Wrap Up Warm and Get Outside: Why the music shouldn’t stop for winter
On these cold, dark wintery days, weather is the thing most likely to keep kids from playing outside. It is very easy to turn up the thermostat, lose track of our ‘screen time’ and minimise our exposure to the elements.
However, being out in the cold fresh air for most children is a wonderful and uplifting experience and they are often less fazed about challenging weather conditions than adults are.
Winter is a wonderful time to be outside and as the daylight hours are shorter it is especially important that children experience creative outdoor play during their school day. Percussion Play’s musical instruments are designed to withstand the elements and live outside all year to help create an outdoor environment that supports young children's health, well being, development and learning. Installing musical instruments in your outdoor setting will incentivise kids to venture out into the cold weather and try something new.
Children will love the fact that music can be used in a context outside of the classroom and possibly engage with musical play opportunities in ways that are not really possible indoors. They’ll be able to learn about music in a fun way without even realising they are learning and their natural exuberance when playing musical instruments, singing and dancing is fully accommodated.
Music lesson plans that are geared toward early years work best when the students can use their entire bodies to learn. Children this age love to move and sitting indoors all day is hard for them. Working outdoors allows young children to move freely and helps to engage them in the subject.
The outdoors allows the chance to be active, noisy, and multi-sensory and responds to the way many boys like to play and learn. Additionally, being able to be physically active for a short-while will help calm students down for future seat work as they’ll have been able to get some of their energy out of their systems.
Builds Up their Immune System and provides some much needed Vitamin D
Whilst it’s impossible to shield children completely from the viruses or nasty bugs that circulate this time of year, contrary to the belief that “exposure to cold air causes a cold,” fresh winter air is good and healthy. When children and adults spend a long time together in indoor spaces that are heated and poorly ventilated, germs and illnesses pass easily from one person to another. Therefore, the more time you spend inside, the more you are exposed.
What’s more, outdoor activity in the colder months may give us an extra health boost. Muscles work harder in cold or snowy conditions, and we burn more calories as our bodies have to work harder to raise our body temperature.
Sun exposure is an important source of vitamin D, especially for children, since very few foods contain it naturally and the ones that do are often unappealing to children such as oily fish. The amount of sunlight children are exposed to and the amount of vitamin D they absorb can have a large impact on their mood. Lower levels of vitamin D could be responsible for increases in negative affect and tiredness.
Stimulates the imagination and helps get the creative juices flowing
There are very many ‘sparks’ for creativity from the natural world and composers and songwriters have long been inspired by the look and feel of this coldest of seasons.
Children can experiment with creating and capturing the different sounds and feel of winter such as; a whistling wintry wind, the soft sound of falling snow, that stamping of frozen feet, the muffled thump of mittened-hands, a ker-thump! of a snowball hitting its target or the crunch of feet across ice.
Stay warm and dry and keep it short and sweet
When you prepare for active play in outdoor winter weather, everyone can enjoy the health and mental health benefits of being outside and active in winter.
Instead of hibernating indoors, get outside and play some great music with your children this winter. You’ll build their resilience, boost their attention and make some great musical memories.