Playing Whatever the Weather

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.

22 thoughts on “Playing Whatever the Weather

  1. It was minus 2 when I dropped Miss 4 at pre-school this morning, a winterwonderland of frost. We are enjoying rugging up and exploring the backyard to see what ‘Jackfrost’ has done overnight. We discovered the pond in her saucer garden was frozen over! we wondered if the fairies when ice skating!!!

  2. Hi Catherine,
    Thanks for telling your readers about us. Our motto is after “No bad weather, only bad clothing”
    Interesting enough I actually find hot weather harder then the cold. Like you said you just have to dress for it.
    BTW I have to say I’m impressed by Australians ability to play outside when you have a lot of dangerous bugs. I take a snowstorm anytime.
    .-= Kari ´s last blog ..Fairy houses blog contest =-.

  3. we played outside in the rain today! my daughter loved it way more than what i thought she would! we were soaked by the time we came in!

  4. I wish I could play outside in cold weather sometimes. I grew up in Canberra, but now live in the tropics.
    I have to say I agree with Kari, being the burnable kind I find hot weather harder and won’t take my kids outside between 11 and 3.

  5. We love layering up to play in the cool, crisp outdoor beauty that is a South East Queensland Winter. Luckily for me my children have inherited my love of scarves, coats and hats and we take great delight on colder mornings in dressing to go out – even if it is just to the front yard. Inside feels like a haven too when you come in (even if it was feeling decidedly chilly before you went out!).
    .-= Claudette´s last blog ..An Epiphany and some Good Timing =-.

  6. Hot chocolate with marshmellows always makes the cold outdoors so much better (and theres always the fun of a mid day hot bubble bath if it is really too cold)

  7. Great post Catherine. We too are great believers in getting children outside in the natural elements. Providing children with layers of clothing means they can strip down or rug up as they feel the need … and trust your child they WILL know if they are hot or cold!
    Donna :) :)
    .-= Sherry and Donna´s last blog ..more still life – in oil pastels =-.

  8. I have an issue with the clothes – my kids don’t wear them! I always wonder whether to let them go and trust they will put something on, or if they genuinely don’t realise they will feel better with a jumper. I know they won’t get sick from it, it’s about the enjoyment factor.
    .-= Deb´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Feeding Lambs =-.

  9. Outside play time is an absolute necessity at our house. The only days we don’t go out are when it’s absolutely pouring rain for the 3rd day in a row or so and Mom’s done with changing clothes on little bodies for the day. Some days like this I’ll let the kids go out in their jammies (with a raincoat of course) if I know I’m going to wash those jammies anyway…saves one clothing change. Feels strange, but it works for us!
    .-= KDL´s last blog ..Sunday Digest 19 =-.

  10. Something to bear in mind once we have a garden, although it is usual wind that sends us indoors over temperature. Princess and I were discussing spending more time outside when the sunny days come back, but perhaps we will think about the not so sunny days too :)
    .-= amandab´s last blog ..We Play – In The Kitchen =-.

  11. I tend to stay out of extremes of weather, and my children ( one grown up now) do the same. But I do like a run/walk/ramble in the hills on chilly days, if it is not raining.

    Your post has given me food for thought

  12. My 13yr old thinks 10 degrees C is hot!

    His first few years of life were in a tiny Highland village “Achnasheen” which is Gaelic for “Field of Storms”. The weather there was severe but we always tried to get outside daily.

    Interestingly as a teacher, I rarely had a wet break there – but sometimes the midgies were so bad that we couldn’t go outside!!!
    .-= Juliet´s last blog ..A Blog Wordle =-.

  13. I’ll never forget visiting a child care centre in Norway – the four year olds pulled on their winter woolies and wellies and trapsed outside for their daily walk into the nearby forest, even though it was FREEZING cold and drizzling. The babies slept in cots in a room that was kind of outside – opening in the walls let fresh air in. Just amazing. Whenever I think “it’s too cold to play” I think of Norway and remind myself to think differently.
    .-= Kylie @ The Rockgarden´s last blog ..Donna Hay- I love you =-.

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