Top Tips on accessing the outdoor environment, even in the cold
Outdoor space and time for every child is crucial every day, yet when living in the UK with the unpredictable weather and cold temperatures. it can be difficult to be motivated to spending time outdoors. However it is possible to make the most of the outdoors in all weathers. The benefits of accessing the outdoors in all weathers has already been discussed in the article here and now this article will support you to ensure you are accessing the outdoors every day.
Ways to ensure the outdoors can be enjoyed by all
· Provide fleeces – Provide fleeces with the company logos for all the practitioners. The right clothing is important to protect everyone against the cold and make time in the outdoors more enjoyable. Make it common practice for practitioners to bring in wellies, coats and other suitable clothing. Make these accessible and close to the outdoors areas to avoid practitioners having to leave ratios or decide against going outside
· Clothing for children – Make sure parents are aware that children will play outside in all weathers. Ask them to provide appropriate clothing for the weather. Offer children a place to keep wellies at nursery so these cannot be forgotten in the mornings. You may choose to provide puddle suits for the children to protect their clothing from the mud and rain.
· Shelter – Create an area outdoors which provides some shelter from the weather such as a gazebo, tepee, thick trees etc.
· Umbrellas – Keep umbrellas at the setting, these may be ones you ask the parents to provide or ones that the setting provide. These will protect the children from the rain and children often find great joy in using them.
· Keep moving – Keep moving and encourage the children to run, jump and walk around outside. Practitioners should be actively joining in with play and supporting development.
· Change length of time outside – Make shorter more regular trips outside instead of spending vast lengths of time in the outdoors environment if the weather is particularly harsh.
· Forest School training – Forest schools training will enable practitioners to build dens to keep dry and warm or build fires which will create warmth.
· Use outdoor heaters – Investing in some outdoor heaters may be useful to ensure that children and practitioners can enjoy time in the outdoors even when particularly cold.
· Expectation – Set the expectation that all practitioners must make use of the outdoors environment on a daily basis, when employing new practitioners ensure they have a love of the outdoors and are aware of what is expected.
· Parents – Get the parents on board and ensure they understand the philosophy of the setting in using the outdoors daily. Explain to them the developmental benefits as well as the health benefits to being outdoors.