Many well-meaning parents keep their children indoors during the winter to protect them from the cold. However, outdoor play during the colder months provides invaluable opportunities for child development. Here are a few ways the great outdoors can supplement child care programs.
How Outdoor Play in the Winter Benefits Young Children
1. It’s Good for Their Health
It’s a misconception that cold air causes illness. The flu and common cold are caused by viruses, which spread through contact with germs. This means a child is more likely to get sick while staying in a poorly ventilated area. Outdoor play allows children to breathe in fresh air which gets them further away from germs and bacteria indoors. This fresh air also helps children to develop strong autoimmune systems to help fight off viruses that can be passed around in the wintertime.
In addition, physical activity is a crucial part of early child development, especially when it comes to honing motor skills. Running, playing, and sledding help children build their muscles and prevent obesity. Children are still growing during the cold months so it is important to make sure they are able to stretch and play as they would any other month to help continue the development of their muscles.
2. It Teaches Them About the Seasons
Young children learn through their senses. It’s valuable for toddlers to see foliage and flowers become brown and die naturally. They can then make observations about the environment, and teachers can use nature to explain the cycles of plant life, wildlife, and the weather in ways they understand.
3. They Learn Important Life Skills
By encountering snow, fog, cold exteriors, and other elements, children also learn to problem-solve and identify potential dangers, such as slippery surfaces. By overcoming the challenges they experience under the attentive supervision of their teachers, they begin to build self-confidence and resilience while also working on their communication skills.
Northwest Children’s Center provides structured activities so young children can learn outdoors and in the classroom. They offer learning programs for infants, toddlers, and preschool-aged children. Their after school programs also encourage learning and child development in fun and engaging ways. Call (860) 635-3485 to register your child today, or visit them online to learn more about their offerings.