Why we still play outdoors, even in the Winter!

Outdoor Play has a key role in children’s health, development and well-being. Energy Kidz are always looking at different ways to stimulate children with a variety of fun and safe activities. Outdoor Play is one of our most popular activities with children constantly looking to enjoy the freedom of movement and explore opportunities for physical activity. We believe it is important to facilitate this all year round, as children experience the natural world and the ever-changing seasonal climates through Outdoor Play. The clubs often have access to large hard-court areas and adventure playgrounds. This provides plenty of opportunities to use key development skills such as imagination, creativity and resourcefulness, as children create their own games and activities. Through these games, children often learn to develop positive relationships with such simple tasks as, taking turns, cooperation in group activity or joining in with other genders and ages.

Energy Kidz have a clear outdoor play procedure which ensures a secure and engaging in environment for all children. This gains more importance in the winter as the extreme weather conditions can jeopardize safe outdoor play. All areas are risk assessed prior to use with clear boundaries set & and any extra safety precautions given to the children. Any hazards are noted and children are made aware prior to going outside.

In the winter, before children go outside they are reminded to wear warm outdoor clothing including coats hats & gloves. In our Term Time clubs, we also require children to wear our Energy Kidz branded Hi-Vis jackets so that they are instantly recognisable in the busy drop off and pick periods in schools.

Once the children are ready to go outside their movement is monitored between the indoor and outdoor environment through our walkie talkie system used by the playworkers which allows the staff members to monitor each child’s location. Ideally the indoor and outdoor space will be located close to each so that the children have the opportunity to free flow.

The adverse weather conditions in this school year have seen some fantastic outdoor play with our clubs effectively carrying out our Outdoor Play procedure. Many of our clubs have seen a flurry of snow and this has allowed some children to experience this for the first time. The children had fun creating shelters, snow families and observing snowflake shapes!

Further activities have examined the build up to the Winter Olympics with many group and team activities based on the excitement ahead of the games. Our clubs are always provided with a fully equipped sports bag and although these may not have snowboards and skis, the staff are easily able to use the equipment provided to put on winter themed sessions such as adaptations of Curling, Ice Hockey and Slalom Racing.

Children also enjoy exploring the outdoor environment by themselves and we have encouraged this through several winter themed scavenger hunts and nature trails. This helps children discover new environments and provides them with direct contact to the elements of the cooler climate. Other clubs have been seen building shelters and structures thus enriching their creativity and resourcefulness.