Winter Too Cold For a Toddler to Play Outside? Hooray- the Answer is Probably Not!

Toddler Winter Play

We are officially in cold weather territory for the next few months and parents of little ones, we sympathize with the great “Is it too cold to play outside?” dilemma.

Fortunately, our friends at Romper checked in with some experts and the guidelines for temperature are lower than you might think.

If it’s freezing outside then toddlers are A-ok to play for a bit, but if it’s below -15 Fahrenheit, avoid going outside because of the rapid rate that skin can freeze. (but if its that cold, nobody’s gonna want to be out there anyway!)

NYC Doctor Dylan Hes notes that layers and covering extremities are the foundation to a good time outside in the winter, and the American Academy of Pediatrics adds that waterproof outerwear (snow pants, boots, and jacket) are important if it’s snowing or there’s snow on the ground.  

Aside from what to wear, which very likely is already part of your child’s winter repertoire, the time of being outside can make a huge difference, especially with windchill.

Toddlers should be outside no more than twenty minutes without coming indoors for a refresher.

If they need it, bribe with a warm drink (pro tip: we love organic apple juice warmed with cinnamon sticks for quick, easy, and healthy apple cider)! 

Fortunately, there is an advancing movement of parents, schools (such as Tiny Trees in Seattle, Washington), and health experts, such as those at Timbernook who are all working together to embrace year-round time outdoors.

This is becoming regarded as best practice for our little ones, so expect to see some exciting developments and helpful safety hints. If you like being a bit ahead of the curve, head outside this winter (within reason!) and enjoy the benefits of better sleep (especially naps), stronger focus/attention, and greater creativity starting today. Who needs cabin fever? Not us!  

If you’ve forgotten how to play outside during the winter, here are 6 outdoor winter activities to remind you how to have some winter fun with a tot!