La Crosse Nature Guide

A one-stop resource of outdoor places for nature connections in La Crosse County

Top 3 Benefits of Outdoor Play



During the long winter months, it is common for children to be restricted to indoor play at home, and only permitted to play outdoors when it is warm and sunny. Some parents feel that their children will not “like” being outside in the cold, or that they will get sick from being outside in the cold fresh air. For this reason, it is particularly important that young children enjoy outdoor activities in their early childhood education service.


Winter play is important!

- Playing outdoors in winter promotes physical development and well-being. According to the CDC, children and adolescents need 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.


- Outdoor activities also promote emotional health benefits, such as self-confidence, and the ability to assess risks. By encouraging outdoor play in the winter, children learn to identify hazards, such as slippery surfaces, and moderate their behavior to ensure their safety.


- Social outdoor play also provides children the opportunity to exercise and stretch their imaginations. Does your child like to build things? Build a snow fort in the backyard with tunnels and a home base. Do you have access to a park? Go for a wildlife hike and look for birds and other woodland creatures.


Children should have all the opportunities possible to discover more about the world they live in!

This creation of this Guidebook was a collaborative effort, led by the Nature Connections program of the La Crosse County Health Department. The program is currently funded by Mayo Clinic Health System and the Paul E. Stry Foundation. Thank you to the following organizations for their support:

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