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Whether you’re reading this while we’re in lockdown and looking for local adventures during the winter, or are reading this when we’re finally allowed to get out on adventures again, it is so important to dress the kids properly for the weather.
Our daily walk after homeschooling and home working really helps our body and minds, and winter is a fantastic time of year to explore, but even though we’re still walking from home, we make sure we prepare for the winter weather.
It may be cold outside, it may be wet, but that doesn’t stop the little adventurers who love to explore, unless their clothing isn’t quite right. We accidentally forgot a spare pair of socks once, on the same day Lily’s feet met an icy wave, leaving her with cold and wet feet and making her very miserable when the cold set in! We did find a shop to get some more, but it was a mistake we definitely learned from!
So, without further ado, here are a few ideas for how we dress our little girl for days out in the winter – and some top tips for not what to forget!
Wellies or walking boots
In the winter time, for outdoor walks, Lily prefers her walking boots. She finds them more comfortable and finds wellies often slip or get stuck in the mud. She likes to climb and we generally walk longer distances, making her walking boots more of a go-to for us.
She now has the Cotswold Ducklington Walking Boots (*gifted from Little Trekkers), which are also waterproof, meaning she can wear them in the puddles and streams as an alternative to wellies – although they aren’t quite as long as wellies, we do find walking boots a much better option for us as she can walk further in them and still has dry feet at the end of it.
However, wellies are a staple part of every parenting life, from forest school to muddy puddles. They’re easier to clean than walking boots and more likely to keep the water out as they tend to be longer, so the deeper puddles are more reachable!
Snow boots are great for winter – extremely cosy and can prevent slipping around. We find walking boots are a great alternative for us, as we are rarely in snowy conditions, and her feet grow so fast that it isn’t affordable to replace so many different types of shoes. However, if we were to make it back to the mountains again, it is something we would look at.
For everyday use we use welly socks in her walking boots, but for further walks we use ski socks as they are less likely to slip down and padded for comfort. Merino socks are also a great option to keep your little one’s feet cosy.
Don’t forget to layer…
Layering is our top tip when it comes to dressing kids for the outdoors, especially as we can never predict the weather, and it is easy to add/take away layers if needed. If you’d like to check out our full tips for taking kids on winter adventures, check out our winter tips blog post.
Lily has two main jackets (three if you count her school coat!) that we use through the winter – a waterproof rain jacket that is fantastic for layering under and incredibly waterproof, aswell as a thermal winter puffer jacket.
Her waterproof rain jacket is the Spotty Otter Forest Ranger jacket (*Gifted from Little Trekkers), which we have found is the most waterproof jacket Lily has ever owned thanks to its PU fabric outer, that not only keeps her dry in the downpours and splashing in the stream, but it is also wipe clean – a total saviour for parents of kids who love the mud!
It is very high quality and heavy duty, just a bit thinner than most winter jackets so we layer up on fresher days.
Now the weather is very cold, she’s now enjoying having a thicker jacket on again, and this year she is loving the Didriksons Puff Jacket. We love how it is still lightweight but super cosy, so she is beautifully toasty with her layers and fleece on underneath and the jacket on over the top. It is also not too bulky, so still lets her be as active as she likes.
Her choice of trousers depends on where we’re going. She usually wears leggings, with tights or welly socks pulled up underneath, mainly because she finds these more comfortable. We also have waterproof overtrousers that roll up into our backpacks. They are only cheap ones, however they are lightweight and do the job when needed, such as in downpours.
If your kids are fond of swimming in puddles, then there are some fantastic trousers out there, such as the Spotty Otter waterproof trousers or even waterproof dungarees that are great under the jacket for full waterproofing.
We also have some base layers that we sometimes use under her leggings when she needs extra warmth and for longer walks, as these stop her getting sweaty but still keep her cosy.
Lily wears a vest, long-sleeve t-shirt and her fleece underneath her jacket. We sometimes use her base layer long sleeve top and the leggings which we bought for £3 from Sainsbury’s, and then add her fleece and other layers on top. She even uses her layers for football club (when it’s running!).
You can get thermal base layers too which we use in the mountains, but for local walks, we generally just layer up, add the fleece and then her jacket!
Accessories are a given when it comes to winter days out (and spring, autumn and summer too!). We have so many hats for her, but her favourite is her hat from Ariella’s Closet* which has a thermal band inside to cover her ears and stop it from slipping off! She has a few other lighter hats too that she likes to use for under her helmet when riding her bike, as well as when the weather isn’t quite so warm, so she stays cosy without overheating.
She also has a whole range of snoods, which she prefers to scarves as she gets less muddled and can pull them over her nose. We bought ours from Frerebears which are fleece-lined and I have one too!
We have several pairs of gloves for her, depending on what we’re doing. We have a multipack of supermarket gloves that she uses for general days out – they’re quite thin, so we often layer them up, so have the gloves on first and then the mitts on top, but if it isn’t too chilly outside, then she finds them lightweight.
They’re also great for stashing in backpacks, so if she falls in the mud/puddles, we can easily swap them over for a clean/dry pair.
We also have some waterproof snow gloves for her that are great for keeping cosy in the snow or when she won’t be using her hands much, but they are quite clunky for daily use.
The sun is quite low right now, so we have sunglasses in our backpacks ready for when we need them as it can be quite bright, even if it is cold, and especially if they’re reflecting off frost or snow. We were gifted the Julbo Romy sunglasses from Little Trekkers which are the only sunglasses that she’s ever kept on her face as they don’t slip off and protect her eyes too!
After years of carrying Lily’s things around with me, I bought her a Jack Wolfskin backpack for Christmas. Most backpacks, even child-sized, she gets annoyed with as they are in the way and slip off, but she barely notices this one on as it is padded, comfortable and has a chest strap to keep it in place when she is running/climbing/jumping around!
In Lily’s backpack…
Finally, here’s what we put in Lily’s backpack for a day out.
Although I carry plenty of things in my own backpack, as well as a flask, a mini first aid kit and lunchbox, I’m now happy Lily can take some of her own things too:
- Spares: a spare pair of gloves or mitts and a pair of dry socks are standard
- Water bottle: she always gets thirsty – we love the metal bottles as they fit nicely in her side pockets and keep the water fresh and cool
- Explorer books: we got her the Usborne Minis for Christmas and she carries the bugs, trees and birds books around with her – they’re also a great distraction if she starts to get tired when we’re still not home yet!
- Kidnoculars: we bought her some Kidnoculars from Learning Resources UK and now they have to come everywhere with her!
- Sunglasses: as mentioned earlier, keep these handy for sudden, bright burst of low sunshine!
- Toys: she always has to take a ‘friend’ with her, so having her own backpack keeps that limited on size and number as I make her carry them herself now, rather than me held down with a whole party of toys!
- A snack: I take the main lunch if we are out for the day, but Lily has a little snack in there which is nice to help her have independence over when she wants to eat it!
Please remember, there will always be a day when it is too wet, too cold, too miserable, or the kids are just too tired to head out. I just hope some of the ideas above can help you prepare as best as you can for those days that you can go out, as having the added addition of being too cold or not being prepared for emergencies can make winter days out a bit trickier.
Our main tips are to:
- Be prepared
- Stay safe
- Have fun