quick trick: play. outdoors. (no matter the weather!)

play outdoors in any weather, play outsideWho knows what happened to winter this year?

I am convinced that we had absolutely no snow this year because this was the first time I ever–ever!–bought snow boots for Maddy and Owen (because lucky Cora has Maddy’s hand-me-downs) before the season started instead of scrambling like a maniac at first word of a snowstorm.  I saw those boots, in the sizes I needed, calling to me back in October. 

I thought I outsmarted the universe by buying them, and instead the universe outsmarted me.

Anyway.  It’ll drop buckets of snow next year, and my poor kids will suffer in tight boots. I’m only kidding. (Not really.)

However, snow or no snow, I said before that my kiddos really need free time for free play.  But now I’m mentioning that they really need time outdoors.  Out back.  Over at the park.  Outside–anywhere–so they can feel the sun and the wind or the rain and the breeze.

Or the snow.  (Whatever.)

I can’t say it enough, especially because it seems that every time I turn a corner lately there’s another article stressing the importance of free time, creative play, with an outdoor focus.

And I get that. Boy, do I get that.

So this little Quick Trick is quick and simple, and it has a little added bonus: a giveaway!–all in the name of outdoor play for kiddos.

play outdoors in any weather, play outside

Kiddos need time to be outdoors. . .

play outdoors in any weather, play outside

climbing trees or just hanging out.


I’m grateful to have connected with a totally new-for-me company who just so happens to make incredible clothes for children, especially outerwear.  We’ve had a chance to try out a few products from Polarn O. Pyret for the last few months, and my kids love them. And my kids haven’t really ever loooooved their coats.  Until now.

And one lucky teach mama reader will have a chance to win $50 towards some new gear for his or her little ones.  Yay!

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Play. Outdoors.  (No Matter the Weather!):  We know that though this week may be the exception, that there are rarely ‘perfect’ spring days.  Spring here in the eastern part of the US really does come in like a lion, with the wind, the chill, storms, and extremes, and it goes out like a lamb.  Finally, by May, the temperature’s a bit more consistent, the sun is (usually) shining, and everything seems a bit more. .  . peaceful.

And though it’s not always easy to schlep little ones outdoors when the weather’s a little ‘less than perfect’, we really need to try to get them outside.

play outdoors in any weather, play outside

It doesn’t have to be something big. . .

play outdoors in any weather, play outside

. . . it can be a walk through the neighborhood or . . .

play outdoors in any weather, play outside

. . . a walk in the woods.

Despite the weather, kids need to get out. And it’s our job to take them there.

According to a September 2009 column (Recess–It’s Indespensable!) in the National Association for the Education of Young Children’s Play, Policy, and Practice Interest Forum, there are some pretty important reasons for giving our kiddos free time outdoors each and every day. 

In fact, the article focused on the importance of recess–a time the authors describe as ‘It was a time to be outdoors; to organize our own games; to play on the swings, slides, and other playground equipment; or just to hang out with friends’ because, according to research, a staggering number of children don’t have time allotted to play each day (gasp), and some kids who do have ‘recess’ each day have it for only 1-15 minutes (huge gasp!).


play outdoors in any weather, play outside

Being outdoors has positive cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical benefits for children.

There are some real reasons that kids need time to play outdoors each day, cognitive, socio-emotional, and physical reasons:play outdoors in any weather, play outside

  • Children are less fidgety and more on-task when they have recess, and children with ADHD (attention deficit/ hyperactivity syndrome) are among those who benefit most.
  • Brain research shows a relationship  between physical activity and the development of brain connections.
  • On the playground, children exercise leadership, teach games to one another, take turns, and learn to resolve conflicts.
  • In a free choice situation, children learn negotiation skills in order to keep the play going.
  • On supervised playgrounds, particularly where children are taught games and conflict resolution skills, there is little fighting.
  • Children who are active during the day are more active after school, whereas children who are sedentary during the day tend to remain sedentary after school (couch potato syndrome).
  • Children’s activity levels are generally higher during recess than during physical education (PE). Recess and PE serve different purposes.

Information from NAEYC Play, Policy, and Practice Forum.

So let’s do it, right? Let’s get our kiddos outside. No matter the weather.


play outdoors in any weather, play outside

We know that some days, it doesn’t even matter what the weather is like–kids just need to be outside.

But for so many, the crazy spring weather is a deterrent, though it doesn’t have to be because some days, all you need is decent gear to keep your little ones comfortable outdoors.

