As a family I think it’s safe to say we spend the majority of our time outdoors. It’s hard to remember a time when this wasn’t the case and whilst the children love being able to run wild and explore the great outdoors, for Gaz and I as parents, the kids are just so much easier to handle when they aren’t cooped up inside! For that reason you will find us outdoors pretty much most of the time, throughout Winter and Summer, whatever the weather.
So when we were invited to work with Arla this month it was lovely to see that we share many of the same values. Arla know just how important it is for our children to explore the world around them and, through their partnership with the Gruffalo, they are bringing you yearlong BIG adventures. They are running an on pack monthly prize draw, available across UK grocery retailers, to give you the chance to win an amazing trip to Chessington World of Adventures Resort!
Arla are encouraging you to have your own outdoor adventure with Big Milk and, with some amazing ideas on their Parenting Hub, Twitter, Facebook page, and Arla Gruffalo page, we are sharing how you can do all of these whatever the weather!
Cold and Rainy Days
Cold and rainy days may not be ideal when it comes to small children but there is still so much fun to be had even on the wettest, most miserable of days! My tops tips for getting outdoors on rainy days are as follows –
Invest in some good quality waterproofs
We have a saying in our house – there is no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing. My biggest tip for parents would be to invest in some good quality waterproofs for your children. We take ours on every holiday or day out, even throughout the Summer, just so we know that should we get caught out in the rain we have them in the boot of the car ready to throw on. As much as I love the all in one rain suits, I prefer the separate trousers and jackets so they can be used separately throughout the year over as many layers as is necessary. As long as your children are warm and dry that’s one less thing to worry about!
Never forget your wellies!
My children are never happier than in a pair of wellies and they make my life so much easier! There is something very liberating about allowing your children to go wild running through the mud and jumping in puddles and I honestly think some of their best childhood memories will be of doing just that.
We spend so much of our lives saying no to the children, being extra cautious, worrying about spoiling their new shoes or clean clothes, and yet when they are suitably dressed all of those restrictions go out of the window and they are free to play in whatever way they choose.
Make it fun
Not all children enjoy being outdoors on rainy days, I know as a child I was always cold and hated being wet (not much has changed!) but there are so many ways in which you can make the rain fun!
The Arla Gruffalo website has some great downloadable activities such as a Gruffalo Footprint Trail and a Nature Hunt, and anything to occupy children works really well to distract them from the weather.
As long as my children have a challenge to fulfil, or a trail to complete, they get so caught up in their adventure that they forget all about the weather. A nature hunt is such an easy activity to do, whatever the weather, and works really well for children of all ages.
The Arla Facebook page has some fun ideas of games and activities you can play with the children outdoors and a favourite of ours, and one that never grows old, is Pooh Sticks. Pooh Sticks is always more fun on rainy days when the streams are higher and the water runs faster, and something as simple as racing sticks thrown from a bridge can bring endless amounts of fun!
Never forget the baby wipes!
Most importantly, and this one stands whatever the weather, never forget the baby wipes! Rainy days are fun but muddy hands are inevitable so a ready supply of baby wipes, as well as standard drinks and snacks, are definitely up there in my top tops!
Have an end goal
My last tip for getting outdoors on rainy days is to have an end goal. If your children aren’t keen on the cold and rain, have something exciting to look forward to at the end of the walk. No matter how much mine love to be outdoors, they are still young and their legs start to ache on that final half hour of a long walk, so having an incentive to keep going is always a must. On rainy days we love to get in, throw the clothes in the wash and the kids in the bath, put on fresh pyjamas, have a snack, and watch a movie together. Nothing beats snuggling up all cosy warm afterwards!
Arla BIG milk is the perfect drink for little explorers, containing all milk’s natural nutrients and enriched with Vitamin D, A and Iron. When it comes to outdoor adventures children need all for their essential nutrients and vitamins!
Sunny and Dry Days
Through the Summer months we spend most of our waking hours outdoors, not only enjoying adventures with the children but just time together in the garden, playing games, doing crafts, eating barbecued food each evening and making the most of the warmer weather. Living in the North of England it’s a real rarity that we see the good weather and so when it comes around, we really do milk every last moment! My top tips for Summer are as follows –
Use good quality sun protection
My top tip, and the most important one in my eyes, is to make sure that your children are fully protected from the sun. I know many parents prefer to cover their children in sun suits and shades, and yet my kids love nothing more than stripping off and feeling the heat of the sun on their skin and the sand between their toes, so sun protection is a real must. We have always used an SPF 50 for the children that is both waterproof and long lasting. As long as they are fully protected we can enjoy our day with one less thing to worry about.
Find fun ways to seek shade
Regardless of how much we cover the children with sun protection, at certain times of the day the sun is just too hot. We love to find fun ways to seek shade whether that’s building a tent in the garden with an old blanket and the clothes horse, heading into the woods and sheltering under nature’s canopy, or popping up the parasol and snuggling up together to admire the view. Just because the sun is very hot doesn’t mean that we necessarily have to head back indoors – there are lots of fun and unusual ways to seek shade outdoors and we love looking for them!
Don’t forget your layers
With living in the UK we are all aware that even on a gorgeous Summer’s day the temperature can drop and the Heaven’s open in a split second. For that reason I would say to always have a selection of layers to add or remove as you need them. In the Spring months it can be particularly difficult to know what the weather is doing from one minute to the next and so packing both shorts and T-shirts and jumpers and raincoats is a real must!
Make good use of nature’s playground
As far as I’m concerned, nature is the best playground for children and there are so many ways to enjoy being outdoors in the sunshine and allow your children to use their imaginations. From hunting in rock pools to playing with sand, making daisy chains and building dens, there is so much fun to be had outdoors on warm and dry days and I think if I had to choose, these are my favourite days spent together.
Crafts are not limited to indoor, especially during the warm and dry weather. I know as a parent with three very messy little ones, I find myself cringing when the paint and glue comes out indoors, but taking it outdoors means that the children can make as much mess as they like! The Arla Gruffalo page has some fun printable colouring sheets for children to enjoy and I know my girls have been enjoying taking them outdoors now that Spring has sprung.
The Arla BIG milk carton can also double up as a great way to do some junk modelling with the kids and is a great way to encourage creativity and imagination. Over on the Arla Facebook page there are some really inventive ways to use the BIG milk in a number of ways, even to make bird feeders for the garden!
Getting outdoors in the warmer weather is lovely but for little explorers especially it’s so important to stay hydrated. I know my children often forget to stop for breath, let alone a drink, when they are immersed in play, so regular snack stops and nice cold drinks are a must!
So there you have it, our top tips for getting outdoors whatever the weather although, with Spring finally here I am hoping we have a few more dry days than wet! We can’t wait for some BIG adventures as a family over the next few months and now thanks to Arla we have a whole host of ideas and activities at the ready.
** We are working with Arla on this campaign and have been compensated for our time. All words and opinions are my own unless otherwise stated. **