Don’t Fear Outdoor Winter Play, Your Child will Thank You

We all know that our children need to play outside, but what happens in cold weather months? Do you still take your kids out to play?

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After almost a decade in warm climate the winter has become very difficult for me to face. I DON’T like to be cold. But since I know it is best for my children to be outside and get fresh air, I bundle us up and out the front door we go.

Recently we headed out for a brisk day walk near our house. As soon as we were on the trail, they found the tiniest bit of snow that have been left over from a recent snowfall. They preceded to  make a snowman then snow angels.

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At this point we’ve gone 10 feet. Unsure if I could pry the kids away from the snow and onto the walk, I tried to spark their imagination by asking a question. “What kind of bridge do you think that is?” I pointed to the bridge up ahead. My oldest said “I don’t know” and continue to do what she was doing my youngest said a “train track”. I suggested it was a troll’s bridge. Both kids seemed to take to this idea and began to create their own imaginative world.

Next to the bridge we found random apples and oranges, the kids decided that it was the troll’s snack. To call the troll to us we had to stomp our feet and chant “troll, troll, troll.” We pretended to see the troll as we called for him but decided he was very fast.

Children naturally want to stomp, scream and make as much noise as possible. It is good for their gross motor skills to jump, stomp, and run. If we just limit them to the indoors during the winter we are inhibiting their growth.

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Sometimes a child needs a little push to spark their creativity. I hesitated to take them out that day and I would have missed a fun adventure with my kids. I think I can brave a little cold for the memory this created. Even a week later my oldest mentioned having a great time on the walk with the trolls.

So I challenge you to put on a coat and brave the cold to see what adventure awaits your family. Please share your stories with us!

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Written by Jamie Jackson

Hudson Valley Family Hikes