Winter is a great time to get outside and enjoy parks, woods, playgrounds and natural attractions (often with smaller crowds) but only if you and the kids are warm enough.
Outdoor clothing specialist Muddy Puddles has adopted the essence of the words of famous fell walker Alfred Wainwright in its motto: “There’s no such thing as bad weather only the wrong kit.” There’s a lot of truth in it too.
Even when its raining, being outside can be a great adventure providing you have all the gear to keep you warm and dry.
We all know the basics of what we and the kids need to kit us out for winter but considering a few details when you make your purchases can make all the difference.
1. A good winter coat
Obviously, our kids need a coat, but looking at the specific features of the one you buy will ensure it’s a wise purchase. You may have already learned the hard way and bought one that doesn’t quite do the job this winter. Remember now is a good time to grab a bargain on a winter coat as retailers begin to look towards the next season. Buying one that is a little roomier now means your child may even still get to use it next winter too.
A longer line coat that comes down below the waist will keep their backs warm and a fleece lining will make it extra snuggly.
Make sure the coat you choose is guaranteed to be waterproof. Coats that aren’t are really not worth it even if they’re super cheap. And a hood is an absolute must.
A dark colour and/or pattern are sensible to avoid showing every little mark and make sure it’s washable. Let’s face it, winter means mud and it’s easy for a coat to start looking grubby.
2. Waterproof all-in-one
Most of us buy a snowsuit for our babies but as kids get bigger all-in-ones become less common. Despite that, they’re a great investment.
A waterproof all-in-one can be slipped over whatever your little one is wearing to protect their regular clothes from being ruined when playing outside.
An all-in-one will also ensure kids remain warm and dry.
Waterproof trousers are a sensible alternative, especially to allow quicker action if there’s a rush for the loo! Those with braces will hold up better on tiny waists whilst still keeping kids’ backs warm. Similarly those with straps that hook under their feet provide extra protection.
A lightish weight waterproof suit or trousers mean you can layer up as necessary underneath and they’ll still be useful when the weather starts to warm up.
For skiing or really cold environments padded salopettes are a must.
3. Multiple pairs of gloves is a good idea
There’s a reason our mums used to send us to school with our gloves on a string that ran through the sleeves of our coat and across our backs – it stops them getting lost!
It can be a nightmare trying to keep track of your child’s gloves when they take them to school each day. Consider buying a few pairs of cheap gloves (perhaps even in the same style) so that when one inevitably goes missing it isn’t a disaster.
In addition, invest in a good quality, padded waterproof pair to keep at home and make sure your little one is ready to get out and enjoy the snow if we get some.
4. Make sure they like their hat
Kids are notorious for refusing to wear their hats in both summer and winter, but a good close fitting hat will keep them warm like nothing else.
Improve the chances of them be willing to wear it by letting them help to choose one they like. Consider one with ear flaps or under the chin velcro or ties to keep their whole head warm and help it stay in place. A balaclava can’t be beaten for ultimate warmth.
And remember, in our excitement at how cute they look, we all have a tendency to giggle when we see our child in their hat, but that might make them think they look silly! Is it any wonder they don’t want to wear them?
5. A fun scarf
Of course, scarves are a must for practicality and keeping the wind out, but they’re also an opportunity to brighten up an outfit and give your child a chance to express themselves.
If you’ve gone for a sensible darker tone coat, in particular, use the accessories to make your child’s outfit more fun.
6. Boots are so much warmer than shoes
A nice boot that covers the ankle provides so much more warmth than a shoe.
Good leather boots can be eye-wateringly expensive especially when, at the rate they grow, children are very likely only to wear them for one season. Do make sure your child likes the boots you choose and they fit well to ensure they’re keen to wear them and you get your money’s worth.
If you can’t stretch to a leather pair of boots consider getting a nice fluffy and comfortable snow boot for your child to wear on the days when it’s particularly cold.
7. Wellies are a must
Even if you’ve invested in a good boot (or perhaps especially if you have) wellies are the only thing for some occasions. They’ll stop those good boots being ruined by jumping in mud and puddles.
Fleece lined wellies will offer extra comfort and some proper, nice thick welly socks will help for narrower feet. Consider a fluffy inner sole also to both provide a better fit and add some protection because whilst wellies are practical in water and mud, they’re not traditionally good at keeping feet warm.
8. A lighter waterproof coat
On the most cold of days your child will need their proper winter coat, but a lighter waterproof jacket is great for milder wet days or when they’re doing something particularly active outside.
A lighter jacket is less restrictive and you can remove layers underneath as your child starts to heat up whilst still allowing them protection from rain, snow and wind.
9. Invest in a thermal layer
A proper thermal layer is lightweight but will provide supreme warmth without bulk.
A lot of people make the mistake of wearing a light cotton layer next to the skin but it is actually likely to make you cooler.
10. A proper wool jumper is a must
There’s a reason fishermen still wear woolen jumpers – you can’t beat them for warmth.
Merino Wool is widely felt to be softer and less scratchy against the skin which will make kids more likely to be happy in it.
Inspiration to get outside