There’s no escaping it….it’s cold! And if you’re little one is anything like mine playing outside in winter can feel like pulling teeth when they are fed up and cold. It doesn’t help when they refuse to wear their coat…yet it’s freeezing!!
As you can probably tell, I’m an outdoorsy mum. I think being outside is good for my family. Everyone eats, sleeps and plays better when we’re outdoors and we all tend to get along better when we’ve had a good dose of fresh air! Research shows that playing outside boosts immune system – especially when there are so many nasty bugs circulating around indoors. We get our hearts pumping, our imagination flowing and our moods lifted by exposure to that much needed vitamin D. However, despite loving the great outdoors I am unashamed to admit – I hate getting cold! I really do.
So, here are my tips for maximum enjoyment from playing outside in winter.
1) Base layers! Sounds very adventurous doesn’t it! It’s the technical term for vests and long johns. Pretty obvious, but it was a revelation to me when I found some good ones. And it makes a HUGE difference with my youngest – who can be really miserable in the cold. Thick, long-sleeve thermal vests and thermal long-johns/leggings are amazing if you’re playing outside in the cold.
Merino wool is the snuggest, but can be scratchy for little ones and expensive, so if you don’t want to spend that much, cheap packs of thermals from Tesco and Mountain Warehouse are all fine. For a few more pennies, I would recommend M&S do some super cosy thermals for little ones.
2) Lots of Layers. Jeans, longsleeve t-shirts, tights, tops…whatever you’ve got. You don’t want them to have so many clothes on they’re like the michelin man – we want comfort and flexibility here! I generally put a sweater and lined trousers/thick joggers on my boys over the base layer
3) Thick Socks – especially if you’re wearing wellies. Nothing worse than cold toes!
4) – Puddlesuit. This is the pièce de résistance of winter-wear! We bought two padded Regatta suits last year for the boys and they still fit now. They are amazing! My eldest loves the fact that he can lie down IN A PUDDLE and not get wet! There are lots of brands available and worth a search on the internet, but if you are up for playing outdoors a lot this winter I really recommend the £15. Ebay also has loads of second-hand suits available, so it’s often easy to pick up a bargain.
5) Hat’s, scarfs, gloves….if you can get them on. Personally, my two hate them and, as a result, will leave a trail of woollen accessories everywhere we go. I try to insist on a hat (did you know we lose 80% of our body heat from our heads!), but if we have the above covered then I can be ok with no scarf.
6) Warm drinks! The cold can dehydrate little ones fairly quickly, so keep warm and hydrated with hot drinks. A flask of warm spiced apple juice has been our favourite this year. Here’s a quick recipe:
- 1 Bottle Apple Juice
- 2 squeezed oranges/glass of orange juice
- 4/5 Cloves
- cinnamon stick
All simmered together to warm up. Teaspoon of sugar if it tastes too tart. Strained into a flask. Yummmm.
And if you’re short of ideas on what to do outside, check out the Woodland Trusts Nature Detectives – jam packed with cool (to freezing) ideas for a wintery outdoor adventure. We can’t wait to have a go at the ice lantern this weekend!
So that’s what we do to keep our winter play fun outdoors. What about you? Do you have any top winter warmer tips? Funny stories? Do you wear a hot waterbottle in your coat or, like an ex-colleague of mine, use your dog’s bagged poo as a hand warmer? We’d love to hear…