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Outdoor play is a must in the winter

November 25th, 2019

The benefits of outdoor play for children are significant in any season, with a scientifically proven link between outdoor activities and healthy brain development.

A National Trust survey in 2018 found that kids aged 10 to 16 spend fewer than 15 minutes engaged in “vigorous outdoor activity” each day and this reduced significantly in the winter. Today’s parents and kids often think twice before heading outside into wintry weather. It can be cold, stormy, wet, icy and occasionally snowy outside! Some parents and carers worry about kids getting cold, or getting hurt. But playing outside in the winter can have significant health benefits and breaks the cycle of the dreaded screen time.

playing outside in winter

The big myth!

Most adults associate winter with getting colds and illnesses such as the flu. Playing outside in colder weather doesn’t make children sick –  the opposite is true. Kids that play outside in the winter stay healthier throughout the winter months.  Doctors suggest that this is because winter germs like to stay indoors so getting outside prevents kids from being exposed to germs that thrive in warm environments.  Add to this the benefits of playing outside on children’s Vitamin D levels which are essential for good bone health and healthy immune systems.

A recent Canadian report shows that being active outdoors in nature helps children manage stress, improve moods and reduce anxiety. Along with positive health outcomes,  the report concluded that children who spend time outdoors are more likely to develop a lifelong love and appreciation for all thing nature.

So do we need to start seeing winter play through a new lens?  Luckily the answer is right outside our front doors. Just warm coats, hats and gloves are needed!


Educational Play Environments design play areas for all seasons. If you would like advice on helping children reap the rewards of outdoor play whatever the weather, please get in touch.

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