Is it too soon to mention Christmas?

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I spend way too long scrolling through social media and it already seems that it’s full of people asking what shall I get my kids for Christmas! My Mum always started Christmas shopping early and took us in October half-term to do ours – so I (of course) prefer to do mine later to extend the excitement.

Anyway, other ideas for presents for your little ones (and you) to help you and them to get outside all year round….

Number 1 on the list for being outdoors is clothing. How many times have you heard people say, “There’s no such thing as bad weather – only bad clothing!” It really used to drive me mad, I think there are bad weather days where you’re better off staying indoors and doing a craft with your nature finds instead! But good clothing can extend your outdoor season massively.

Our Mountain Warehouse puddle suit was a great buy last year!

For toddlers and crawlers there’s nothing better than an all in one puddle suit. For toddlers, I like insulated ones with a padded warm layer or a fleece lining to ensure they stay toasty warm. Very little ones can get soft waterproof boots to wear under their suit. Two separate pieces will give you an extra few centimetres in leg length too. Don’t forget to put trouser legs over the top of their wellies/footies so water runs down the outside and not into their boots. Talking of boots, toddler walking boots are a great thing, if you can get waterproof ones and you can afford them with their feet growing all the time because they are much warmer than wellies but if you can’t find or afford those a good tip is to buy wellies a size too big and buy some kids’ hiking socks to pad them out. These are often made of wool and can be scratchy so layer them over your child’s normal socks and tuck their trousers/leggings inside.

Once your toddler is potty trained a 2-piece waterproof set might be easier to deal with so trousers can be removed quickly for those emergency toilet breaks. These 2 piece sets last a bit longer than the all in one suits and are almost as waterproof unless you have an extreme mud-slider in the family. At this age, I’d recommend buying a single layer suit and other layers to go underneath. We always do leggings, trousers, waterproof trousers for the bottom half and vest, t-shirt, jumper, fleece then waterproof for the top half. Keeping your child’s body warm really helps circulate warm blood all around. Children don’t need to worry too much about choosing breathable waterproofs and do just fine in the cheaper non-breathable fabrics.

For pre-teens, teens and adults I recommend sticking to breathable waterproofs as otherwise the sweating inside the waterproofs can make them wetter than being out in the rain! These are usually more expensive to buy so I recommend sticking to neutral colours so that you can pass them down through siblings or sell them easily second hand. My son was very small when he refused hand-me-downs from his sister because of the colour! I have plain waterproof trousers and a separate coat.

The second outdoor Christmas present I’d recommend for younger children is a mud kitchen. These weren’t a thing when my children were little but playing outside and mixing mud pies, flower potions, leaf mash and generally getting your hands dirty has always been in fashion. These can be bought and beautiful, or can be as simple as a little second hand table and some old pots and pans – try a car boot sale or treat yourself to new ones and donate the old ones to the outdoor cause. We are including some starter mud kitchen recipes in our outdoor box which will be available soon. Then you can make them up according to what you have available in your outdoor space or buy a set of recipes ready-made.

What if your child is older and too old for a mud kitchen? Well, this is a bit out there, but why not get them a fire pit? Learning to respect fire, how to get a fire started and how to put it out safely will keep your teens outdoors for many years. Add a fire steel for sparking their own fire (much safer than matches), some kebab sticks and a bag of marshmallows and they’ll be away from their screens and when their mates come round – they’ll all be out in the garden. Yes it does need some supervision – especially at first – but it is a guaranteed winner with your teen.

The links above will take you to examples on Amazon. I’ve not used all of them, though I’d recommend Regatta waterproofs and anything by TP toys. If you go on to buy, Mud Larks might get a small commission. Please look around and get what suits you.

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