come at a soggy price, and warm gloves will keep small fingers warm whether they’re gripping a swing or a snowball.
Do Your Prep Work
Playing can only be fun (especially for parents!) when it’s also safe. This is tougher to ensure in winter, because leaves and snow tend to obscure potential hazards underneath. To make sure that nobody accidentally trips over concealed debris, toys, or gardening equipment, you’ll need to do some preparatory work. Clear away any fallen branches, rocks, toys, and other equipment before in Autumn, and always check the yard immediately after your kids play there during the winter, so nothing is concealed by fresh snowfall.
Make time for family play
Your kids’ friends might not be as keen to play outside in the cold weather, and play is likely to be confined to your own property more than it would be during the summer months. That makes it an excellent time to bond with your kids by encouraging family play activities. Build a snowman or an igloo together, or just push a swing for your toddler. After all, parents need to get outside as much as kids do!