Polarn O. Pyret wants to encourage families to make every day a play day this spring (I like that!), and the week of March 12-16 (that’s this week!) they want parents to pledge to get their kiddos outside, no matter the weather.  So hit those playgrounds, walk to school, so some outside chores, or just enjoy a hike.  Share your photos or play ideas on their Facebook page!

And to celebrate, Polarn O. Pyret will be coordinating a spring outerwear promo (20% off) from March 1-March 18, and hopefully parents can find some great gear for their little ones.  Half the battle is just finding the right clothing to keep kids comfortable outdoors, and these are products that do it. Hands down.


GIVEAWAY: A $50 gift card to Polarn O. Pyret!

Do you want to win a $50 gift card to Polarn O. Pyret?!

  • All you have to do is leave a comment here sharing what YOU look for in children’s outerwear!play outdoors in any weather, play outside

For extra entries:

  • Tweet this: Play outdoors! And win $50 for @polarnopyretusa on @teachmama — http://wp.me/p1NAxy-1F8 #play #weteach #ece #giveaway
  • Share this post on your Facebook page–very easy!
  • Share this post with a friend (just tell me who you shared it with!)
  • Pin this post on Pinterest! (Use ‘pin it!’ button below post!)


By entering this giveaway, you are demonstrating your understanding of and compliance with the Official Sweepstakes Rules.

This is a quick giveaway for a Quick Trick, and it ends Saturday, March 17, 2012 at midnight ET. Winner will be chosen by ‘And the Winner is. . .’ and will be notified on or around 3/17/12.  Winner must respond within three (3) days of notification or forfeit the prize, in which case an alternate winner will be selected.  All Official Sweepstakes Rules apply.


fyi: I am a PO.P Brand Ambassador, and I received products for review (including the snazzy fleeces in the photos), but my opinions–as always–are my own, influenced only by my three littles who have been the ones using the PO.P products.  This is an unsponsored post, and PO.P is providing the $50 gift card to one teachmama reader for the giveaway.




  1. says

    It has to be comfortable and easy to get on and off–meaning the kids need to be able to do it themselves with little to no help from me!

  2. says

    Yay! As you know, my kids attend(ed) a Waldorf school, and they play outside EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. The first time I heard of indoor recess was when my older child entered public school. Holy cow. I am grateful for the recommendation of another great kid’s gear company, because we have great outdoor gear at our house so that my kids enjoy being outside. My top, must-have, is a pair of rain pants. We splash in a lot of puddles, and these are just essential. A good pair keeps out wind, too, so has use on more than just a rainy day. Now…to check out that company. Thank you! But please don’t buy snow boots next year. I miss the snow!

  3. says

    Wow.. The jackets look well-made and that is what I look for. I love the fun prints on them too! I know I get stuck in the Gymboree/target/children’s place rut sometimes and always appreciate a good recommendation for clothes!

  4. Dana says

    Love this! This week has been msa testing for B (boo!), but on the upside, there’s been no homework this week (yay!), so we’ve actually had time to just play and ride bikes and climb trees (double yay!). I purposefully try to not overschedule my kids and I feel overwhelmed and like we never have any time. I can’t imagine how (or why) people who actually do organized activities with their kids do it!!! Anyway, in outerwear for my kids I like functionality, durability, easy to clean and fun detailing!

  5. Jaynee says

    I LOVE this article! My 8 yr old daughter started a Nature Club last year and we’ll be doing it again this year. We invited around 35 friends and their parents to join us once a week for a fun outing in nature. Each week we had a theme (forts/fairy houses, flying kits, mushroom search, wildlife photography, etc.) It was so much fun and amazing to see how much kids really and truly NEED nature play.

    With regards to what I look for in children’s outerwear is waterproof-ness. Living in the Pacific NW we need to stay dry if we want to stay outside and play.

    Thanks again for your great article!

  6. Alexandra Lockwood says

    I look for durability. I have three boys and they play hard and when kids outdoor wear lasts I can pass it on to the younger child.

  7. says

    Too funny about the boots — this is the first year I didn’t buy snow boots in advance!!! We play outside all year round. My boys (esp our 6yo) really NEED it. In outerwear we look for items that can grow with our kids (maybe sleeves that are a tad too long one year!) and things that are thin enough to allow movement but warm enough to let us be outside for a long time.

