Playground Fun in the Winter
- Benefits of Using Your Playground in the Winter
- Construction Designs for Safe Winter Play
- Winter Playground Safety
- Winter Playground Activities
- Enjoy Our Equipment Year-Round
When the temperature drops, wooden playsets tend to get much less use than they do in the summer months. Instead of abandoning your backyard playground in the winter, get creative — and safe — with winter fun on your playset.
Benefits of Using Your Playground in the Winter
People tend to spend a lot more time indoors during the winter, especially in cold climates with ice and snow. It’s natural to want to hibernate, but heading outdoors with the kids has many benefits. A backyard playground is the perfect way to reap those benefits.
Check out these reasons to get out and enjoy your backyard play equipment:
- Fresh air: It may be cold air, but it’s still fresh. Heading outdoors in the winter gets you out of the house and breathing in the outdoor air, which makes you feel invigorated.
- Sunshine: Just like fresh air, sunshine makes you feel good, and it gives you and the kids a dose of Vitamin D. Since most people don’t spend as much time outdoors during winter as they do in the summer, it’s important to take any opportunity you can to soak up that Vitamin D.
- Exercise: You can only be so active indoors. Enjoying your playset in the winter gives kids a way to stretch their legs and stay active. They get the exercise they need while having fun.
- Change of scenery: All that winter hibernation can leave you with a case of cabin fever. Take a break from the same indoor activities by taking playtime outdoors to the backyard playset.
- A Different perspective: Your kids are used to the playset during the summer months. Adding in snow gives the playset a different vibe. Winter play can make the equipment seem more exciting than it was in the summer months.
- Imagination: Playing outdoors in winter is a great way to spark your child’s imagination. The cold temperatures and snowy landscape may give your child new ideas for playing creatively.
Construction Designs for Safe Winter Play
The quality and design of your playground equipment play a role in safe use during the winter months. Year-round safety starts with a durable playset made from quality materials. Those materials hold up better throughout the year, even in U.S. climates with extreme temperature differences between the summer and winter months.
Superior Play Systems® is the exclusive retailer of Playground One® Playset Equipment. Playground One® uses 100 percent Pacific cedar in their playsets, which naturally repels fungus and pests. That resistance to damage means the wood remains strong throughout the year. The solid beam construction offers greater strength and stability than engineered wood or pieces of wood glued together without the risk of buckling or warping. With a strong foundation for your outdoor play system, you can feel comfortable letting your kids play on it during the winter months.
The hardware in these playsets is made from hot-dipped galvanized steel to prevent corrosion and remain strong through all seasons. That strength is suitable for all climates in the U.S. and lasts season after season without worry of damage. Playground One® also uses a recessed hardware design and snag-free safety hardware, so you can worry less about your kids’ coats and other winter gear getting caught.
Snow and slippery conditions are a risk factor when using your outdoor play structures in the winter. Playground One®’s special “gotcha” grips on trapeze bars, handgrips, handrails and ladders prevent dangerous slipping. Your kids can get a better grip, so they can safely climb on the equipment. The grips start as hot-dipped galvanized steel rods for a strong base. They get a powder-coated, dimpled finish for extra grip.
Protected chains on swings and other components also improve winter safety. Those coatings protect your kids’ hands from injury and gloves from snagging.
The combination of quality materials and integrated safety features makes a quality playset ideal for outdoor winter play. The construction is strong enough to withstand play even during the cold, snowy months. Those extra touches reduce the risk of injury when your kids head outdoors in winter wearing their warm coats, hats and gloves.
Winter Playground Safety
Before heading outdoors in the winter, it’s important to understand how to keep your kids safe. Many of the same rules you use in the summer apply in winter, but you also need to take extra precautions. Cold temperatures and potential slick conditions from snow and ice require a few extra steps for preventing playground injuries.
Keep kids safe with these winter playground safety tips:
- Inspect the equipment: Thoroughly inspect the playground equipment before the temperature drops too much. It’s much easier to do a safety check on the equipment before the snow starts to fly. Tighten loose bolts and screws to keep the structure stable. Repair or replace broken, damaged or rotten parts.
