Great Ways To Fit In Outdoor Play During Winter

November 12, 2019

AD/Collaborative post with FATMOOSE, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Getting outside and getting active are both absolutely vital for childrenโ€™s mental and physical development. Adults know that the endorphin rush that hits us after a good workout or brisk walk can make all the difference to our mood; this rush works in exactly the same way for children. Every day, kids are faced with complex social issues, intricate emotions and the pressure to fit in and please society. Every day our children need to have some way to blow off steam, forget about the pressures of life and have permission to enjoy themselves. Thatโ€™s why outdoor play is so important.

However, as the seasons change and the nights get darker and the days get colder, heading outside to play can seem a little daunting. In our home, we are massive fans of getting outdoors as we know the benefits of fresh air and exercise can have on the whole familyโ€™s mental health. We always try to encourage as much outdoor play time as we can, even as winter sets in. 

If youโ€™re worried about fitting outdoor play into your family routine this winter, here are some great ways for you to still get outside, come rain or shine. 

Children and their dog running down a hill silhouetted against the sunset.
Outdoor play doesn’t have to stop when it gets dark!

Climbing Frames And Other Outdoor Play Equipment.

As it starts to get darker earlier in the evenings, it can be hard to fit in time to play outside. It therefore makes perfect sense to utilise any outdoor space that you own – especially if youโ€™re fortunate enough to have a decent sized garden. Decking out your garden with some good quality outdoor play equipment, such as a swing and slide set from the cool Scandinavian brand FATMOOSE is a brilliant way to ensure your children get some good quality outdoor play time without you needing to worry about the darker evenings as much. Decorating your amazing play equipment with solar powered fairy lights and really allowing your childrenโ€™s imaginations to run wild is a wonderful, safe way to ensure that they are able to blow off some steam during the winter months. 

Take Advantage Of โ€˜Badโ€™ Weather.

When it rains, they say that itโ€™s perfect weather for ducks. I think when it rains, itโ€™s also the perfect weather for muddy woodland walks and extra big puddle jumps. Us grown ups may be reluctant to step outside during a downpour, but I know that my children think that a spot of rain is nothing to be concerned about! As long as we are all wrapped up warm and have our wellies and waterproofs on, thereโ€™s no reason for us not to fit in a good session of outdoor play. Usually we find that when itโ€™s a bit soggy outside, we have our favourite places to ourselves. Luke and his little brother could spending hours running around our local Forestry Commision site and taking advantage of the huge wooden play park there, especially if they had it to themselves.

The wet weather also gives us the chance to calm down and talk about things that we donโ€™t usually notice. 

Itโ€™s nice to talk about what the children can see and hear that they wouldnโ€™t usually notice: the drops of rain landing in puddles or bouncing off leaves, squirrels digging around on the ground for the last of the seasonโ€™s food, birds singing in the trees. Itโ€™s basically practising mindfulness for children – being present in the moment and appreciating the world around you. 

Invent Outdoor Play Games And Challenges.

Each season we go through has something special about it. Something thatโ€™s unique to that time of year. In spring we see bluebells in the woods, lambs being born and colourful spring blossoms. Summer brings sunflowers, long days and nights and tasty food. Autumn gives us beautiful colours and smells, crispy leaves to jump in and blackberry picking. Winter is no different – it brings us snow (sometimes), pinecones and festive cheer. 

Creating games and goals based around the seasons helps us to get outside and make the most of them. Searching for and collecting items associated with the season is a great way to encourage outdoor play as well as teaching our children about the world around them. You could introduce scavenger hunts, collect pinecones for Christmas decorations or make pinecone bird feeders for your garden.

Setting challenges to complete is also a fantastic way to encourage the family to for outside play in. You could set a challenge to bike or scoot a certain distance/route after school every day to earn yourself a special prize or medal. I take part in virtual challenges monthly for running but there are plenty targeted at children for walking, biking, running and swimming. Your children could learn to work hard for their achievements and be rewarded with a nice bit of bling at the end of the month. 

Toddler wearing a puddle suit kneeling down to pick up a twig in the woods.
Outdoor play is all about letting go and exploring the world around you.
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โ€œMidnightโ€ Walks.

When I was younger, my dad used to take us on โ€œmidnight walksโ€. Looking back at it, I realise now that these walks definitely werenโ€™t taking place at midnight but it was definitely dark enough for us to head out locally with torches. It was a real thrill to be out, walking through the woods or local fields with a torch, all grouped together. Occasionally we used to turn our torches off and sneak around trying to scare each other. I think times have changed now and I would probably be worried about taking my children into the woods and for them to turn their lights off, but it was a fun activity that I absolutely loved as a kid. 

A modern day equivalent could be to go to the park after dark. With street lamps and grown ups around, itโ€™s still a safe place to play in the playground and a little game of chase with clear rules could be a fun way of incorporating outdoor play without getting too carried away.

These are just 4 ways that you can help incorporate outdoor play into your winter routine a bit more easily.

I know that itโ€™s hard when the weather is cold and wet and the evenings and mornings are always dark, but we still have to ensure that our children are getting what they need in order to help them process their stress properly. 

