The benefits of outdoor play for children are well-documented.And when it’s warm and sunny, and bare feet are par for the course, it’s easy to get the kids outdoors and active.
But what about in winter?When it’s cold, windy and damp?
That’s much harder.
But never fear.We’ve got a whole host of ideas for getting your kids out and about when it’s cold (many of these are adapted from the GENIUSES at Natureplay.org. Head over to their website for even more ideas).
And don't forget winter sun-safety. You can read more about what you need to do to keep your kids safe from winter UV damage here.
1. Cooking over an open fire.
Summer’s often too hot for fires, so take advantage of the cooler weather, and get a fire cranking!Get the kids to help you whip up some damper, wrap strips around a stick, and then bake it over the fire.And of course, finish off with some sweet, gooey, toasted marshmallows. They’ll love helping you hunt for sticks and leaves to get the fire going.
2. Here, birdy birdy birdy.
Make a simple bird feeder out of a pine cone, toilet paper roll, or empty milk container (instructions here), put it in a tree, and then try to identify the birds that come to visit.Older kids might like to draw and label the different species that they see.
3. Gutter boats
When it’s raining, rather than switching on the television yet again, put on your gumboots, and a raincoat, and have leaf and bark boat races down the gutter!
4. Beach combing
The beach is still a fun place to visit in winter, especially after wild weather when all sorts of treasures have washed up on the shore!Try a scavenger hunt with this list from the Tasmanian Department of Health and Human Services .(because if anyone knows how to do winter well, it’s the Tasmanians!)
5. Leaf print wrapping paper.
Collect some fallen leaves, paint them, and then press onto paper to make leaf prints.Once it’s dried, you can store the leaf-print paper and use it as wrapping paper for birthdays and Christmas.
6. Fun with fungi
Winter is the best season to spot different types of moss, fungi and lichen, which are popping up everywhere!You can do some research with your kids on different types of fungi common in your area to help them put a name to what they find.NRM’s Fungi ID chart will get you started.And this website has a whole host of pictures to help your children identify fungi, mosses and lichens in the Canberra region
7. Let’s go fly a kite!
Windy weather is the ultimate kite-flying weather.Check out some simple kite-building instructions online, and build your own.Older kids will get a kick out of trying out different designs, and comparing their results.Smaller kids can help you fold some paper aeroplanes, and see how far the different designs fly.
8. Mud play
What kid doesn’t love getting grubby!Try out some of these ideas for mud play with your kids!
Mud track for toy cars
Mud body art
Make sure you check out our awesome Crywold rainwear and gumboots to keep little feet and body warm and dry, so you don't have to worry about them as they have fun muddy time play!