Oh Winter! So stark yet so beautiful. Whilst it might be easier to sit inside cuddled on the couch because, let’s be honest, coats, scarves, wellies and hats are all a bit of a palaver, the fact is that children need to play outside, even when it is cold.
Outdoor play encourages the use of the whole body by offering a safe space to run, jump, and exercise key muscle groups that are essential for physical development. Being outside encourages curiosity and imagination. After hours and hours of engaging with children, Maria Montessori observed: “The best way of invigorating a child is to immerse him in nature” – it’s good for the mind, soul and body.
So, grab a coffee and a scarf! Here’s a bucket list of activities that might help you and your family get excited about spending time outdoors this winter, whether in your garden, neighbourhood or the park nearby:
- Scrubbing wellies – this might seem inane when the wellies are likely to get dirty in five minutes but children will love this. Give them some space outside, a brush, water and perhaps some mild soap and let them clean to their heart’s content.
- Scraping ice from the window pane (or your car in the morning!).
- Winter-themed nature walk. Simply walk around observing and collecting interesting twigs, leaves and seeds, taking a moment to think about why (if) they are unique to the season.
- Decorate an outdoor edible tree for the animals. This sounds bananas but is great fun! Wilderchild.com has a host of great suggestions including Peanut Butter Pinecones, Birdseed Orange Feeders (hollow out oranges and place birdseed inside), Dehydrated Fruit and Popcorn & Cranberry Garlands. Organise some string, pick a tree and drape it with fruit and treasures – and if you have some time, find a hiding spot and see if any animals take up the offering.
- Drawing outdoors. You might need to do some hectic finger exercise before you’re able to pick up a crayon mid-winter but why not take some paper and drawing utensils outside and draw a beautiful winter’s day.
- If it snows – well, there are endless possibilities: snowmen, snowy obstacle courses, snowy ice creams, painting on the snow, snow volcanoes, drawing in the snow with a stick, snowball fights, snow angels and everything else you can possibly think of!
Be sure to end your outing with a warm hot chocolate and snuggly family cuddle. Any of these could become fun family traditions in the winter season.
Photo Credit: Photo by Jelleke Vanooteghem on Unsplash