- Provide supervision: Winter playground activities require constant adult supervision to ensure kids stay safe, especially young kids who may not understand the risks of snow and cold. Remind kids of winter safety rules. Watch for signs of hypothermia.
- Check for snow and ice: Each time you head outdoors, do a quick inspection to check for snow and ice. You can brush small amounts of snow off the equipment to make it safe for use, but ice can be very dangerous. If it’s a thin layer, chip the ice off the structure. Avoid using areas with thick ice that you can’t remove.
- Check the temperature: Fresh air is a good thing, but if the temperature drops too low, your child is at risk for frostbite. Dress your child appropriately based on the conditions at that time.Tight-fitting coats, hats and gloves protect your child’s exposed skin from the cold temperatures.
- Avoid loose clothes: Any loose items on your child’s clothes present a strangulation hazard. Skip the scarf when bundling up your child, as it can get caught on slides, railings and other structures. If you do use scarves, tuck the ends in to avoid issues. Dangling hood drawstrings can also get caught.
If you live in a very cold, snowy, icy climate, you may choose to remove some of the detachable parts of your playset before winter — including things like swings and canopies that may become brittle or damaged in the harsh weather. You can still use the remaining parts of the structure, like the slides and platforms, even if you remove some of the items.
Winter Playground Activities
You’ve bundled up the kids. What do you do now? Your backyard playground offers many opportunities for winter-specific fun. Choose activities that appeal to your kids and are age-appropriate. Your kids may come up with their own creative ways to enjoy your playset in the winter. Encourage that creativity.
Try these fun activities with your kids:
Snowball target — Take aim with kids of all ages with a creative snowball activity. Kids love throwing snowballs, and this is a safe way to do it without hitting each other. Create a target on the playset. Make sure it’s something that won’t be damaged if hit by a snowball. You can also create multiple targets, each with varying point values. The kids make piles of snowballs and try hitting those targets. Keep score, or just toss the snowballs for fun.
If you don’t want to throw snowballs at the playset, reverse the idea. Identify targets in the yard, or create targets by placing hula hoops or other objects on the ground around the playground equipment. Make a bucket of snowballs, carry them onto the playset and toss them toward the targets on the ground.
Snow fort — Add a bit of secrecy to the play equipment by building snow forts around them. This is an activity both younger and older kids can enjoy. Who doesn’t love a good fort? Kids can turn areas under platforms into secret forts by making snow walls. Another option is to build a snow wall near a swing. Once you finish making it, hop on the swing and bust through the snow wall.
Snow slide — Create a fun way to slide in the winter by piling snow at the bottom of the slide. Kids land in the soft, powdery snow at the end for an exciting finish to the slide. For an extra powdery surprise, toss a little loose snow toward your child as she comes down the slide. The snow gently covers her for a fun, exhilarating experience.
Snowball race — Another way to use your slide in winter is to hold snowball races. Each child makes a snowball. They release the snowballs simultaneously from the top of the slide to see whose snowball reaches the bottom first. This activity doubles as a learning activity for slightly older kids because they can compare snowball size and other features to figure out what works best.
Hot cocoa in the fort — If your playset has a wooden fort on it, use it as a fun place to drink hot cocoa. You can use the hot cocoa to warm up during your outdoor play adventures. It’s a unique twist on the tradition of sipping the chocolatey beverage in winter.
Swing — Some things don’t have to change for winter use. Swings work just as well in winter as they do in summer. They’re relatively safe because kids don’t have to climb or move around on them, so the risk of slipping decreases. Superior Play offers a wide variety of Wooden Swing Set models to choose from for your backyard!
Winter obstacle course — Incorporate the playset into an outdoor winter obstacle course. The activities you include depend on your backyard and available resources. Plus, you can customize the course based on your kids’ ages. If it’s snowy and you have a hill, you might have the kids climb the hill, sled down, jump over snow hurdles, climb up the playset ladder, go down the slide and knock over targets with snowballs. Adjust the obstacles based on your current conditions and backyard design.
Dramatic play — Encourage your young child to get creative through dramatic play activities. Young kids are naturally drawn to pretend play, so it makes sense to extend that activity outdoors. Instead of using the equipment strictly for playing, encourage kids to pretend it’s something else. They might use it as a bear cave or base camp for a mountain climbing expedition, for example. Encourage them to get creative with their ideas. Use props to add to the creativity. For example, you might gather rocks and sticks to make a pretend fire.
