To embrace, explore, feel safe and enjoy the outdoors in Winnipeg, it is very important to dress accordingly. Ensuring your participants are dressed for the cold or warm weather is integral to creating a comforting, fun and explorative environment for Outdoor Play. Below, we have provided you with some great ways to talk about dressing for Winnipeg’s weather, as well as some great resources as to where to find affordable winter gear.
One thing we would like to share is that dressing for the weather is no different than preparing for a school day. We all need the tools necessary to have fun, learn, and enjoy our environment. You would feel ill equipped if you walked to school without your backpack and didn’t have a writing utensil in your desk, right? In the same way schools, family resource agencies, and other organizations support students with providing the necessary school supplies; we hope your outdoor play program or agency can support families with finding the necessary clothing and acquire the knowledge about dressing accordingly. The more family members you have behind dressing appropriately, the more time and fun you can spend outdoors.
Some Winter thoughts…
Sharing information about wind chill, frostbite, and clothing materials suited to keeping you dry during the seasons, is always a great place to start with your program. This knowledge can be shared prior to starting the group through social media, handouts, or you can share winter tips and information throughout your in-person program. The more aware you, your staff, and participants are of the ways to protect ourselves, the more you can focus on snow painting, animal tracks, and enjoying yourselves.
Warmer & Springier days…
Dressing for spring looks a little different, but embracing the wet and muddy sides of things can be a difficult one for families! Additional laundry and those wet bus rides may discourage you from digging your hands into puddles, mud, or running through the park. However, wet socks and shoes and muddy knees are integral to a well explored spring. The textures, colours, and growth experienced in spring in Winnipeg are all learning and play experiences that you can use during your program. Your program can share the benefits of muddy play and support this by providing matts for children to kneel on, paint smocks, or rubber boots. Sharing the benefits with your parents and starting with small controlled spaces for children to explore with those textures is always a great place to start.
For warmer days, it’s important to keep shade, water, and our body temperatures in mind. However, it’s a little less difficult to remind families to get outside during the warmer months. Especially after braving six months of cold weather! Keep in mind little bodies heat up much more quickly. Ensuring you have a shaded area at your program will allow families to take breaks and allow them to stay for the entire program length. As well, providing a water station for those to fill up their water bottles or cups makes everyone feel safe and cool.
Talking about the weather as a barrier, encouraging parents to dress accordingly, and providing the necessary information and weather appropriate gear, will help your families feel comfortable, safe and most importantly focus on having fun!
Check out this PDF for a checklist for your summer outdoor play program: