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Getting outside in winter is just as important as it is in summer. Maybe even more so.

Playing outside can help keep your family fit and healthy during the winter months. It gives you the chance to exercise and having a daily dose of winter sun can help boost your Vitamin D. In addition, outdoor play can help to maintain your child’s gross motor development.

So try to spend some time outside – even if it is a little bit cold and a little bit wet.

Outdoor activities

Find the snow

Bundle everyone up and go in search of snow. Keep an eye on your weather app or online and find out when and where to expect snow. If it’s nearby, hit the road. Once you find it you can spend the day building a snowman, making snow angels or even having a snowball fight – if the snow is a bit hard, rather set up a target and take aim at that. Remember to protect little hands and feet with warm gloves and thick socks.

Collect autumn leaves

Use the leaves to make a collage on paper or do leaf-rubbings. Try freezing them in a thin layer of water for an icy sun-catcher or in a bigger tub for an ice bowl. Or just make a big pile of leaves and take turns jumping in.

Splash in puddles

As soon as the rain stops, dig out everybody’s gumboots and go in search of the biggest puddle you can find. Children can make paper boats and float these across the puddle. You can use the puddles to paint with watercolours on the driveway. You could even have a ‘Biggest Splash’ competition – just make sure there’s a warm bath waiting inside.

Build a waterway

Get the children to dig a trench in the garden (if they’re allowed ) or build a waterway with pieces of plastic tubing or old gutters. See what children can learn from this – think about the flow of water, and how quickly it travels. They can also float paper boats down the waterway.

See how cold it really gets

Try freezing water outside – you may need to leave it overnight and check it again before the sun hits it. Children can learn about different states of water (solid, liquid and even gas) and about temperatures. On really cold mornings (or when you make it to the snow) try blowing bubbles to see if they freeze.

Make a fire

Build a big bonfire and toast marshmallows.

Tamlyn Vincent

For more ideas, read: 10 Fun Things To do In Winter and Recreate the Olympics in your backyard.