  8. Betsy says

    I look for kids outerwear that provides the same quality and warmth that we the parents wear. Kids are going to have fun if there basic needs are met i.e. warmth/dry/ and not hungry.

  9. Megan says

    Great article. There really is no better place for kids. In outdoor clothing I look for clothing that keeps them warm and/or dry, is easy for parents and kids to put on and off and looks great no matter the occasion!

  10. says

    So excited about this giveaway! I have had my eye on P.o.P gear for awhile!

    I am always looking for outerwear that’s going to be practical for being outside, and also has the potential to be worn for more than one season!


  11. carey stanley says

    I look for comfort, durability, and quality in my kids’ outerwear. Unfortunately, most kids’ clothing lines lack in all three. However, I love PO.P. Their shells are well-made, weather proof, and durable. My little man adores his windproof fleece by PO.P as well. And their winter outdoor booties for infants are incredible! PO.P is my go-to for outerwear, and their sales are excellent!

  12. Erin says

    I’m glad to read about this company!! I really need a coat for my son right now as winter is ending where I live. I look for something with a hood for windy midwest days!

  13. says

    Great post! I love to listen in on my kiddos play while they are outside. They come up with the most complex scenarios and relate to each other in such a collaborative manner. (Inside-they’d probably be arguing over a toy!) Thanks for offering this giveaway–I definitely look for something that cleans up/washes well!

  14. Erin Zackey says

    Wow! This is a really good site to know about as I teach Outdoor School! So, I look for durable materials, and waterproof, warm gear for my kiddos here in the NW! Thanks!

  15. Kelly says

    Fabulous post :-). Love making time for outdoor play! My daughter was outside with a mini cupcake tin yesterday making leprechaun food. She came inside wet, covered with mud and quite pleased with her creation. We are definitely in need of some waterproof coats. Thanks for the giveaway.

  16. Brandy says

    There are a bundle of reasons we chose to take our kids out of school to give homeschooling a try, but one was for this very reason. One day my daughter got in the car after school and out of the blue, cried. I asked her what was wrong and she said, “I just wanted to play today. We didn’t get a break at all.” And it was only first grade. I wondered how much worse it was going to get. She didn’t complain any more that year, because she’s not really a complainer. And I did wonder if she was just particularly tired or emotional that day. But regardless, it did get me thinking about how important play is for my kids. My oldest son is in kindergarten (supposed to be pre-k) this year and I try to keep his school day very very short. He needs so so so much play. And it’s not hurting him academically at all. He reads on a second grade level, is working through a rigorous 1st grade math curriculum, and just submitted a 100 word book he wrote for the PBS writing contest. I can’t say a lot of play is the reason, but I do know for him, he would be less successful if I tried to get him to do school for a certain number of hours a day. He would just shut down.

    Now, to answer the question of what I look for in children’s outerwear. If it’s the winter, then I look for comfort, warmth, and easy to clean. (we had no winter here…didn’t even use our coats once…I loved it!) For the summer, I’m usually looking for a great pair of shoes that can go hiking, but are cool so that feet don’t get too hot…and they must be waterproof. Sorry this is so long.

  17. Christy Reed says

    I really need outdoor pants because my 16-month-old still spends a lot of time on her knees! Sometimes I don’t want to go out just because her pants will get all messy! So rugged knees and maybe even waterproof pants is what I look for!

  18. says

    Children’s clothing needs to be easy to get on and off for the child. I love “handles” on rain boots and zippers on jackets. They also need to wash well. I hate having to do a separate load for certain items. I prefer to throw all child items in one load. Thank you for an awesome giveaway!

  19. Hollie says

    I try to find clothes that won’t frustrate my children when they are putting them on/taking them off – they want to put them on/take them off by themselves and I want them to, too. My daughter has rainboots right now without handles to pull them up and gets so upset when she can’t get them on easily.

  20. says

    It has to be durable, but I also like bright colors and patterns a little different from what everyone else is buying in a big box store so that I can quickly spot my kids in a crowd.

  21. Jodi Olson says

    it needs to be durable to last through not only a season but all 3 of my kiddos! (with hopes of handing it down!) It also should be cute and not like what everyone else is wearing!


  1. […] Though it’s no secret that I am an advocate for parents doing what they can to sneak in some learning into their children’s days (it’s what I’ve been writing about for almost six years now–and boy, the tabletop surprises have really taken off!), I’ve also written many times about the importance of free play and time outdoors. […]