Permit me to have a little moan.
It’s becoming a commonly accepted idea that outdoor play is hugely beneficial for children in so many different ways. With the growth of forest schools and nature based learning; one of my favourite quotes is always “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing.” (Of course, I’m not suggesting you take the children outside in flash floods or hurricane winds but you get the idea!)
Despite this, while scrolling through my twitter feed, I keep coming across tweets and blogs with messages along the lines of “Now that the weather’s turning cold, here are some indoor activities.” Now don’t get me wrong here; there’s nothing wrong with indoor learning and play, but I can’t help but feel that the theme of these posts is that children should completely avoid the ‘cold’ and stay wrapped up warm inside.
If the children are kept indoors during the Autumn and Winter months, then they are missing out of so much fantastic learning; from the increasing knowledge of the way that nature changes through the seasons, to the wonder and magic of sparkling frost on a spiderweb. Among other things, getting outside also allows children to burn off that excess energy which prevents them from being able to settle and focus on other activities.
And so, here is my plea:
By all means, post your lovely learning ideas (indoors or out) but please don’t spread the message that cold weather means that children should be kept inside!
Let’s allow all of our children to embrace the outdoors, whatever the weather! Remember, lead by example here – if the children see you being enthusiastic and leading the fun, they will likely follow.
Here are my Autumn/Winter outdoor play tips:
- Wrap up warm – This means children AND adults! Jumpers, coats, waterproof suits, wellies, gloves, scarfs and hats are all necessary for the colder months. I find it’s always a good idea to have spares as some children at nursery inevitably forget their coat…
- Promote physical/energetic play – If it is cold, a good run around is the best way to warm up! Why not play some sports or get out the bikes – any physical activity will keep away the cold!
- Short bursts – if the weather is particularly cold/wet/brutal, take the children out in short bursts. This means that they can still benefit from outdoor time but do not get too uncomfortable.
- Have a change of clothes – if you’re outside in the wet weather, ensure that the children have a warm, dry set of clothes to change into when they come indoors. There’s nothing worse than squelching in wet socks!
Can you think of any more? Please comment or tweet to me @EarlyYearsIdeas
Have a great week everyone and please – spend some quality time outdoors!