Winter Play

Winter is one of the most challenging seasons for children and parents: children love to play outside but parents are reluctant to let them when it is cold and wet.

There are three facts we need to keep in mind:

1. Colds are viruses and are not caused by children being cold.
2. Children, like adults, get viruses from the coughs and sneezes of other who have a virus.
3. Children need active play every day.

Dress children for winter play

Start with a good hooded water resistant jacket and not too many layers underneath. Children get warm when they play so if they are wearing a singlet, tee shirt and jumper under a winter jacket, they will quickly want to take the jacket off.

For outdoor play leave out the jumper if the child is wearing a coat over a singlet and long sleeved tee shirt. That way they will be more likely to keep the jacket on.

Fashion often dictates what is available, so be aware when buying that clothes need to be practical and comfortable or your child will not want to wear them. This is especially true for jackets. Ensure adequate room for clothes underneath and that the jacket is not so bulky that the child cannot bend his or her arms.

Gumboots are great for being outdoors, but not ideal to be worn all day. Being made of plastic, gumboots cause children’s feet to sweat and with children jumping about and splashing in water, it is inevitable that some will end up inside boots. When children come back inside take boots off, wipe them out and change socks if necessary.

If it is really cold, add a scarf and a woolly hat.


Walking is a great way to get some outdoor exercise for both children and parents especially during winter when we are more inclined to want to remain indoors than usual.

Consider starting a walking playgroup bus. It is a simple thing to do. Arrange a central meeting place, regular time and off you go. If people need to drive to playgroup, meet where cars can be parked safely, get out the prams and pushers and everyone can still walk together.

Some playgroups have already set up walking groups that spend part of their playgroup time walking together every week.

A winter walk can be an easy way to introduce excursions to your playgroup program. With everyone dressed appropriately (don’t worry about the hat hair parents!), it can be a really fun experience. Remember the simple joys of swishing along through fallen leaves and jumping in puddles?

Looking at the changing environment and talking to children about road safety will provide lots of interaction between parents and children and invaluable incidental educational experiences for children. It is a lovely way to share knowledge and enjoy each other’s company.

Children will take great delight in being out with their friends and you will find they and you will laugh and chat to each other along the way.

Bring nature to playgroup

Walk to a local park or just stroll around the neighbourhood. Along the way you could collect natural items to use at playgroup.

Gathering fallen leaves for collage or pasting is an age old favourite. Collect leaves of different shapes, colour and size. Put some in a tub and simply allow children to explore the colour, sounds and texture as they swish, throw and scrunch them.

Use branches to make your own trees at playgroup by attaching a selection of the leaves collected.

Gather moss and put into a tub with some rocks and toy frogs or reptiles.

Collect charcoaled wood to draw with.  

Sourced from Playgrouper, Copyright © Playgroup Victoria