Our Canadian winters can be beautiful…but also cold! When the temperatures start to dip below freezing, it can become far too easy to spend all of our time inside. Since the winter weather tends to keep children indoors more often, it is important that we continue to make time to be active and play. When outdoor learning is reduced and we start to miss that fresh air (and that wonderful Vitamin D) it becomes extra important to keep both our bodies and minds active. The winter blues affect people of all ages and that includes our littles!
A great way to battle the blues is by making sure we keep our bodies moving. Kids learn through play, and as a result they experience many benefits which have proven to improve mental and physical health. In fact, play is so important that the United Nations has recognized it as a specific right for all children!
Encouraging unstructured play is an excellent way to increase physical activity levels in children but we know it can become difficult to keep conjuring up fresh and exciting ideas to keep your class active. Luckily, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to help you out!
- Our Balancing Path encourages active play and it is perfect for indoor spaces.
- Small Stepping Riverstones or Natures Footsteps are another great way to utilize indoor playtime while fine-tuning those gross motor skills and burning off excess energy.
- For something a little more structured but just as perfect for getting an entire room active is the Ready Set Move Classroom Activity Set.
When children engage in dramatic play, whether that be by playing dress-up or serving yummy food in a pretend kitchen, they are learning to create and explore a world that promotes social interaction skills, language development, and teaching conflict resolution.
- For a bright and colourful addition to your dramatic play area, New Sprouts has a wide range of items made specifically for active imaginations.
- A good set of Baby Dolls to play with can have many rewards for toddlers and children who play with them! They can lead to a better understanding of…themselves!
- Putting on a good Puppet Show with your favourite set of puppets is a wonderful way to get those creative juices flowing.
There are also more calming ways to be active, as mentioned in our Children & Mindfulness blog. Practicing yoga is always a great place to start because of the positive impact it can have on children’s well-being, such as improving the ability to process emotions or boosting self-esteem.
- What better way to introduce yoga than with our Body Poetry Yoga Cards. These cards are split into three levels of easy, intermediate, and challenging to meet your children’s needs!
- Cultivate health and wellness with this Healthy Body, Healthy Minds Activity Set of beautifully illustrated and simply written yoga cards.
All of these ways of playing provide an outlet for children to practice skills that can help them in one way or another. It may be by teaching them how to properly communicate their feelings or by getting those endorphins boosted through physical activity, but each form of play has a positive impact on those developing brains which will lead to a healthier mind and body in the long run.