Reasons to play outdoors in winter

Judging by the number of people sniffing and coughing around me, autumn is upon us and the children are back at school… time for the winter bugs to start going round and round in schools, workplaces and homes.

Despite this and the fact that the weather is getting colder (hands up who’s put their heating on already this year?), there are lots of reasons to keep spending time outdoors – and particularly to spend time playing outdoors.

Judging by the number of people sniffing and coughing around me, autumn is upon us and the children are back at school… time for the winter bugs to start going round and round in schools, workplaces and homes.

Despite this and the fact that the weather is getting colder (hands up who’s put their heating on already this year?), there are lots of reasons to keep spending time outdoors – and particularly to spend time playing outdoors.

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1. The number one reason is that spending time outdoors is actually good for us is that spending time outdoors in the sunshine can help to boost vitamin D levels. Vitamin D is necessary for calcium absorption and this is vital for children’s growing bones.

2. Exercise – the best way to stay warm outdoors is to move and we all need to move as much as possible to support our health in a multitude of ways. A bracing walk, a game of tag or a race from puddle to puddle can all contribute.

3. For children, being cooped up indoors can restrict their use of energy – and not getting enough exercise can affect sleep and appetite for all of us.

4. Lack of exercise can also affect mood – and running around outside can help to put a smile on our faces.

5. Warm, stuffy rooms are breeding grounds for viruses and bacteria - they do not come from the cold weather as many believe and running around in the outdoors can help to shake them off.

6. Loads of fun – stomping through crisp fallen leaves, getting muddy, jumping in puddles, collecting conkers, getting soaked in the rain, sledging (if we are lucky enough to have snow) – there are endless ways to get creative.

7. Getting away from technology – laughing, shouting, running, jumping and doing anything that doesn’t involve looking at a screen.

8. Understanding the natural world – this is vital in a world where technology is paramount from a very early age – exploring and learning about the outdoors is fun at any age.

9. Exposure to dirt, bacteria, animals and insects can help to support the immune system.

10. To come back inside to a mug of warming soup or hot chocolate.

Remember to:

  • Wear lots of layers – so you can take them on and off as required.
  • Wear appropriate shoes and outerwear – gloves, hats, scarves, waterproofs, wellies, thick socks.
  • Keep moving – and keep an eye on children to make sure they don’t get too cold or wet.
Children winter edit

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