How to encourage (and prepare) your children to go outside and play!
Children need to be outside for the fresh air and the sunshine. Fresh air means clean air in their lungs – no stale indoor, germ laden air. Sunshine means Vitamin D which we all need to help aid in the absorption of calcium for our bones. But, children also need to be out in the rain - and the ice and the snow. How else can they experience puddles? What about catching rain drops or snowflakes on their tongue? What kind of childhood are we giving our children if they miss out on these simple pleasures? Do you ever walk outside after a rain and smell the air- it’s amazing! What about a crisp winter day? Children in Northern communities are outside all the time- in frigid temperatures- how do they do it?
It is said that a man is getting old when he walks around a puddle instead of through it. That when a puddle is seen as an obstacle - instead of an opportunity……well, that’s when we need to change our way of thinking. Do you know how much fun puddles are? Do you remember them from your own childhood?
As Early Childhood Educators we are fortunate to have the opportunity- no- make that the pleasure of playing with (and like, lol) the children in our care. We jump in puddles. We make mud pies. We have had MUD fights (which are SO MUCH FUN!) We also go sliding, make snow angels and climb trees. Even on cold, wet, rainy, snowy days. Yep. We do! And guess what happens? We get the same, bright eyes, rosy red cheeks, the look of pure happiness and exhilaration that we see on our children when they have a great day outside. Try it! You’ll be surprised. We are not suggesting heading out in a raging thunderstorm, but a light summer rain is fun. In winter, when it snows those big fluffly flakes and you become a human snow man- well, it’s magical!
“We don’t stop playing because we grow old, we grow old because we stop playing” ~ George Bernard Shaw
One of the reasons we do enjoy it so much, is that we know how to dress for the weather. Proper clothing makes all the difference between having a fun experience- or an unpleasant one. No one wants to be outside with cold hands and feet. BRRR! Wet socks in wet boots? Yuck. The right mittens, warm socks and clothing that keeps water out- it makes all the difference! Children will want to be outside!
After all -“There is no such thing as bad weather- just inappropriate clothing. Sir Ranulph Fiennes”
Please check out our resource for how to dress your child for outdoors