Playing outside in cold weather……….

As the colder months approach, we can be forgiven for opting to stay inside where it’s warm and cosy but the value of outdoor play and learning for early years doesn’t stop when the summer ends.

With so much benefit to be had from being outdoors in cold weather, it’s important to get outside and embrace it, especially for children and the change of season enables us as educators to empower children to be adventurous, explore, discover and be curious and what a lovely outdoor area we have to explore.

To some it might be cold, damp and grey but the outdoors in autumn and winter can be an inspiring place to play and learn. When children are wrapped up warm and having fun outdoors, they actually don’t notice the cold.

I think we probably all have childhood memories of parents or grandparents telling us we’ll catch a cold when we were outside with no coat on, and some families might be reluctant for their children to play outdoors in the colder autumn and winter months. 

A very common misconception is that exposure to cold and rain means children are likely to come down with coughs and colds.  It’s important to banish this myth as coughs and colds are viruses, unrelated to a child playing outdoors in the colder months.  In fact, the outdoors is a safer place to play, evidence suggests that it is the lack of fresh air that leads to these illnesses. Bacteria and viruses that are responsible for colds thrive in warm indoor environments.

Children need the freedom of the outdoors to run, play, jump, climb and let off steam whatever the weather. If children are well enough to be in nursery, they will be able to access outdoor play through the colder months.

As with everything, a level of common sense and safety has to be adhered to. We would not send children outside in adverse weather where their safety and wellbeing may be compromised.

Outdoor play in the autumn and winter is lots of fun but we must ensure children are fully prepared.  Wrapping up warm is essential and as a rule of thumb a child should always have 1 extra layer on than an adult when outdoors. Children should wear lots of thin layers as well as a warm coat, hat, scarf and gloves.  Wellies are also important if children will be playing in mud or wet areas, and we help and encourage children to dress appropriately for the weather.

Children should also come to nursery with lots of spares so they have something warm and dry to change into if they get wet.

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