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Comfort, Play with & Teach your Child During your Outdoor Winter Activities
Whatever the season, children love to explore the outdoors. Use these winterized Comfort, Play & Teach tips to promote your little one’s healthy development.
Show your child how to keep warm in cold weather by moving arms and fingers, jumping, running, etc. Show and describe the things you can do, e.g. “When I am cold I stomp my feet and rub my hands together.” This is not only fun but it also lets your child feel competent and confident that he can do things that are good for him.
Nothing is as comforting in the winter as getting back into a warm home after spending time outside. Take advantage of this moment to sit in warm cozy clothing, sip hot chocolate, read a book or take an afternoon nap. Spend this quiet time together and enjoy being in each other’s company.
For a young child, every seasonal change brings new discoveries. Explore the ice and snow and describe them to each other, e.g., snow and ice both feel cold; ice looks shiny while snow looks soft; ice is slippery; both melt and turn into water when the sun warms them, etc.
Give your child the opportunity to use his imagination by making snowmen or other snow “sculptures”. Encourage the use of natural decorations such as branches, rocks, pine cones, etc. Let your child exercise his creativity by supporting his thinking and planning. Indirectly, you’ll help him find ways to do it.
Getting in and out of snowsuits, hats, mittens, and boots is a skill that has to be learned and practiced. It takes a lot of practice to know that boots don’t go on before the snowsuit! When heading out or coming back in, take the time to let your child dress and undress herself as much as she can. Patiently guide her through the steps, and prompt her to name the different pieces of clothing to build her vocabulary.
Talk about what people do in the winter and what they use to do those activities e.g., walkways and driveways are cleaned with shovels, brooms or snow blowers; people need skates to go ice skating and sleds or toboggans to slide down hills. Get your child involved in your own winter chores and activities to give her a sense of responsibility and of belonging to the family.
Make sure you and your child are dressed appropriately for these outdoor activities, and that there are no dangling strings or scarves that can get caught and cause injuries. Have fun!