It’s natural to motivate your children to play outside during the warmer parts of the year. With the sun shining, spring and summer seem like ideal times to play outside. When the colder months arrive, you may become more skeptical of encouraging your little ones to venture outdoors, but you don’t need to be! Playing outside during the colder months of fall and winter actually offer several health benefits for children. Benefits include:
1. Avoiding Indoor Germs
While it is infeasible to completely protect children from all illnesses brought about from germs, allowing children to play outside during these months can actually reduce the risk of them coming down with a cold or the flu. Germs can spread indoors, and with the warm air inside, germs could spread faster. When this happens, your children have a higher chance of being exposed. Furthermore, playing outside during the winter months can improve children’s immune systems and make them more resistant to allergies.
2. Various Opportunities to Exercise
One of the best ways for children to utilize pent up energy and remain healthy is through active play, even in a winter wonderland. Walking in the snow strengthens larger muscles and helps gross motor development. Playing outside will also contribute to a healthy sleep cycle. Sledding down a snowy hill, building a snowman or having snowball fights are some merry activities that could lead to a better night’s sleep.
3. Exploring the Imagination
With snow on the ground and frost in the air, winter can present new challenges for your children to thoughtfully conquer. Popular play equipment, like swing sets and slides, may be frozen over or covered in snow, and because of this, children have to put their imaginations to the test and discover alternative ways to play. Let their (safe) ideas flow!
4. Vital Vitamin D
Vitamin D is a crucial vitamin for general health and promotes calcium absorption and inhibits bones from becoming too brittle. Exposure to the sun is a primary source of vitamin D for children and keeping them inside all winter long can have adverse effects on their mood. Vitamin D is directly linked with your brain’s serotonin level (the brain’s “happy” chemical), and low levels of vitamin D can result in moodiness, tiring quickly, on-edge nerves, and even depression. In other words, the more sunlight your child gets, the happier they will be!
At The Gardner School, we value playtime and its ability to help our childcare students grow. The Gardner School offers indoor and/or covered play areas for children when it gets too cold to play outside. Our schools of Nashville, Brentwood, Franklin, Louisville, Dublin, Naperville, Glenview-Northbrook, Oak Brook, Bucktown and Herndon locations have a great indoor play area for our students. So even if there is a blizzard outside, we can continue to keep minds focused and engaged. Learn more about play time and our play areas at thegardnerschool.com.