The early years
Winter is no time to stay indoors. In fact, it’s a great time
to get outside and play in the snow at any age.
Just ask Randy Kish, the phys-ed teacher at Ecole Olds
Elementary School in central Alberta. He teaches 10 classes
a day to children in kindergarten to Grade 4, and unless it’s
bitingly cold, they’ll pull on their boots and head out.
“We just take our games and we play outside, so we play
snow soccer, kickball, and we even run our kilometre club
track event in the winter,” he says. Kish and his students also
walk to a skating rink to strap on their blades. And during
recess, the kids come up with their own ways to enjoy the
“I often think that kids don’t know how to play anymore
because they’re just plugged in, but to be honest, if you just
observe them on any given day at any given playground, it’s
pretty neat to see that kids still create their own playtime
and that it hasn’t changed much since we were kids.”
From building snow forts to creating snowmen to
tobogganing, our kids naturally know how to have fun
Get your mitts on and get outside
Let your kids create their own play this winter
outside. “The kids are dressed for winter,” Kish says. “Let
them get out there and go.”
The physical activity is good for them and they can
embrace the season instead of grumbling about it, both of
which are good for their mental health. And who knows, if
you get your kids playing in the snow now, they may just
end up competing at the Winter Olympics later.
Just look at cross-country skier Chandra Crawford. She
was just a kid goofing off with her friends in her hometown
of Canmore when “a couple of girls who were really good
inspired me to ski fast outside my neighbourhood.” She did.
And before you know it, Crawford won a gold medal at the
Turin Olympics in 2006. She’s competing for Canada again
this February at the Sochi Olympics in Russia.
So go ahead, get outside this winter and see where it takes
you and your kids.
— Jennifer Allford
Kids naturally know how to have fun outside, and good old-fashioned play is healthy for their
bodies and minds.