Outdoor play is as important during winter as it is during the other seasons. The outdoors provide sufficient space for kids to exercise their whole body by jumping, running, rolling around, e.t.c. These activities improve their physical health as well as helping them discover and develop their skills.
Keeping children indoors creates a dependency on electronics, disassociates them from nature and people giving them poor social skills. Children also develop poor health, a low immune system and chronic conditions due to lack of exercise.
But winter games are challenging and pose different risks, engaging kids to play in this environment encourages them to be creative, identify risks and develop problem-solving skills. Yet overcoming these challenges develops self confidence too. Here are 6 ways to ensure play time is safe during winter:
Before engaging your children in an outdoor game during the winter, dress them warmly but comfortable. Too many layers of clothes can make them stiff, making play time hard or cause excessive sweating which makes them colder after play.
- Use clothes warm in the inside and waterproof on the outside.
- Use water proof boots which are spacious enough for the kid to put on an extra pair of socks.
- Neck warmers are preferable to scarfs as they will not easily fall off.
Ensure you safely fasten all drawstrings on clothes to avoid them from catching on to play equipment. Use a hat that is fitting, not too tight and doesn’t fall off or cover the eyes but covers the ears to prevent frostbite. With warm clothing, the kids can then step outside for a play during the winter rather than sit around in the house.
2. A winter’s drive
Taking your kids on their ride on cars is a great way to embrace and enjoy winter. This will give your kids a chance to explore while keeping them safe and warm. Before, taking your ride ensure your car is in good condition and (if electric) that the batteries are full or close to full. You can use winter wipers which have a rubber covering preventing ice from collecting on it too. While driving, maintain a slow speed, and make sure you’re not too far away just in case there’s any skidding.
Kids can make observations of the climate, do counts or drive to a site and set up a camp fire.
3. Encourage safe activities
Building a snowman is a brilliant winter activity. It’s safe as the kids can do it close to the house where there is no great risk and allows you to keep watch as they play. While competing to see who builds the best model, throwing snow to each other is sometimes unavoidable. Improvise shields for your kids to keep them from getting snow on their face and catching a cold.
Enrol in training to learn to operate play equipment for winter e.g. a snowmobile, for your safety and that of your kids. This will give you a great opportunity to embrace winter with a fun activity together with your kid (s). You can also engage an instructor. However, do not ride with children under six years.
5. Use safety
When engaging in games like, skiing, snow-boarding or skating, buy safety accessories e.g. helmet to prevent head injury, comfortable and well-fitting skates to avoid sprains, twists or a break, wrist guards to reduce the risk of wrist injuries and goggles to protect the eyes from objects like tree branches. Always inspect the accessories and play equipment before using them to ensure they are in good condition.
6. Enlighten your kids
Make sure your kids know the meaning of all danger signs on the terrain they will play at e.g. while skating ensure they obey the red and yellow signs. Yellow meaning skate with caution while red means no skating. Ensure they do not put on their earphones so they can be alert.