Brr. It’s still cold outside! Should the kids stay in, or do we all wrap up and go outside?
Mike Evans helps to answer that question…
During these cold winter months it’s often easy to hole up inside in front of the TV, hidden from the outside world. For children though, it’s very important that even during these times they are still given the opportunity to stay active and play outside.
Time for children to run around in the fresh air is a very important part of a child’s development and offers a chance for them to learn about themselves whilst getting the exercise they need.
a very important part of a child’s development
As technology integrates itself more and more into our day to day lives children are increasingly picking up our bad habits. The message construed by the media often scaremongers us into thinking our children are addicted to technology, incapable of creating their own fun. There’s no point in denying that technology will continue to play an ever present role in our children’s lives. However, this doesn’t need to be perceived as a negative and there are many advantages to advances in technology. What’s important though is that our children understand the balance and still get their very necessary time outdoors.
our children are addicted to technology
Why playing outside is important
To begin with, it’s common knowledge that children need time to blow off steam and get some exercise. This helps them grow strong and stay healthy but it is also good for them mentally as it gives them an opportunity to explore and discover the outside world. It teaches them about their surroundings and is a chance to feed their imagination.
grow strong and stay healthy
Why children are playing outside less frequently
The current age we live in means we are very aware of the dangers that face our children when they play outside unsupervised. Not everybody is lucky enough to live in an area where they can allow their kids to play with their friends on their own and unfortunately this can be a limitation for a lot of children. To add to this, concerns about strangers can often lead us to be less willing to allow our children out and about until a later age.
we are very aware of the dangers
Allowing time for outdoor play
Many children will take part in organised sports or clubs where they have time to get ample exercise but it is equally important that they are given the chance to explore the natural world outside the confinements of organised fun.
It’s not just about getting the kids outdoors but giving them the opportunity to be imaginative, to run around on their own accord, to pretend to be a superhero or an astronaut, a monster or a princess. This differentiation has been defined as structured vs. unstructured play and its importance is explained in more detail here.
It’s not just about getting the kids outdoors but giving them the opportunity to be imaginative
Getting out and about
Whilst we cannot always allow our children to play outside unsupervised we can certainly give them the chance to run around at a safe distance. This may be a stomp through the woods on a Saturday morning or just a trip to the local playground after school.
The beauty of unstructured play is that it doesn’t require an activity or an entrance fee. All that is required is an open space and a little bit of creativity. Unstructured play offers the chance for children to initiate the fun themselves and this has been proven to result in kids being more active and having a healthier social life.
All that is required is an open space and a little bit of creativity
So, it may be cold, and the nights may be dark but finding time to get out with kids this winter is an important activity. It doesn’t cost a thing and you don’t need to organise anything. All that is required is you wrap up warm and go somewhere where they have the chance to run around and make their own games. If you are unsure, there are a variety of websites available which can tell you where the nearest parks and walks are and you’ll find that you enjoy getting out and about as much as the kids, maybe even more.
Be in the know!
Join thousands of other parents and receive our regular newsletter containing a round up of the latest articles, days out, campsites, and reviews for helping you get your family outside and active.