Children's energy level don't go down just because the temperatures have dropped. Even if you may not want to venture out from underneath the covers, a trip to the park may still be in order. When visiting the playground in the winter, there are a few ideas to keep in mind to make sure the play time is fun and tires the children out without endangering them.
Protecting Extremities with Good Clothing
Even though running and playing heat up the central part of a child's body well, their ears, fingers, and toes may still be vulnerable to the cold temperatures. Before playing, it's important to suit up with a hat or earmuffs, gloves or mittens, and boots with thick socks, especially if there is snow on the ground. This may take longer, but ensures that no child ends up with hurting fingers or toes.
Watch out for Cold Metals
Most playgrounds use mostly kid-friendly plastics and coatings that shouldn't be a problem to touch even when it is below freezing, but any metal parts could be extremely cold on little fingers. Encourage children not to touch metallic surfaces without gloves, and keep an eye out to make sure no one is joking around and getting their tongue stuck on a metal pole.
Avoid Standing Ice and Clear Away Snow
If ice has frozen onto play structures, it's wisest to avoid those structures entirely; the same is true if a puddle has frozen under a swing set that makes walking to the swing treacherous. Also, even if the only covering is fluffy snow, work with children to remove it from the slides, climbing gyms, and other equipment before playing to avoid accidentally stepping on something unseen or losing one's footing.
With care, the playground can be a welcome relief from being cooped up in the winter! To learn more about playground safety and how to make great, safe playgrounds, contact us.