The Snowy Season Transforms Playscapes, but There is Still Fun to be Had
Winter is definitely here. Parts of the midwest and the Great Lakes region recently saw a foot of snow quickly accumulate, and a low pressure system from the North caused the accompanying temperature to plunge as well. Thick sweaters and heavy coats were pulled from deep within their closets and paired with hats, scarves, gloves, and boots before young and old dared to venture outdoors.
Winter is an invitation. It is the time of year when we have an opportunity to see our world in a much different light. The space around us becomes literally transformed and different ways to play that are not available at any other time of year present themselves for our enjoyment. Here then, are a few ways children and adults can get the most out of a day spent playing in the snow, and really earn that cup of hot chocolate in the end.
Discover New Ways to Play at Your Local Playground
Modern-day playgrounds are often well-suited to outdoor winter play activities. Sturdy in nature, built following modern day codes, and with an eye towards heavy usage, today’s playground equipment can offer a completely different experience from the playgrounds of the past. Far from being an inhibitor of play, the accumulation of snow can inspire children to use playground equipment in a variety of fun and creative ways.
When winter weather visits an area, the local playground, used countless times, suddenly becomes a different place entirely. Stairs, platforms, and bridges covered in snow create new navigation challenges. Piled-up compacted and slick snow can extend the length of slides, and even create temporary new ones. The rush of air that normally accompanies a vigerous time in the swings seems to blast us even faster the colder the air gets. The best playgrounds inspire countlessly different ways to play, and the experience of winter only aides this important function.
Explore the Difference Winter Brings to Your Nearby Woods
All of us know the importance of experiencing the natural world around us. Many studies have demonstrated major physiological and psychological benefits of regularly visiting natural areas. A walk in the woods has been shown to lower blood pressure, aid the creative process, and make us more resilient to the normal stresses of our everyday lives. Most of us are fortunate to live within a short drive to well-maintained State and National Parks, and even heavily wooded municipal parks in our more urban areas can offer high-quality access to the natural world.
Just as with your local playground, winter has the ability to completely transform your nearby wooded areas. Landscape features normally hidden by leaves and brush suddenly present themselves. Paw and hoof prints in newly fallen snow can reveal the community of creatures that share your local area. Activities such as cross-country skiing can extend your ability enjoy a larger park in ways that are just not possible at any other time of the year. As much as winter weather can present different challenges to enjoying the outside world, the opportunities it presents are no less expansive.
Seek Out Play Activities
The trend of pop-up playgrounds or art installations that incorporate play activities have begun to extend into the winter months. Local ski slopes have also begun expanding their offerings to include family-friendly activities such as sledding hills and inflatable toboggan runs. Ice sculptures, snow mazes, and elaborate temporary structures constructed of ice bricks can easily provide a day’s worth of outdoor fun. Every winter the number and scope of these opportunities expands, presenting even more reasons to get outside.
You may have to do some searching to find opportunities beyond the neighborhood sledding hill in your area. As the number of outdoor winter festivals increases in the snowier parts of the country, more and more such activities are becoming easily accessible. Though we can all understand the desire to escape the winter months by heading south whenever possible, we should also take the time to appreciate how winter can create fun-filled opportunities that simply do not exist at any other time of the year.