What to Wear??
We all love forest school, getting the children outside to enjoy some free, mucky play. But we don’t always love the mess that they can come home in….I know, I’ve had plenty experience. But over the years I have learnt a few good ways to minimise the damage and create a less stressful environment at the end of our playtime when we need to clean up and come home. Here are some of the key points for making muddy play more fun for everyone;
Keep your children warm
One thing guaranteed to put a dampener on a fun day out in the woods can be children getting cold. It can not be highlighted enough that keeping children warm will ensure that they, and you, have a fantastic time in the great outdoors. The key is to keeping the child’s core warm. If the core’s warm, they’re warm and if your suffering from a child that refuses to keep on their hats and gloves this is less of a worry. They’ll be generating enough heat from their core to keep those extremities cosy! Here’s a good checklist to work to for an outdoor outfit to keep your child snug as a bug:
Warm Woolly socks
Thermal top and bottoms.
Waterproof all-in-one or separates
Hat and Gloves
And really that’s it, layering up is the key. Particularly if you have a child who is prone to removing several layers of clothing (as I do), even by the time they’ve removed their jacket, hat and gloves there’s still a chance they’ve got a few layers left on to keep them warm.
Good quality clothing is great if you can afford it but improvising with leggings and old pairs of tights can work great too as thermals. I think out of all the items of clothing where quality is important I would say footwear is the only true area where a better quality really matters. Wellies, although waterproof are very cold and flimsy and often end up leaking. They also don’t provide very much support for those delicate growing feet. If I had to recommend 1 quality item for children to wear on their outdoor adventures it would be muck boots. Mucks boots are to Winter as Crocs are to Summer. They can be very expensive but I find that if your not fussy on colour you can normally pick up a a pair of purple/green one’s for half the price of other colours. Follow the link for the best priced muck boots currently on the market.
2. Warm Drinks and Snacks
So you’ve made it out, the children have had a great time but the cold is kicking in and the tears have started. The long painstaking walk back home is all of a sudden less appealing. This is when I pull out my secret weapon….hot chocolate. Thick, silken and warm with a small tub of flapjack or something else equally as sweet will give the children that little pick me up that will warm them through and get them home. I never leave home on a cold day without it.
3. Organisation is Key
Forearmed is forewarned as they say and anticipating that your children are potentially going to get mucky is an intelligent move. Bring a spare plastic bag or two for putting in mucky shoes, have a binbag or blanket in the car to lay on seating. I have seen me strip my children down and put them into the car in their underwear and then deliver straight to the shower on arriving home in particularly bad scenarios.
One thing that has worked quite well for us is having an area in the kitchen designated to mud. A plastic floor runner that can be wiped and used to store shoes and boots is ideal if you have a small hall or area in your kitchen that would work. then children can be stripped of their muddy attire at the door and led straight up to a warm welcoming shower as you get the dinner ready and the kids get their PJ’s on. Sometimes it runs like clockwork!
So next time the mud starts flying, breath deep and take a sip of hot chocolate, you’ve got this Momma….