Why winter shouldn’t mean a break from risky play

February 19, 2019 | | View Comments

“[Risky] play involves freedom of choice, personal enjoyment, and a focus on the activity itself rather than its outcomes. It is a time when we learn to collaborate, problem-solve, use our imaginations, and develop resilience and empathy.” – Design and Play: Imagination needs places to thrive

In the winter, risky play is no longer as easy as going to the nearest playground and letting your imagination run wild. After months of staying indoors, kids dream of being outside in the summer sun. But who’s to say that outdoor play can’t (and shouldn’t) happen in the chillier months? The world has naturally designed a brand new playscape for children to interact with. Here are 5 reasons why kids benefit from outdoor play when winter comes along.

Want to learn more about amazing playscape initiatives across the globe? Check out our book “Design and Play: Imagination Needs Places to Thrive

  1. It’s a brand new world to explore

If you’re lucky enough to live in a place where snowfall is a winter staple, then this season offers a new world for children to engage with. With new problems to solve and a new landscape to explore, your kids will benefit from exciting learning experiences they can’t get at any other time of the year. It’s time to let their imagination run wild.

2. Winter provides unique opportunities to be active

In addition to a brand new perspective, the winter comes with its own set of activities. Snow and ice can give kids increased strength and coordination since they’re much trickier to navigate. Plus, new winter sports like sledding or skiing give kids an opportunity to learn more skills.

3. Cut down on screen time

More indoor time = more screen time. With screens becoming a huge part of our lives, disconnecting in the winter is even more important. Having your kid explore the outdoors will give them a necessary break from screens and give their imagination more space to flourish.

4. Avoid seasonal sickness

While the common concern is that the cold will lead to a cold, research shows that most winter illnesses actually come from being indoors. Bacteria and viruses are more common as indoor air is recycled and heated. So, let your kids have a breath of fresh air; their immune system will thank you.

5. Much needed Vitamin D exposure

With so many layers on, getting much-needed sunlight can be more difficult during the winter months. Letting your kids play outside for an extended period of time can guarantee that they get enough Vitamin D. This has been shown to improve kids’ overall mood. Just be sure to apply the SPF, too!

To learn more about risky play, check out our book “Design and Play: Imagination Needs Places to Thrive

Resources:

https://www.fix.com/blog/keep-kids-playing-outdoors-in-winter/

https://www.med.upenn.edu/antibiotics/newsletters/2017_5.1_January.pdf

https://www.backwoodsmama.com/2018/12/5-reasons-kids-should-play-outside-in-the-winter.html