3 Tips to Enhance Children’s Outdoor Winter Play
“In any environment, both the degree of inventiveness and creativity and the possibility of discovery are directly proportional to number and kind of variables in it.’ Simon Nicolson
Winter Play using Loose Parts are by far one of my favorite tools to use when teaching outdoors during the colder months. I find it especially challenging during the months of December, January and March to sustain Outdoor Learning Stations that capture children’s imaginations for intentional play. I get caught up in how cold it is and forget that adding loose parts to the Outdoor Classroom can be a simple solution.
To get inspired I asked myself, “When you think of Loose Parts Play, what words do you think of?” This was a fun exercise. Check out some of the words a group of teachers came up with:
Outdoor Spaces change dramatically in winter; therefore, taking an inventory of your outdoor spaces during this time is really important. How are children are using this space differently during these colder months? Do you have any outdoor learning stations that entice curiosity and wonder? or does your outdoor space feel empty and cold?
Loose Parts are a brilliant way to transform any space, in any season. Loose Parts invite children to invent, create, and discover. Here are 3 tips to add Loose Parts to Winter Play.
Tip 1. INVITE BUILDING OUTDOORS
- Is there a place for children to build outdoors during the winter?
- What loose parts could you add to building outdoors?
- What loose parts could you add for children to make animal homes for hibernating?
Tip 2. ENCOURAGE ARTISTIC CREATIONS
- Can children enjoy art outdoors during the winter months?
- Do you have an outdoor table for children to work on?
- What loose parts could you add for patterning, texture, and color art outdoors?
Tip 3. DISCOVER COLD WEATHER SCIENCE
- Is there a place for children to experiment?
- Do you have a Mud Kitchen? Weather Station? Bird Sanctuary?
- What loose parts can you add for mathematical and scientific experiments?
Now I want to hear from you. Did you try any of these ideas? If so, how did it come out? Did you notice a change in the behavior of the children and how the approached play? Share your comments below.
Do you want to learn more? Come join our community of Natural Teachers and play with us in the Exploring Nature in Winter Master Class. Discover how to connect children with nature no matter what the weather is! Winter is full of opportunities to explore nature and incorporate natural elements into your curriculum environment.
This Master Class…
- reflects on the importance of getting children outdoors during the winter months.
- introduces 30+ Nature-Based Winter Activities as seeds of inspiration; along with an expansive Resource Library of Winter themed Children’s Books.
- is for early childhood teachers, directors, parents, after-school providers & homeschoolers
- includes a 15- hour Participation Certificate
- 2 Virtual Workshops via Zoom