Do you have any great outdoor play tips for winter that you think should be included in this post? If so, let me know by leaving a comment, or you could tweet me at @gloryiscalling.

Children and their dog running down a hill silhouetted against the sunset. The words "Great Ways To Fit In Outdoor Play" are underneath the image in white text with a black background.

18 Comments

  • Sarupa Shah

    November 12, 2019 at 11:18 am

    I think when we live in a country where rain is such an all round feature we can’t let it stop us and you are right as the older I have got the less I want to go out or even out out in the rain – and I hear myself saying no it’s raining and think…c’mon…you’ve inspired me to get out and crunch a few more leaves under my feet!

  • Talya Stone

    November 12, 2019 at 1:52 pm

    Love the idea of a midnight walk that is so sweet – we do the same with a midnight drive but going to try out the walking version thanks for the tip!
    Talya Stone recently posted…Raising calm children: Helping them not inherit our stressy sensationsMy Profile

  • Natasha Mairs

    November 12, 2019 at 4:21 pm

    We love to go on family walks whatever the whether. We just make sure we are wrapped up warm and have our wellies on

  • Sarah Stockley

    November 12, 2019 at 5:36 pm

    We still love a woodland walk, it is getting harder to get the girls out with us now being 13 and 11 they kind of don’t always want to. Sometimes we take a flask of hot chocolate out with us which is a good incentive.

  • Sarah Bailey

    November 12, 2019 at 6:01 pm

    These sound like some great ways to get outdoors in the colder weather. I love the sound of a midnight walk – something different about taking a walk after dark.
    Sarah Bailey recently posted…Why Winter is the Perfect Time for a Spa DayMy Profile

  • Lyndsey O’Halloran

    November 12, 2019 at 9:28 pm

    We find it so hard to get out during winter. Not being able to drive really restricts what we can do and where we can go.
    Lyndsey O’Halloran recently posted…Christmas Thank You Cards In 10 MinutesMy Profile

  • This German Mama

    November 12, 2019 at 9:53 pm

    We love the great outdoors. We’ve got a dog as well so we really enjoy walks in the rain. It’s so much fun for our daughter.

  • Rebecca Smith

    November 12, 2019 at 10:01 pm

    These are such lovely ideas – especially the ‘midnight’ walk. We like to get out and about whatever the weather.
    Rebecca Smith recently posted…How To Get The Contemporary LookMy Profile

  • Tracey Kifford

    November 13, 2019 at 1:09 am

    Midnight walks are excellent fun! Need to wrap up warm tho

  • Sabina Green

    November 13, 2019 at 8:48 am

    I actually enjoy a good walk in the rain as long as I have my waterproof coats and wellies, I think getting out in all weathers is so good for the kids you have some lovely ideas.
    Sabina Green recently posted…10 Christmas Money Saving TipsMy Profile

  • Becky Wilkinson

    November 13, 2019 at 10:07 am

    As you know 3 out of 4 of the kids play football and 4 evenings and 1 day out of 7 we are out of the house at football! You wouldn’t believe how many drop out as soon as it gets dark and cold. I am so glad for football because I would become a bit of a hermit in the winter!
    Becky Wilkinson recently posted…12 Shared Gift Ideas Siblings Will Love!My Profile

  • Zoe

    November 13, 2019 at 10:32 am

    Outdoor play is vital for children, and bad weather shouldn’t stop that. I agree completely with everything here! We love nothing more than a good stomp in the rain!

  • Sarah | Boo Roo and Tigger Too

    November 13, 2019 at 11:27 am

    We bought head touches to use on winter walks, the children love lighting up the way as well as making shadow puppets

  • Anosa

    November 13, 2019 at 12:16 pm

    I have not gone on a mid-night walk for many years now, we definitely used to love that too. We also love playing in the rain so were never sad when it rains.
    Anosa recently posted…How to Combat Winter Blues | Tips & TricksMy Profile

  • WhatLauraLoves

    November 14, 2019 at 1:52 am

    I really like that we live in a country with all of the seasons! When it rains we tend to play board games as a family or go to the pictures but when we can go out we go for a walk xxx

  • Jenni

    November 15, 2019 at 12:17 am

    We try to get out regularly in Winter, but during the week it’s quite tough as it gets dark so early. Good idea to go for a walk with torches even though it’s still early, I hadn’t even thought of that.
    Jenni recently posted…Review: 3D Construction Fun with STEMS [AD]My Profile

  • Stephanie Merry

    November 15, 2019 at 9:20 am

    I’m a big fan of heading outside for some fresh air even in the winter, I know we got my niece and nephew some head torches and wellies so they’d enough splashing in the puddles and turning on the head torches to see better x

  • Jess Howliston

    November 15, 2019 at 11:20 am

    Great suggestions, my two little ones love nothing more than pulling on their welly boots and going outside in winter to jump in puddles and squelch in mud! Plus your right, playing outdoors in the dark seems like so much more fun! We brought out two a couple of head torches for evening walks during winter. It means we can always see where they are plus we don’t have to worry about them dropping or leaving behind a torch as its on their head lol!
    Jess Howliston recently posted…Christmas Gift Guide For kids Under 8.My Profile

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