As the temperatures get colder, play time outside is often limited, increasing the likelihood of screen time indoors. However, its important that outdoor activities are a part of your family’s schedule regardless of the season. Why? Outdoor play boosts the immune system while allowing your child to breathe fresh air and avoid cold-causing bacteria. Engaging in nature is also important for your child’s development, as outdoor play promotes happiness, creativity, language skills, exercise and physical development! Some parents might be concerned that the cold is too dangerous to play in or may not have ideas of how to get outside. However, with proper preparation and these 5 ideas below, you and your family can enjoy the cold winter season outside!
- Hit the Slopes! Winter sports like snowboarding and skiing are a great way for kids to get outside and be more active. In fact, snow sports use different muscle groups than those utilized daily life. You don’t need to ski or snowboard to feel the excitement of downhill sports. Sledding is the perfect opportunity to play outside in the snow. Need ideas of where to go? There are plenty of places within Central Oregon.
2. Use the snow as a base and play Tic Tac Toe! Instead of using a pen or marker to create the X’s and O’s, use natural objects like pinecones and sticks. Create a grid in the snow and start playing! Hunting for the natural objects is a great way to get kids moving outside and more aware of their surroundings. If your kids enjoy searching for the objects, instill even more wonder and curiosity by doing a scavenger hunt nature walk when you’re done. Create your own that requires your child to use their senses, or use the one provided here!
3. Increase your child’s curiosity for the natural world by studying the snow. Catch snowflakes on black construction paper and use a magnifying glass to get a good look. The activity is fun, and allows your child to see the outdoors from a new lens (literally!). Have your child investigate and compare the different snowflakes. Children will likely be in awe of the different shapes and sizes.
4. Create different snow art masterpieces! Build a snowman or simply lie down and make a snow angel. You can even use the snow as
your canvas and create snow art using natural objects like rocks and sticks.
5. Light up the night sky and create a homemade snow lantern. Kids will get some exercise and get to use their creative skills while building the snowball pyramid.
What You’ll Need:
- Snow and Snowballs
- Tealights (battery operated are suggested for safety reasons)
- Hot Cocoa
How it Works:
Start by making as many snowballs as you like. Next, form a ring and begin building your snowballs up. As you build up, remember to leave a gap so you can place the tealight in the lantern once its finished. Keep going until you’ve built a snowball pyramid. Finish by placing the tea light in the gap.
Now, sit back with a warm cup of cocoa and look at the stars.
Its important to remember to be prepared when playing outside in the cold winter months. Dressing appropriately for winter activities enables you and your child to play outside for longer and will make the activity overall more enjoyable. Consider brining snacks and water if you will be outside for long periods of time. If you’re traveling, don’t forget to check the road conditions and ensure than your vehicle is equipped for the weather. Finally, be ready to have some fun!