As the days are getting shorter, darker and colder many of us unconsciously go into hibernation mode. We mistakenly believe that staying inside is best for our families. But for children, outside play is essential to their health and wellbeing regardless of the weather. Ensuring they get the opportunity to play outside every single day is something we actively endorse through our YMCA Children’s Programs centres.
We believe that there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes!
Here’s some reasons why we think you should you embrace the weather – even if it’s cold and wet!
1. A little ray of sunshine – Get a dose of Vitamin D
Vitamin D is crucial for helping your child’s bones grow strong. Children get most of their Vitamin D from the sun which is easy during the warmer months but from May to August this can be more of a challenge. Experts recommend that children need 20 minutes of sun a day during the cold seasons. Ensuring they have plenty of outdoor play every day is one way to make sure they are getting their essential dose of Vitamin D.
2. Feel good – Staying fit and healthy
Like adults, physical activity is something that needs to be maintained. A regular routine of outdoor play promotes healthy growth and wellbeing in your child. If kids stop being active simply due to the weather this can have a negative impact on their health. According to The Department of Health, children aged from 0 to 5 years need to be physically active at least three hours per day (spread across the day) and children aged 5 to 12 years should accumulate at least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity every day.
Worried about your kids catching a cold? As long as they’re properly rugged up experts say that playing outside in the cold can actually improve their immune system. An age-old myth that colds are caught from the weather is far from the truth.
3. Dream big! – Boosting creativity and imagination
As well as creating healthy bodies, outside play in the colder seasons provide a whole variety of new challenges for kids to nurture happy minds and create exciting experiences. Rainy days are the perfect opportunity to splash around in puddles wearing gumboots. Colder weather also brings a changing environment and new growth in nature. Why not go for a walk and notice these changes together? Once you get creative with your play ideas and you’ll soon find that weather is no longer a limitation.
Best of all, all of the above reasons also apply to Mum and Dad!
So why not get the whole family involved with your next outside play activity?
YMCA is a proud partner of Premier’s Active April, because we believe that encouraging Victorians to get more exercise every day is a worthy goal. Sign up to Premier’s Active April to track your physical activity together as a family through the month of April. It’s free to sign up and there are lots of offers and prizes, including a Recreation 10 Visit Pass Card to use at your local YMCA centre.