Become a winter play enthusiast

I think we can all pretty much agree it’s easy to get outside with our kindergarten students when it’s 18 degrees, blue skies and sunny. Everyone loves a beautiful day spent outside! But the truth is the value of outdoor learning remains the same year-round… regardless of the temperature or the colour of the skies.

And while bundling up in wet snow pants and covering your face with a scarf so tightly that your best friend wouldn’t even recognize you isn’t something I especially look forward to, I do have tips to transform from a grumpy snowman to become a winter play enthusiast!

Need a refresher (or need to remind your parents why playing outside in the winter still happens even when its -10)? Here are a few of my go-to talking points:  

>> Outdoor learning gives us an appreciation for ALL seasons and develops our resilience for when conditions aren’t picture perfect

>> We need space to move, jump, run, yell and explore all our gross motor skills

>> We can breathe more deeply and energize our bodies when we are outside

>> Taking a break from our learning space helps us focus and turn our minds on when we return

>> Developing our curiosity for the natural world is an important part of our development as global citizens and scientists

I know it’s easier said than done when the sky is grey, the winds are howling and a big part of you wants to just stay inside and extend playtime.

Top Tips to Become a Winter Play Enthusiast:

>>> Dress warmly (obviously). You’d be surprised HOW much of a difference it makes when you yourself are appropriately dressed for the outdoors. Kindergarten is not a fashion show. Put on your thickest socks, warmest boots, snow pants, sweater, scarf, coat- everything. This models to our littles that we need to protect our bodies and will help you actually enjoy being outside. 

>>> Spice up your play area. Do you have access to the field at your school? The side lawn? Play in new areas to help keep everyone moving and exploring. You might even find some areas have better shelter from the wind!

>>> Have some “go-to” ideas for your friends who will approach you and say they are cold. Bring some magnifying glasses, scavenger hunt cards or toy animals outside with you for impromptu activities. Often “I am cold” really means “I am bored”. 

>>> Speaking of being cold! Remind your families you’ll be going outside. Remind them again. Ask for too small mittens and hats to be sent in as extras for other students if they have any lying around and use the lost and found to add extra layers to your students who aren’t prepared for the weather if need be.

Want to hear more about how to become a winter play enthusiast?

Listen to this episode of Kindergarten Kept Simple and let’s keep the conversation going!

One last tool to make this easy peasy lemon squeezy

Alright. You in? Feeling ready to go and play in the snow? Well, I have 15 winter play ideas for you! Stay warm, engaged and inspired with this set of Winter Play Ideas that will have you suiting up and heading outside with your class faster than you can say “pass the hot chocolate”.

This resource contains 15 play ideas that require minimal supplies and little to no planning. Simply pick the idea you want for the day and away you go. No more wondering “what are we going to do today” before your outdoor learning block or dreading another day standing around in the cold of your yard.

Your littles are sure to love these Winter Play Ideas. Click here to grab it and let’s get outside!!

Love this episode? You’ll also love:

Getting Admin on board with Outdoor Learning
Outdoor Learning Made Easy: How To Create

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Kindergarten specialist turned curriculum writer. Mom, wannabe baker and lover of early 2000s Disney Channel (hello, Lizzie McGuire and HSM). Enthusiast of ponytails, pancakes and helping Canadian kindergarten teachers stress less by simplifying their planning and re-igniting their love of play-based learning. Here to help you take back your weekends and love teaching on week days.

Or, send me an email at mariah@aplayfulpurpose.com