Snow castles — Instead of building sand castles in your sandbox, use your sand buckets and shovels to play in the snow. It’s a fun way for young kids to learn about using items creatively. Even older kids suddenly see the sand toys in a new and more exciting light. See what kind of snow castles you can create with the buckets. Use shovels to create roads through the snow for toy vehicles.
Bird feeding station — Help the birds who stay for winter by using your playset as a bird feeding station. Make your own bird feeders, and hang them on the playset. One easy option is to spread peanut butter on an empty toilet paper tube and roll it in birdseed. The birdseed sticks to the peanut butter to create the feeder. You can also use a pine cone.
Once you start feeding birds in the winter, you need to continue feeding them, because the animals grow to rely on that food source. If you don’t want the birds around the playset, hang the bird feeders in another part of the yard, and sit in the playset to watch your new feathered friends enjoy a snack. This activity is a great way for kids of all ages to observe birds.
Tag base — A friendly game of tag is a classic option kids love and a great way to warm up on a chilly winter day. All that chasing and tagging gets the heart rate pumping and increases the body temperature. Use the playset as a tag base. Kids are “safe” if they’re touching a certain part of the playset.
Winter nature walk station — Winter is the perfect time to wander the yard or neighborhood in search of unique natural elements. Walk with your child to find things like nuts, berries and pine cones. Collect them in a small bag. When you’re done with your walk, climb into the wooden fort on your playset to examine the findings. Kids can sort out the items based on different characteristics, so the activity is just as educational as it is fun.
Winter investigations — Check out the winter wonderland in your backyard from a higher point of view on the playset. Grab binoculars and look around the yard for interesting sights like animal tracks, icicles or wind-blown piles of snow.
Holiday decorating — Customize the playset with festive decorations for the winter months. Hang a wreath on the playset, or decorate it with holiday bows. If you have a fort play area on your set, put up a mini Christmas tree inside, so your kids can pretend it’s their home. If you removed a canopy for winter, string Christmas lights where the canopy goes for a fun, twinkling addition to the playset.
Use caution when decorating the playset. Avoid placing anything on handrails and other safety equipment. Remind kids to never touch lights if you use them for decorating.
Snowman creations — When it’s snowy outside, help your kids build lots of mini snowmen around the play area. You might build a tiny snowman on a swing, at the top of the slide or in the sandbox. Build slightly larger snowmen around the playset as guards. The playset can be the castle, and the snowmen are the royal guards.
Scavenger hunt — Use the playset for a mini scavenger hunt. Hide several small plastic snowflakes or other items on and around the playset. The kids collect as many of the snowflakes as they can find. The person with the most items gets to hide them for the next round.
Winter constellation search — Head out to the playset on a clear night to explore the constellations. You’ll get a good view of the sky from the playset if you’ve removed the canopy for the season. Place a blanket down on the platform to create a warm, cozy spot. You can use a star map or download a smartphone app that identifies the constellations as you point your phone to the sky. Create your own constellations by pointing out star configurations and saying what you think they look like.
Kids’ choice — Let your kids come up with their own games or activities. Remind them of the safety rules of using the playground equipment in winter, then let their imaginations run wild with fun ways to interact with the play equipment when it’s cold outside.
Enjoy Our Equipment Year-Round
Superior Play Systems® offers great equipment for year-round fun. Playground One® Playsets use high-quality materials to build lasting play equipment that can handle even harsh winter weather, so your kids can play safely year-round. Snag-free safety hardware won’t catch winter gear as your kids play. “Gotcha” grips let your kids hold on tightly, even when they’re wearing gloves or mittens.
When you choose the quality and durability of Playground One® equipment, the fun doesn’t have to stop just because it gets cold and snowy. Get creative with your kids this winter, knowing they can play safely year-round thanks to Superior Play Systems®.
Did you know that Superior Play Systems® offers kids the chance to play indoors during the winter months? Try out all of our Wooden Playset models in a climate-controlled building and find your favorite ones! Visit the Superior Play Systems® location closest to you today and join us in Play!