It may be cold outside, but that’s not stopping the children at Villa di Maria from running, playing, climbing, jumping, swinging, digging, balancing, chasing, and burning some energy! We shared why kids need recess here; now let’s talk about why it’s important in any weather. Below, 5 reasons to get your children outside even when it’s cold!
It is true that the winter months are the times when we see the most illness. It’s flu season, it’s cold season, everyone’s noses are dripping and little mouths are coughing. But unless your child is very ill, it is still important for him to get outside and running around even in the cold weather. The CDC said, “It strengthens the immune system by allowing your child to escape from indoor germs and bacteria and helps form a resistance to allergies.” When children spend prolonged time indoors where the windows cannot be open for circulation (such as during the winter months), germs pass easily from one person to another. The more time you spend indoors, the more exposure you have to germs recirculating in the air. So despite common belief that your child will “catch a cold” out in the cold, it’s really the other way around; the fresh clean air is good for him!
Playing outside in the winter months, even just for half an hour, can help boost Vitamin D levels, which in turn increases the amount of serotonin in the brain, and together these things can help boost a person’s mood. Even a little bit of sunshine can help with that!
Another reason to get your children outside during the cold months is for socialization! There is a kind of play that happens outdoors that is different from the kind that happens inside. Children are more creative, imaginative, and active outdoors, especially when their friends are available to join them!
Of course, the obvious reason to get outside even when the weather is cold is for the exercise! It’s important to remember that children are still growing during this time, and benefit greatly from moving their muscles and getting their hearts pumping. According to the California Childcare Health Program, playing outdoors in the winter “gives children an opportunity for a change of environment, a balance in play and routine, and large muscle activities (gross-motor development).”
And finally, a good reason to get outside during the cold months of the year is for the connection to nature and the observations that cannot be made at other times of the year. The child above fell onto the wood chips, then happened to look down and discover some frost that had formed on one of the larger wood chips. He looked at the ice crystals for some time, clearly happy and interested in what he had discovered, before shouting for his friends to come see it for themselves.
As Villa does, just bring your tissues with you!
And parents, don’t forget to send your children to school with warm coats, hats, gloves, boots, scarves, and even snow pants for the winter weather. Also, Villa encourages your children to bring sleds and other snow-related fun things to share with their friends on extra snowy days! So over winter break, be sure to get outside and play!
We’ll have some great new blog posts up for you after holiday break. Happy New Year!