Kids are probably much more motivated to head out into the cold and play, but the way the weather has been here in Toronto, it's definitely a lot easier to bundle up inside. Although more effort is required to get your kids ready and out the door, it is important that they get out for outdoor play-even in the cold.
Many studies have shown that outdoor play plays an important role in child development. One such study by the University of Missouri-Kansas shows that outdoor play can have a large impact on brain development. Studies have shown that not only through the baby and toddler years, but in school aged children, outdoor play contributes to motor functions, independent and group play, as well as essential abilities for complex physical activities such as control, timing and sequencing. School aged children that experience the recommended and above amounts of outdoor play have show an improvement in academic productivity and performance.
With adults and children being encouraged to lead more sedentary lifestyles, it's important that we fill in "the gap" and offer opportunities for children to play, learn and grow outside.
If you aren't sure what to be doing instead of the conventional snowman building and tobogganing, here is a list of great activities you can do that require very little or no preparation and will make even the shortest jaunts out into the cold worthwhile.
1) Blow bubbles outside and catch them on the bubble wand. If it's cold enough, (and it certainly has been) they will freeze like a crystal ball and then shatter!
2) Catch snowflakes on dark colored construction paper. Using a magnifying glass, get a good look at them to see how different they all really are.
3) Build snow forts for fairies. (We suggest fairies, trolls or other tiny creatures as they are smaller and easier to create) If you feel really ambitious, make a child sized snow fort.
4) Get out the sand toys and use them in the snow.
5) Fill squirt bottles with water colored with food coloring. It's non-toxic and will add some color to the world of white and grays.
6) Using an ice cube tray, freeze food colored water into ice cubes then hide them throughout the yard for a fun scavenger hunt.
7) Super easy - Draw a circle in the snow using your colored spray bottle and then have a snowball toss.
8) Using a piece of cardboard, paint/draw a bulls-eye on it and attach it outside for a great game of bulls-eye!
Just remember to dress warm and most of all have fun!
The Importance of Outdoor Play and It's Impact on Brain Development