Encourage children to play outside during winter

Don’t let the cold stop the fun!

  At Sovereign, we are strong believers in encouraging children to play outside, whatever the weather! For us, there is nothing better than wrapping up in warm jumpers, knitted hats and cosy scarves, before putting on our winter boots and heading outdoors! Embracing this time of year and braving the elements will not only provide a variety of active learning opportunities for young children but will be lots of fun for the whole family too!

  The changes in temperature will bring changes to the environment that can help children develop key skills as they explore the world around them. Gross motor skills like balance and coordination can be refined as they learn to remain stable on a slippery surface or move efficiently with the added resistance of snow. This also helps to develop their problem-solving skills as they learn to navigate the new terrain as they play.

  Going outside in cold or wet weather can be a great way of teaching young children about nature. With different seasons come different plants and wildlife, which they will find fascinating! Show them how the lush green leaves that were on the trees in the summer have fallen during autumn and left the trees bare in winter, to help them comprehend seasons. Ask them what wildlife they can see in the cold weather and if there are any animals they notice are missing from the warmer seasons, the perfect way to teach them about hibernation.

  Spending time outside throughout the year is also good for the whole family’s health and wellbeing! We all know that we get vitamin D from the sun during the summer, but it is also important to get it throughout the year, even if we can’t see the sun in the sky! Vitamin D helps to regulate our moods and increase levels of serotonin in people of all ages, which plays an important role in keeping us all happy!

So what can you do?

  We have compiled a list of our favourite outdoor winter activities, to inspire you and your family to get outdoors this festive season and create some memories that you can cherish!

Winter woodland walk

  This is one of the most popular suggestions in our office as it’s easy, free and you can walk the dog at the same time! Ask the children to investigate how the winter weather has changed the woodland. Do they see anything different? Can they find anything they wouldn’t usually be able to? This is perfect for helping young children with understanding the world around them. Pack a flask of hot chocolate before you leave and you can have your own winter picnic if you find a cosy place to sit.

Go on a scavenger hunt

  Before you set off on your winter walk, create a list of various items for the children to take and cross off as they discover each one! We love a nature theme at Sovereign Early Years like pine cones, sticks, rocks and leaves that children can easily pick up and take with them. You can even continue the fun at home and ask the children to create their own scavenger hunt masterpiece out of the items they have collected!

Build a snowman!

  If you are lucky enough to get snow where you live then there is nothing better than building a snowman! This is an activity that the whole family will enjoy but for young children, it offers a unique opportunity to develop their fine motor skills as they join in the fun!

Make snow art

  Freshly fallen snow provides a perfect white canvas that we can’t wait to get our hands (and feet) on! There are countless possibilities for creative activities in the snow, but our favourite has to be snow angels! If you are looking for something different to try with your little ones, food colouring art is becoming increasingly popular and is a great, mess-free activity to allow children to explore their creative sides!

Have a snowball throwing contest!

  Some of our favourite childhood memories involve snowballs! There is nothing better for a child than making balls from soft snow and seeing how far you can throw them! Why not have a competition and see who can throw it the furthest? If you want to try something different to get the children thinking, why don’t you turn it into an experiment and see what changes if you throw snowballs that are different sizes or shapes!

  These are just a few of the ideas we have had in the office and we have loved writing this article to inspire you to take the whole family outside! We would love to hear how you get on with your own outdoor winter adventure or if you have your own ideas for getting children to spend more time outside in the colder weather!