Enjoying the outdoors together in Autumn and Winter – an interview with Olivia Joy Menin, Better Place Community Project Assistant
As the temperature takes a downward turn and the rain clouds gather, it is tempting to keep your little ones warm indoors. But, even though we are now heading into Autumn and Winter, there are still many ways you and your young children can continue to enjoy the outdoors whatever the weather!
Think of all the wonderful sensations and experiences they can have – frosty cobwebs, leaves swirling off the trees, muddy puddles to splash in, the crunch of crispy fallen leaves under their little feet and the list goes on.
Someone once said that there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothes! And they were right. With warm clothes such as woolly jumpers, waterproof clothing, hat, scarf, gloves and a pair of welly boots, your little ones can enjoy the great outdoors in all weathers.
We have a wealth of outdoors fun family activities available across the Better Start Bradford area all through autumn and winter with the Forest School Play Project, Growing Together Bradford and our Better Place project. Check out our events page on our website, or even better, download the Better Start Bradford app so you can keep up-to-date with all the free events that are happening every week for you and your little ones.
We chatted to Olivia Joy Menin, who is a Better Place Community Project Assistant, and asked her all about the activities they have planned for the next few months and if the weather ever spoils their fun.
Olivia, will Better Place be running outdoor play projects all through autumn and winter?
Yes, we will! We’ll have regular outdoor Friday play sessions, bulb planting sessions at Horton and Bowling Park, Dad play sessions and extra ones we are planning so watch this space!
If children didn’t go out in all weather – what kind of things would they miss out on?
Being outside, even in the rain, is the perfect place to encourage your children to use their whole body and mind to be physically active. Playing in the rain can also teach kids resilience and adaptability and it is great exercise. There’s lots of new experiences to explore and children will also be able to spot different creatures out and about in the rain, such as worms, slugs and snails.
They will have access to different experiences such as splashing in muddy puddles, making snow angels, crunching through fallen leaves, looking at how frost clings to natural items and so much more.
Being outside is also good for positive mental health for both children and adults alike – active play builds healthy bodies and healthy minds.
Are the Better Place Team equipped for all weather? What do you have at every event?
We provide wellies of different sizes for children and toddlers, as well as fleeces and raincoats to loan out during the activity. We also have a selection of adult sized clothing, which were donated by Rohan Gift Your Gear Scheme. Parents can use them to stop them from getting cold, so they can focus on having fun and playing outside with their child. We also have gazebos to protect us from really heavy rain, large tarpaulin to sit on, and we organise our activities so that the weather can’t stop us having fun!
What would you recommend that parents/carers and their children wear or have on them in case of bad weather?
It’s best to wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty or muddy, as well as waterproof shoes in case the grass is wet. We can provide raincoats and wellies. We also recommend that children wear hats and gloves, warm layers (vest, long-sleeved top, sweater) and a winter coat in colder weather.
What are the benefits on children’s well-being by being outside, whatever the weather?
It will make their connection to nature stronger and increase their confidence – they will see that they can adapt to all different kinds of weather. Playing in the wind, rain or snow is a very good sensory and learning experience for all children. It’s also fun for adults too!
What can we look forward to from the Better Place team this autumn and winter season?
We have exciting play sessions coming up revolving around autumn and what nature can offer us. We’ll be getting crafty with clay, leaves, sticks, pinecones – there’s so much we can do with all that! We are also planning a mud kitchen play session.
How do local families find out about your events?
More information about Outdoor Play can be found in Better Start Bradford’s Enjoying the Outdoors together Leaflet
Visit the Better Start Bradford website to find out about other fun events that are taking place outside including: