I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the times we don’t let kids play outside. Most schools here in Australia have a wet weather policy, and children stay inside during rainy lunch times. At home I can, and do, let my kids play in the rain as you will know if you’ve read a few posts! In some areas schools also have hot weather policies. I remember when I was a child that if the temperature went over a certain point schools allowed kids to run through the sprinklers on the oval! Sadly this is no longer common practice, due to stricter rules in schools and water restrictions in some states.
This week though, it’s cold weather I’m thinking about. We are in mid-winter, and though skies are big and blue, the temperature does drop in the mornings and evenings. In the past I have kept the kids inside until the day warms up, then let them out to play. But lately I have been questioning myself – thanks mostly to reading blogs about early childhood programs in really cold parts of the world. (You have to jump over and read this post at Living in the Land of Chocolate, and you might also want to check out Active Kids Club.)
I don’t think we can expect children to tolerate extremes of temperature they are not accustomed to, but I do think they should be able to enjoy outside time in their home climate. For my kids, temperatures range from about 10 degrees celsius in winter, through to around 35 degrees in summer. When it rains it really rains, and we often get afternoon thunderstorms in summer. Winter play means wearing lots of layers. The days start chilly, but do warm up and beanies need to be replaced with sunhats. What it doesn’t mean is staying inside with the heater on. Summer play means sunscreen, hats and sun-safe clothing. It also means drinking plenty of water, and playing out of the sun during the hottest times. What it doesn’t mean is staying inside with the airconditioning on! Ok, yes there are days when I use the heater in winter, and the air con in summer – but we don’t stay trapped inside and I always find the kids have more fun outside.
So this morning, I’m blogging outside while my kids play and the three of us are rugged up in beanies, skivvies, jumpers and boots. There’s hardly a cloud in the enormous blue sky and I am reminded that in some parts of the world this is summer! Time to put the kettle on, make us all a nice warm drink to wrap our cold fingers around, and enjoy it under the trees together.