Winter is coming and parents are wondering how they can get their children entertained without outdoor playtime, especially in a year where many families have quarantined indoors. In fact, 80 percent of parents have said their children prefer playing outdoors to indoors, even when it’s frigid outside. What if outdoor play was possible, even in the coldest parts of the world during the chilliest part of the year?
“So if you’re staring down the barrel of the impending winter with dread, visions of cabin-fever-induced meltdowns dancing in your head, fear not. Yes, your kids can play outside in foul weather. And what’s more, they’ll love it,” writes Elisabeth Kwak-Hefferan, a contributor for the New York Times.
Elizabeth recently consulted numerous winter sports & recreation experts on safely playing outdoors during the winter, and as advocates of play throughout the year, we wanted to share those tricks & tips with you.
Wear Appropriate Apparel
It may seem obvious to some, but a fundamental aspect of playing outside in the cold is proper winter attire. In addition to wearing multiple layers, parents should ensure their children cover their head, hands, and feet, with the feet being the most important.
That being said, it’s not enough to just wear some warm socks. Whether you use galoshes or fleece-lined boots, it’s crucial that you and your kids’ feet are waterproof. The experts consulted in the article also stated that mittens trap heat more effectively than regular gloves, so keep that in mind when buying protective gear for your hands.
Pack Suitable Snacks
Now that you and your children have the correct clothing for playing outdoors, what’s next? Snacks and drinks are integral to any fun outdoor excursion, but they can be particularly helpful during the winter. Hot drinks like tea and hot cocoa not only keep your kids hydrated, but it helps to keep them warm from within.
It’s pretty easy to transport hot liquids in the cold by using a thermos or other beverage container, but traveling with food in the freezing cold can present other difficulties. For this reason, experts recommend choosing snacks that are unlikely to freeze, such as fig bars, freeze-dried fruit, trail mix, fruit snacks, and even potato chips.
Some snacks to avoid would be fruit gummies and granola bars, which tend to harden like a brick in the cold. By keeping winter-appropriate snacks and beverages on hand, you can make sure your kids stay full of energy and nutrients.
Make Sure Your Community is Cold-Play Ready
Even if you’ve made sure your children are ready for outdoor play in the winter, the question still remains: how do you make it fun? We believe there’s no better way to keep your kids active and entertained than with a playground. If your community’s playground has outdated or even unsafe play pieces, it leaves families with very few options for fun, safe, outdoor play. We can help.
Whether your local park needs an updated traditional playground or some unconventional play areas, like a rope challenge course, zipline, or climbing wall, GameTime has you covered. We also offer products for children of all ages and abilities, like our ECHO products designed for younger children, as well as inclusive playground equipment like our merry-go-all.
If your playground is in need of renovation or updated equipment, you can contact your local GameTime representative to make sure your outdoor recreation spaces are ready for winter.