Winter has arrived for the land down under and, depending on which part of the country you reside, chances are it’s getting pretty chilly.
When we think of winter it’s common to think of snuggling up with the heater on and staying nice and warm. While the temptation to stay indoors can be strong, there are plenty of reasons to keep exploring nature even when the temperature drops.
No matter the weather, playing outside has many benefits for children’s development and wellbeing. Reduced stress levels and increased happiness are just a couple of the proven benefits that getting out and about in the fresh air has to offer us.
Move your body: Of course you can get moving indoors, but there is so much more space to move outside. Running around outdoors burns more energy and gives a sense of freedom that can be restricted in indoor spaces. The opportunity to get a good amount of physical movement into the day means children are also likely to benefit from better sleep quality.
Explore and learn in nature: Every season brings new things to explore and learn from in nature. While spring shows us flowers in bloom and autumn’s falling leaves wow us with colours, winter has its own magic too. Look as leaves and flowers collect water after it has rained. Talk about evergreen trees and compare them to the bare branches of deciduous trees. Discuss where animals live in the winter and where they might take shelter.
Boost your immunity: While many of us are perhaps guilty of worrying about getting a cold from the cold weather itself, it’s just not true especially when we dress appropriately for the weather. Colds are actually caused by a contagious viral infection and you’re more likely to catch one in winter due to increased time spent indoors! In fact, spending time outside in winter can actually boost your immune system, thanks to the effects of vitamin D and the antimicrobial nature of fresh air.
It’s worth noting that here in Australia, it doesn’t really get that cold anyway. In many areas of the world where freezing cold winters are the norm, such as in Scandinavia or Canada, early childhood settings continue to ensure children get to play outdoors at any opportunity. Why? Because they recognise these amazing benefits of playing outside!
So, get your winter woollies on and keep having fun in the great outdoors, rain, hail or shine! We would love to hear your ideas for getting outside in winter – visit our Bonkers Beat Facebook page to see how much fun you can have!
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