For many of the children Tuesday was the first day back after the excitement and festivities of the Holiday season. After eleven days of down time even I was a little apprehensive about readjusting to our regular schedule. Should I keep the schedule open and allow plenty of free time, plan several activities to keep the children occupied all day or have a few things available just in case.
I decided to allow mostly free time since our routine would not truly be ‘normal’ because the school-aged children would not be returning to school until Thursday. The older children really seem to enjoy the opportunity to play freely with the group and the younger children are usually thrilled to have their input.
Then Monday evening as I watched the evening news the weather forecast called for cold temperatures and high wind chills – I panicked. The dialogue between the news team centered on plans to avoid going outdoors and I fell for it. What if it was too cold to play outside and I didn’t have a alternative activity? Outdoor play is a big part of our day and without it the children can become – let’s just say ‘lively’.
So the news report said it would be too cold and even though I know better I was swayed – temporarily. You see, I know the weather report doesn’t take all the factors into consideration. First of all, our yard is sheltered. The back yard faces to the South so it gets plenty of sunlight and the house blocks the cold North wind. The neighbour’s garage to the West and our shed to the East provide additional wind breaks.
Then there is the issue of clothing. Most people who claim it is too cold are simply not dressed appropriately for the weather. We dress for functionality not style. Activity level is another factor; standing at a bus stop waiting for a bus in -20 C weather can be agony but running, jumping climbing and digging certainly make the cold nearly irrelevant.
So yes, we have continued to play outdoors for about an hour each and every day and none of the have children complained – except when it was time to go inside. Even I was pleasantly surprised by how quickly the time passed by and we were even a little late for lunch (good thing it wasn’t a school day).
This got me thinking about a new January activity – we’re going to chart the weather. I don’t just mean the conditions reported at the airport. I plan to have a comparison between the official weather report and the conditions registered on the weather station in my back yard. I’ll involve the children in checking and recording the weather conditions at circle time each day – just before we go outside. Then I’m also going to record how long we spend outdoors and any weather related comments the children make while we are out there.
Stay tuned for highlights of our ‘Is it really too cold to play outside?” exploration.