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3 min read

As adults, many of us have gotten into the habit of staying indoors when the weather is bad - rainy, snowy, cold & windy...But there are so many benefits to outdoor time, especially for young children...Aside from the obvious ones related to gross motor and cognitive development, there's SO MUCH learning and development that happens outside:

  • They learn about the different seasons and everything they have to offer.
  • It develops their observation skills - the differences between weather conditions/seasons.
  • It offers the opportunity for unstructured play (play without direction or rules), where they can develop their creativity, imagination, problem-solving skills, social skills, take risks, and experiment.
  • Sensorial exploration - hearing the snow crunch under their boots, splashing in puddles, squishing the mud, etc. Young children are drawn to sensorial exploration. It's a big part of how young children learn.

Educating The Whole Child

The Montessori approach is holistic, where the goal is to educate the whole child - mind, body, and spirit - it's not just focused on academics.

One way this is taught is helping children understand the connectedness and interdependence in the world (the dependence of two or more people or things on each other).

Being in nature is one of the best settings to do this work in.A very simple example would be gardening - I plant a seed, water it, weed around it, and then it provides a vegetable I can eat.In nature, we can also observe the interdependence of other animals and plants.As children grow, this helps them grasp bigger concepts, like our place in the world, and that we are one part of it but not all of it.

It Starts With You

Now is the time, when children are young, to develop healthy habits and attitudes around spending quality time outside.

If we teach them that rain and snow are something to be avoided, it's something they'll carry with them into their teens and young adulthood.

From the 2022 ParticipACTION Report Card on Physical Activity for Children and Youth - only 28% of kids and teens (5-17 years) are meeting national physical guidelines of 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day.

By embracing all types of weather, we can help our children feel and appreciate all the wonderful benefits of outdoor time now, when they're young.

It's ALL About the Gear

To make outdoor exploration fun in all weather, we just need proper attire - waterproof rain gear in the spring/fall and warm and waterproof winter gear in the colder month.

But this also means that WE, the grown ups, need proper gear, just like our children. It may have been awhile since you shopped for snow pants but they really do help make Canadian winters much better!

And Allow for Some Flexibility...

When going outside in inclement weather, it’s helpful to be flexible:

  • Come inside and take a break when needed
  • Be prepared to head in early if your child gets too wet

Even just a short break outside can really reset the mood, bring everyone's energy down, and reap all the benefits of those big gross motor movements - running, jumping, rolling, etc

One Last Outdoor Tip

 One last helpful (non-Montessori) tip: waterproof gear, like rain clothes or snow gear, can't go in the dryer on high heat!

It can ruin the waterproof membrane. Instead, dry these types of clothes on air dry, low or medium heat or just hang dry.

This is especially important if you're buying good quality clothing for yourself, since you're 'done growing' and will ideally be wearing these items for years.

Looking for winter activities? Click here to read 10 EASY (no setup) Winter Montessori Activities

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