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Participants enjoy the view of the Pittsburgh skyline from a kayak.

Play ALL Year ‘Round Outside

Participants enjoy the view of the Pittsburgh skyline from a kayak.

Originally posted on Playful Pittsburgh Collaborative

It’s a cold, November afternoon. It’s sunny and students at Phillips Recreation Center know they have Venture Outdoors today. “Are we going outside?” they ask cheerfully. “Yes, we are!”

As temperatures drop and Pittsburgh starts to see snow, Venture Outdoors will continue going outdoors with students because the benefits of the great outdoors never stops. To name a few, getting outdoors increases attention span, decreases stress, allows kids to learn new skills, and practice creativity and problem solving. You can hear more about the benefits of the outdoors here.

We aim to provide students with the gear they need to get outside in the winter. That includes cold-weather gear, like hats, gloves, and coats, to ensure that students are adequately prepared to play in the cold temperatures. Sometimes we sweeten things up and make hot cocoa or s’mores!

To keep us warm we play games designed to keep everyone constantly moving. Bikes are still ridden, trails are still hiked, and geocaches are continuously being found. Venture Outdoors’ students are outside building shelters, learning about campfires, and playing games in local parks. Students at Phillips Recreation Center can be found bundled up outside, ready to build a snowman or give snowshoeing a try.




If you’re playing outside this winter dress warm! To protect yourself from cold-weather illnesses, such as hypothermia and frost bite, dress in layers. A tight, dry-fit base layer will help wick sweat away, while a middle layer should be looser to create warm air pockets. To stay dry, the outer layer should be waterproof. We lose heat fastest through our heads—wearing a hat is a must! Waterproof gloves help keep hands warm and dry.

To lower your child’s risk of cold-related illnesses, be on the lookout for these symptoms that indicate hypothermia—shivering, unusually clumsy play, bluish cold extremities, drowsiness, or a burning sensation in fingers and toes.  Click here for more information on how to respond and treat cold-related illness.

 We’ll see you outside, Pittsburgh!

Kelly Sarkis

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