Why Kids Should Play Outdoors in Winter

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow! Kids and snow were always the best friends in the world. If you let them, they would spend the whole day outside. But parents, sometimes, worry about the low temperatures and try to convince the kids to stay inside because “it’s too cold to play outside”.

Did you know that winter time is an essential benefit for your kid health? We will explain exactly why a winter walk has such great outcome for your kids’ health, as is shown by recent studies.

Better than gym training

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, children should get 60 minutes of exercise everyday, and exercising during the winter can be even more beneficial. Larger muscles are able to get more use when children have to walk through snow, and this helps with gross-motor development, according to the CDCP. Limiting outdoor exercise until the end of winter can stunt growth of muscles which can lead to a variety of health issues. Increased exercise will help promote a better sleep cycle and can lead to children growing stronger and maintaining a healthy body weight. Some fun physical activities for children during the winter include going sledding, helping to shovel snow or building a snow fort or snowman.

Essential vitamin D boost

According to the National Institute of Health's Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), Vitamin D promotes calcium absorption, prevents rickets in children and prevents bones from becoming too thin or brittle. When we stay indoors during the winter, we are not only missing out on play, but also on necessary vitamins that the outdoor environment gives us. Children get vitamin D through sun exposure, and absorb it even though the sun is not as warm in the winter. Vitamin D helps regulate mental and emotional moods, doing so by increasing serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin plays an important role in regulating mood and keeping us happy. So, the more exposure you have to the sun, the higher your serotonin levels will be. It is recommended that you get at least half an hour of playtime outdoors in the winter.

Stimulate the imagination

Making snow creatures is brilliant fun for children (not to mention adults!). It allows them to express themselves in play, creatively and freely, without being bound by pre-set limitations. The children’s creativity and imagination were unlimited as they worked and shaped the snow. And they were delighted to see their hard work transform the snow into their very own character. Winter presents a whole variety of new challenges for children to overcome, both physically and cognitively.

Toys and equipment, such as swing sets, that were once readily available may now be frozen or covered in snow. This forces children to use their imaginations to find alternatives or figure out a way to access their favorite toys.

Bacteria love inside

It is impossible to shield children completely from all viruses or bacteria that can make them ill, especially in the winter when they are more prevalent. However, allowing children to come into contact with some of these pests and bacteria in a natural way can actually make them less likely to develop autoimmune disorders and allergies, according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC). Fresh air strengthens the immune system and allows children to escape the recycled indoor air that may be filled with germs and bacteria.

How cold is too cold?

As a rule of thumb, you should use the wind-chill as the best judge on if it's too cold to play outside. In general, when the wind-chill is 32 degrees and above, it's safe to be outside. In temperatures 13 degrees to 31 degrees, indoor breaks should happen every 20-30 minutes.

For babies, extreme cold starts to become a factor when the temperature drops below freezing (32 degrees Fahrenheit). You can still go outside, but it should not be for very long. Once temperatures start to drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, it's best to stay inside with the baby.