3 Reasons To Head To The Playground This Winter
3 Reasons To Head To The Playground This Winter
The weather can be a real downer for those of us that love the outdoors and have kids that do too, but why let it affect your day-to-day? Playing outside in the cold and wet weather has loads of both physical and mental health benefits, so let’s explore:
- Is playing outdoors in winter healthy?
- Three physical and mental benefits of winter play
- Ways to keep warm and safe in the cold
Don’t let the weather disrupt your outdoor experience, get out and reap the benefits instead…
Is playing outdoors in winter healthy?
When the weather gets all cold and rainy and downright miserable, the urge to sit at home snuggled with your kids is strong. You may be worried about colds and illness or want to avoid the trial and tribulations of getting them all dressed up for the cold, but you could be missing out on some valuable health benefits of winter play.
There are loads of reasons why taking a trip to the playground in winter is good for you and your kids, so let’s explore some of them:
Three physical and mental benefits of winter play
When people think of the playground, they often only think of the physical benefits for their kids as they run around and exercise. But over the past year, we’ve all seen how getting out and about in fresh air can boost your mental health. So, here are three mental and physical benefits of winter play.
- Clean air and vitamin D
You might think that staying at home is the best way to avoid getting a cold or virus, but ventilation has a massive impact on how they and other pollutants spread. If you do stay home, crack a window for 10-15minutes a day to increase air circulation, but playing outside in the fresh air and wind means any germs are more likely to get blown away instantly. So, how about instead of an at-home playdate for your little one, you meet at the playground? Then they can run around together with less chance of them sharing any cold germs.
Playing outside will also expose them to any meagre winter sunshine. It may not seem like a big deal, but even winter sun exposure can help our bodies generate that all-important Vitamin D for healthier bones and improved immune systems.
- Challenging exercise
Running around the playground is great fun and good exercise in the summer, but add in the winter coats, boots and hats, and it all gets a bit more challenging and can wear out your kids that much faster.
Challenging kids is important when they’re in their younger years as it supports their physical and cognitive growth. When approaching a wet slide or climbing pole, they have to think differently and work on their problem-solving skills to find a different way up or down
- Reduced screen time
Winter does mean there are loads of festive holiday films on the TV, so your child’s screen time can be increased compared to usual. The issue with this is the extra ‘blue light’ exposure and irregular routine can result in poor sleep and behavioral issues.
Getting outside gives their eyes and minds a rest from the screens, so does playing in the garden or doing some analogue play like board games or arts and crafts.
These are just a handful of the benefits of heading to the playground in winter, we’ve not even mentioned how they’ll be quieter with fewer visitors, so your kids will have more access to the equipment. Or how it gives you a change of scenery and gives your children new things to see and learn.
Ways to keep warm and safe in the cold
The winter weather does present more challenging conditions, it’s true. So, there are additional health and safety issues to consider. Most playgrounds are built to be safe with hardwearing rubber grass mats and all-weather flooring, but there are ways you can keep your kids safer too.
- Wrap them up warm with hats, scarves and thick winter coats. Children generally need more layers than an adult, so always aim to give them at least one more layer than you have on.
- Choose grippy gloves with textured rubber or silicon shapes and dots on the fingers for safety when climbing.
- Put on waterproof boots with thick winter soles so they can jump in puddles and climb with reduced fear of slipping.
- Choose playgrounds with rubber mulch and safer flooring that’s less likely to generate ice.
- Take a vacuum flask filled with hot cocoa in case they need a warm pick-me-up mid-play.
- Take the car or go to a park nearby your home so you’re ready with a quick getaway if it gets too cold and wet.
- Take a change of clothes – on the off chance your child falls into a puddle and gets wet, taking a spare set of clothes for them to change into in the car or some public toilets nearby will help them feel more comfortable, and keep them warmer too.
The winter weather doesn’t mean playgrounds and outdoor exploration are a no-no, it just means you need to adapt and be prepared. So, don’t keep your kids inside where it’s warm and cozy just because, wrap them up warm and let them explore how the seasons can change the way they play. It will be cold, but it’ll benefit them both physically and mentally.
So, are you ready to head to the playground this winter?
Debbie is an experienced writer currently based in the UK working with clients like Online Playgrounds. Her main goal is to help others learn and develop through well-researched and informative content.