It's Cold Outside...!
One of the most frequent questions I get asked when I tell people I am an Outdoor Educator is: “But what do you do in the winter?” With a smile, I reply: “We go outside of course!” Whilst many of us may feel a sense of trepidation when we see frost on our windows in the early morning, I always feel better after a day outside in Pollok Park whatever the weather! In this blog entry, I will explore how outdoor play in cold temperatures can be beneficial for Early Years Children and their development.
Dr Dan Flanders is a paediatric doctor based in Toronto who founded the company Kindercare Paediatrics. Flanders is a strong advocate of Early Years children participating in outdoor play, even in very cold conditions. Flanders argues that the predominant reason for children being kept inside during winter months results from an adult anxiety that letting children play outdoors in low temperatures could have an adverse effect on their health (catching a cold, contracting hypothermia etc.) However, Flanders argues, “If you dress your kids correctly there really isn’t much risk.” At Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten, if it is a cold day, we always ensure children are wearing thermals, waterproof trousers, hats, gloves and welly socks. On top of this, we make sure our staff bags are well stocked with emergency hand and foot warmers! Dr Flanders claims that the benefits of preschool children playing outside in cold weather outweigh the risks. Some of the benefits he cites include increased exposure to Vitamin D. increased opportunities for physical play, enhanced, and varied experiences of the outside world.
In 2015, Rachelle Gaynor published an article for Accuweather entitled Four Crucial Reasons that Playing Outdoors in the Winter Benefits Children. Within the article Gaynor illustrates how winter outdoor play can provide unique learning opportunities that are not readily available at other times of year. For example, when children play by packing and moulding snow, they can learn valuable lessons relating to volume, density and the relationship between solids and liquids. At Woodland Outdoor Kindergarten we love a snow day, especially when there is a chance to go sledging down the hill beside the Burrell Collection in Pollok Park!
That is all for this week! Please get in contact with me if there are any topics you would like to see Blog entries on in the future!
Links and Further Reading:
/www.pentagonplay.co.uk/news-and-info/4-reasons-children-play-outside-cold-weather- Really Good Webiste!!