Imagine you’re in beautiful Sweden: the sun is shining, it’s absolutely, beautifully, bitterly freezing cold and the children are…still outside, in the great outdoors, playing.
Yep, this is quite a usual occurrence in Sweden. Children are encouraged to play outdoors year round. As the saying goes, “there is no bad weather, just bad clothing”, and if we think about this in terms of children, the Swedes are definitely onto something.
Even the Royals are on board with outdoor play, whatever the weather. On a recent royal visit to Sweden, Prince William spoke about how much he admired the Swedish resolve to let their children play outdoors even when temperatures have dipped to the minus figures or it’s raining. Of course, we all know that the outdoor lifestyle is brilliant for us adults. But if you’ve got little ones, why not get them out and about year round, too?
Bundle up and Blow the Bugs Away
It’s natural to associate the winter months and rainy days with colds and flu-like bugs. But actually it’s being indoors in warm environments where bacteria thrives that tends to lead to catching the lurgy. So why not make sure your kids are wrapped up warm and guarded against chills, then get them outside to play?
A further health benefit is the vitamin D exposure that being outside gives you. Apart from the fact that vitamin D is crucial in aiding calcium absorption which is important for strong and healthy bones, scientists are also starting to make a connection between vitamin D and depression and anxiety.
With this in mind, getting out and about with your children in the winter or when the days are grey and dull may help alleviate childhood anxiety. It may well help you as an adult too if you suffer from SAD or other mental health conditions.
Work those Muscles!
Being out and about in the winter gives your muscles a different workout compared to what they go through during the summer. For example, jumping in muddy puddles, building a snowman or sledging all use different muscles to running or climbing a tree.
The physical exertion and large muscles needed to frolic in the snow is excellent exercise. And it might just tire the kids out for a nap later in the day. And that’s never a bad thing!
Get Mucky and Messy
The colder months are nature’s very own season of messy play, and we all know kids love a bit of that. So get outside, jump in puddles, scout for leaves, plant bulbs ready for spring and get muddy.
Naturally you’ll want to make sure you’re all kit-and-caboodled for the great outdoors. Providing you’re suitably dressed for the occasion, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy being outside year round. The kids will grow up healthier and happier for it, and you’ll get to do what you love too. Now what more could you ask for?