You’ve just weathered your way through another winter snowstorm. But just because school is canceled or the roads are bad doesn’t mean your family needs to be cooped up inside all day.
In fact, playing outside is the perfect way to make the most of your next snow day. And despite what you may think… there are several reasons why it’s actually better for your kids than staying inside.
We all know winter weather can be harsh. As temperatures drop and the snow piles up, it’s tempting to let your kids spend the day playing video games or watching TV. But making a habit of keeping your kids inside has been proven to affect a child’s weight and mood – not to mention the potential of causing a case of cabin fever.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends children get 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily. And that number isn’t limited to the season.
You probably have fond memories of sledding and snowball fights from your own childhood. But the benefits of playing outside don’t stop there. If you’re wondering how it makes a difference, here are some health benefits of getting outside on a winter day:
- Fresh air: The idea that cold air causes flu and colds isn’t true. In fact, staying indoors is more likely to expose kids to germs and bacteria. A short walk outside or a visit to your local playground can give families some fresh air — and maybe even improve your immune system.
- Vitamin D: Sunshine does more than warm you up. It can actually improve your health. Spending just 10 minutes in the sunshine will give your child their daily dose of vitamin D, which helps improve their mood and overall health.
- Muscle and bone strengthening: We all know exercise makes you stronger – but this is especially important for your child’s growing body. According to the CDC, regular exercise helps kids develop lifelong healthy habits and prevents serious health conditions like heart disease, cancer, and type 2 diabetes.
- Boosting creativity: While kids are outside getting the physical benefits of fresh air and sunshine… their minds are being exercised, too. Imaginative play can help develop their creativity and problem-solving skills. The snow can turn parks, backyards and playgrounds into completely different worlds! Ice and snow present just enough challenges to help kids maneuver and expand their minds.
Play it safe
Cold weather doesn’t mean you need to stay indoors. But it does mean you need to be prepared.
Before you step out the door, dress your child in multiple layers – more than an adult would wear. Cover them up from head to toe with hats, scarves, gloves and anything else that will warm them up.
Wondering how cold is too cold? The best measure for when to stay inside is wind chill. If the wind chill drops below 32 degrees, be sure to take frequent breaks to warm up. And keep an eye out for shivering, drowsiness, numbness and other signs of frostbite or hypothermia.
Use good common sense. The closer you move toward single digit wind chills, the more you may want to consider staying indoors.
Once you get moving, your body will actually start warming itself. Keep your kids active and convince them to get in the snow with fun ideas like:
- Snowball fights
- Ice skating
- Making snow sculptures
- Playing summer sports with a winter twist
- Hide and seek
- Snow angels
- Shoveling snow
Want in on the fun? Get ideas for kids and grown-ups alike in our list of 12 ways to stay active this winter.
While you’re out playing in the snow with your family, don’t forget to enjoy the time you’re spending with each other.
At Erie Insurance, we know living well means feeling confident and calm. When the investments you’ve made in your home and the things you value most are protected, you can relax and enjoy more of what makes you and your family happy.