Cold Weather Play

As temperatures start to drop, days become shorter and winter sets in, we might start thinking about how this will impact on what we do at playgroup and which activities we should plan for.
Of course colder weather is no reason to abandon all outside play.

There is no such thing as bad weather, just inappropriate clothing.
                                                                    - Sir Ranulph Fiennes

If you have access to an outside play space, use it. It is important for children to have the opportunity to be active, enjoy freedom of movement and fresh air. Remind adults to bring along warm clothing for themselves as well as the little ones, as they will be more likely to stay outside with their children if they also are protected against the elements. The outdoors holds many opportunities for wonder and learning. Along with enjoying active play, children are often interested in the changes in nature, and the science of weather and temperature.

When you do decide to take the play indoors, there are still lots of ways to provide activities that appeal to the wide range of interests and skills of all children at playgroup. Think about how to incorporate active play when setting up indoors such as:

  • Obstacle courses: Use hula hoops, tunnels or cardboard boxes to crawl through.
  • Making a cubby house: Use a large box, card table, blanket and cushions. Remember that planning and gathering materials together is part of the fun.
  • Games of skill: Throw a ball or bean bag into a hoop, box or bucket. Activities using balls can be adapted for inside by substituting hard plastic or rubber balls with bean bags or homemade balls made by stuffing the toes of socks with fibrefill. These are softer, easier to control and don’t make as much noise when landing on the floor.
  • Music and movement: Clear a space, play some music and provide colourful scarves or ribbons for children and explore moving in various ways to different sounds. Or provide some bought or homemade instruments and encourage children to experiment with making music.


Bring the outdoors inside by setting up a nature try or table. Add some magnifying glasses to enhance the investigation.

Sand play can be moved indoors by placing some sand in a tub or tray. Add some spoons, cups, shells or plastic animals.

The block area can be a hive of activity. Add some small cars or trucks, maps or street directories and drawing materials to extend the experience.


The change of seasons offers us the chance to think about and discuss all sorts of topics relating to the world around us. While we could never expect to have all the answers, it can be fun to explore themes together.

Review the selection of books available at playgroup or visit the library to find books that reflect nature and what is happening outside.

Art and craft activities provide a chance to explore and express what is going on around us. Try adding some materials to the craft table that may be inspired by nature or use paints of a particular colour palette. On colder days it can be soothing to play with warm playdough. Make the playdough during the session and invite children to help measure and mix dry ingredients. An adult should add the hot water away for children for safety reasons but once mixed, playdough can be shared among children and kneaded while still warm.

Children learn all the time everywhere. The weather or the season doesn’t limit the opportunity to play and learn, it just changes the landscape. Our ability to tap into the children’s curiosity only broadens the possibilities.  

Sourced from Playgrouper, Copyright 
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