When will it ever stop raining?! In the midst of winter down on the south coast the weather can only be described as bleak… not cold enough for snow, but miserable enough to want to hibernate under the duvet until Spring… someone give my toddlers the memo!
Two three year old boys make it near impossible to have a cosy day in watching movies. And any attempt of this inevitably results in upturned furniture, destroyed living room and eventually attempts at physical violence as they literally climb the walls with pent up energy. So it goes without saying that I don’t have many problems persuading them to Get Out. The difficulty comes in thinking what to do with them when we are out. So here some top things we’ve been up to this Winter:
Embrace the dirt
I blame Peppa Pig, but all kids seem to be obsessed with jumping in muddy puddles. FFS. But really if they’re going to get outside, kids are going to get dirty and I think you just have to get it over it. Since having twins, I’ve been pretty lucky that my standards on acceptable levels of cleanliness have been lowered A LOT – but even if you like everything to look pristine you might just have to suck it up. Everything can be washed – even a splash suit and down coat. Exploring dirt and the creatures, namely worms, hidden in the mud is exciting for young minds – telling the kids that loud noises scare the creatures is also an excellent way to keep them calm during the process!
Make yourself get out
On a day with rubbish weather, one of the biggest barriers for us leaving the house is actually me. Last winter I booked a local forestry school one morning a week – people thought I was mad only doing it in winter but it’s always easy to get out in summer. The class forced us to get up and out and we had so much fun when we were there, exploring the woods, making things and building fires. Skills the boys definitely remember, they’re so good at collecting sticks and not getting too close to a lit fire at the same time relishing the opportunity to be part of the process.
There’s no such thing as bed weather, just bad clothes
Being organised in winter is an absolute must, having double of everything with spare changes of socks and mittens being the essential items. As long as the little ones aren’t cold they’ll stay out for hours. We layer up with t-shirts, jumpers, leggings and trousers, socks, welly boot socks and then waterproofs and coats. The boys also adore their umbrellas so staying dry is actually fun. There’s a song they sing at nursery ‘put on your coat to keep yourself nice and cosy, put on your scarf to keep yourself nice and cosy’ that we sing, which helps actually getting them dressed!
Ride the train
If the weather is really too awful to bear, getting out and hitching a lift is a huge adventure for littlies. Even when you’ve got no where to go! Getting down to the train station, buying the tickets, getting on board and spotting things out the window for just a couple of stops can while away a few hours – and the kids have had some fresh air in the process. Take a picnic for the journey and it becomes one big adventure!
Head to the beach
I’m renowned for forcing everyone out the car on a blustery and wet beach (I even took a dip on New Years Day!). I find that 30 minutes at the beach in winter is the equivalent to a whole day in summer – throwing some seaweed around and back in the car or nearest cafe for a hot chocolate is often used as a bribe for getting blown around!
Embrace the dark
One of the most depressing things about winter here in the UK is the darkness – sunrise is at 7 then it’s down again by 4ish. Now the boys are at a certain age we’ve got them into star gazing, heading into the garden at night to look up and see what we can see. If we can we’ll head out for an ‘evening’ walk to listen for owls and other night time creatures. I also love just taking them for a walk through town, peeking into the houses which are all lit up imagining who lives there. We’ll also stop off at a cosy kid friendly pub for a ‘pub water’ (water with ice cubes and a lemon – what a treat!) and a packet of crisps. Although your toddler asking when they’re next going to the pub in front of the grandparents is a challenge you’ll also have to take on!
Get stuck in, laugh and find pleasure in the little things. The cold and wet comes around every year, you might as well enjoy. The kids will if you do!