Lately I’ve been hearing a message I really dislike: Keep your kids out of the winter weather. I’m not sure where the message is coming from, or why. Of course we have to make allowances for weather, but there is no need to keep kids indoors. Outdoor play is an important part of a child’s day – every day.
Almost a year ago to the day, I wrote here on the blog about Playing Whatever the Weather:
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. Winter play means wearing lots of layers. The days start chilly, but do warm up and beanies need to be replaced with sunhats. Winter play doesn’t mean 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. Summer play doesn’t mean 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 outdoors.
A year on, I am nodding along to my own words. My opinion hasn’t changed. I still think it’s important for kids to get outside, whatever the weather. Next week the school holidays start, and I know it will be a great opportunity for my two munchkins to play together outside. Here’s what a typical home day in the winter holidays looks like for us (with the morning routine relaxed because we’re not in a rush to get to school):
- 6:30 – 7:30 Breakfast
- 7:30 – 8:30 Get dressed, brush teeth, make beds, do morning jobs
- 8:30 – 9:30 Play inside (or help Mum with housework)
- 9:30 – 10:30 Morning tea and outside free play
- 10:30 – 12:00 Creative activity together, preferably outside (anything from painting to playing pirates!)
- 12:00 – 12:30 Lunch
- 12:30 – 1:30 Quiet Time in bedrooms (read or rest)
- 1:30 – 3:30 Outside free play or continuing activity and afternoon tea
- 3:30 – 4:00 Pack up sandpit, outside toys, creative mess
- 4:00 – 5:30 Play inside, TV on (while Mum gets dinner ready)
- 5:30 – 6:15 Dinner and bathtime
- 6:15 – 7:00 Stories and BED
It’s a pretty fluid schedule – times are just there to give you an idea. You can see though that the kids can easily have three or four hours outside during the warmest parts of the day. I know that some days they will have extra time outdoors, because they’ll be keen to get outside straight after breakfast despite the chill, or because they’re still hunting for dinosaur eggs at 4:30 and haven’t noticed the temperature dropping!
I don’t mind the tv going on in the late afternoons at all. I know that the kids have had lots of outside time, and they’ve usually had enough of each other by then. We’re all getting tired, crankiness creeps in, and I need to get dinner ready. And what do I put on? Dirtgirlworld of course!
Dirtgirl knows that winter is wonderful outside. She loves winter’s nourishing soups, rugging up in lovely warm clothing and gumboots, and making the most of the sun when it’s out – even if it’s just for a little bit. Me and Dirtgirl? We’re so on the same page. Even when my kids are watching tv, they are getting the message that outside is where the fun is at. Dirtgirl and Scrapboy give my kids ideas for tomorrow’s play, and encourage them to get their boots on and head outside all over again.
Thanks to my friend Dirtgirl (and the gang at Madman) I have five amazing prize packs to give away. Each one has the Winter DVD, as well as Dirtgirlworld’s Spring, Summer and Autumn DVD collections! To win all four seasons DVDs, just leave a comment below sharing what your kids like to do outside in WINTER.
Usual rules apply: Aussie residents only, one entry per person, winners drawn randomly, comp closes Sunday 26th June 6pm Qld time.
If you’re a fan, you might like to follow Dirtgirlworld on facebook and twitter, and check out all the cool stuff starting to happen on their blog too.