3 Reasons Why You Should Play Outside Even in the Winter

Categories: Resources | Sensory
For those of us who live in places where the weather gets very cold and snowy, winter can be long.  We all know there are many benefits to outdoor play.  You can check out my blog post on this topic here.  Ice, snow and freezing temperatures can make outdoor play less than ideal in the long winter months.  However, there can be many important benefits to outdoor winter play for our students (and adults, too!).  Today, let’s take a look at some reasons why I think you should play outside all year long!

Change of Scenery

I don’t know about you, but every time I hear the word ‘indoor recess’, I shudder a little.  As much as we try to make it active and fun, it is just not the same as outdoor play.  Some districts have temperature policies in place, and will only allow outdoor play if the temperature is above a certain level.  And you know your kids best – some students with sensory sensitivities may be overwhelmed playing outside in low temperatures or snow.  However, depending on your school and class, if you are able to get outside daily (even if it is just for 5 minutes), I would encourage you to try!  Sometimes those 5 minutes are all you need to reset for the day. 

Practice Dressing and Advocacy Skills

Hats, coats, zippers, buttons, mittens, snow pants and boots – oh my!  The many layers of winter clothes can be a pain, but they can also provide an amazing opportunity to practice important dressing skills.  If dressing skills are challenging for your students, this routine can also offer many opportunities to practice advocating and asking for help!

Heavy Work Activities

Playing outside in the winter brings about a whole other level of sensory experiences.  One of my favorite things about outside winter play is the natural opportunities for heavy work.  Heavy work is an organizing type of sensory input that generally benefits everyone.  This input can be experienced by pushing, pulling or deep pressure.  Winter activities like shoveling, building a snowman and pulling a sled are all amazing for heavy work.  

Do you play outside in the winter?  What are some of your favorite activities?  I’d love to hear!


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