Winter weather finds many parents and children spending more time indoors than usual. Don’t let that keep your child from engaging in big gross motor work. Read below for some expert tips on cold weather play from Ms. Jenny Wyrick, one of our Young Children’s Community guides.
1. Get the right gear.
All over the world, as long as they are properly clothed, children safely head outside in all seasons. Gloves are incredibly difficult for young children so search for toddler mittens. Snow bibs help to keep cold air and snow from sneaking up above the waist and boots allow for lots of time before little toes start to get cold. Shorten the length of time that you spend outside and be sure to keep moving. Jogging, climbing, and shoveling are great. Consider pulling out the gardening tools from summer time. Don’t forget to get yourself the right gear so that you can be comfortable while exploring winter with your child.
2. Set up an indoor obstacle course.
This is one of the most fun things! It can change every day. Use what you have– you don’t even need any fancy equipment. Elements of your course can be as simple as climbing over a chair, scooting under a table, or running around a shoe on the floor. Want some other ideas? How about climbing over a pile of pillows, sliding under a blanket hung between two chairs, jumping over an empty tube of wrapping paper, or carrying a heavy box across a room? Add a timer and the whole game is suddenly even more fun.
Turn on a variety of music and explore how changing tempos and rhythms make our bodies want to move in different ways. Freeze dance is an absolute fave– when the music stops, everyone freezes and laughter abounds! Maybe this is the time for you to join in and finally figure out how to do the floss. Add gymnastics to the beat with jumping jacks, hopping on one foot, push-ups, sit-ups, leg lifts, somersaults, crawling, or even some yoga poses.
Even cleaning the house can include some energetic movements. Give your child a spray bottle, a cloth, or a mop, and show them how to clean the kitchen floor. This is a wonderful way to let your child concentrate, move, and help. Water work always engages children. Remember, this kind of mess is easy to clean with some old towels and the benefits of their efforts are priceless. Contributing to the work of the family increases self-esteem and self-confidence and offers a sense of belonging and value.
Movement is important for your child’s developing body all year long. It will also offer an invaluable opportunity to burn energy even while confined inside during cold weather.
Young Children’s Community Teacher
Check our website next month for another round of tips from our experts!