My must-haves for getting out and about in winter

Brrr! Winter does feel a long old time doesn’t it? Dark mornings, dark afternoons and some days so grey that it barely feels like it gets light at all. So easy then to just stay indoors in the warm, but I’ve written before about how much we like to get out, even during the winter months as it really does us all good! (and, random timing, but I’ve just read an article in the news about how much kids need outdoor time for their development!)

But how to make sure that it is a successful trip? With happy little people throughout? Well I have a few suggestions of things to have with you to help keep the smiles despite the cold.

  1. Warm clothing. Lots of little layers and for us it often includes waterproofs and wellies. Waterproofs mean puddles are no bother and wet slides at the playpark don’t result in soggy bottoms! They also work as an extra layer and can help with windy days as well to stop the chill permeating.PhotoGrid_1486126285252
  2. If it is a fairly dry and mild day and we forego the waterproofs I try and remember to take some old tea towels with us instead. Just in case any of the swings or slides are still soggy!
  3. Food and drink. A bottle of water and some healthy snacks. LM is at an age where I am wary of her snacking too much as it stops her eating her dinner, however some dried fruit or cheese can prevent a full on meltdown on the way home! Biscuits work well too of course but I try and encourage healthier options as much as I can.
  4. Spare clothes. Depending on waterproofs etc. and I don’t worry about these on a short trip to the park but on a longer trip out we have spare clothes, socks and even gloves in case the first pair get wet or overly muddy!
  5. Something to inject some fun! Regular readers will probably know that I rarely leave the house for a walk without taking a ball and some bubble mixture. Kids love bubbles and a few mins of bubble chasing can (not always mind you, but most of the time) avert let downs or persuade little legs to walk the direction you want them to go! We also recently did a bit of a nature hunt with Monkey, which is great for slightly older kids and definitely kept him entertained while we were out! Fun can be impromptu though too as hide and seek around trees always goes down well, or a simple game of chase!PhotoGrid_1486126054629

That’s probably about it really, other than a camera to capture all the smiles and fun you have :). What are your must-haves for getting out and about in the colder, wetter months?

Country Kids

Babyfoote

Getting outside in the Winter months

It’s really turned a lot colder here lately and winter is well on the way. My little toddler can be inclined to laziness and would probably be happy sat in front of the telly all day long (I say sat but she rarely actually sits still, she climbs and fidgets and wriggles and goes and potters and comes back again) but she likes the tv on and she likes to be inside. While that is all well and good some of the time, I don’t like that much TV time for her, and it does both of us good to get out and about.

Fresh air is good for her and there is so much to see and explore outside of these four walls… Plus I go a bit stir crazy indoors. A change of scene and some fresh air really refreshes me and makes me a better mummy the rest of the time, so I definitely need to get outside, whether madam likes it or not.

It can be tricky to persuade her though, especially now it is cold and wintry out, and the more she says no the harder it is to motivate myself when it is cold too, but still, it is necessary. So I have a few tricks to tempt madam out the door even on the cold days.

Bubbles

I’m yet to meet a child who doesn’t like bubbles and they are used regularly in our house to get us outside. A wand is my preferred tool as it is easy to get big bubbles, but I will use whatever we have. photogrid_1480488042325

Both kids enjoy a good chase of some bubbles and I must admit I think they are so pretty… I may have 1 or 2 (thousand) pictures of them!

A ball

Simple choice but again it works, both my kids like a good chase of a ball and giving it a good kick about. We have had some lovely sibling moments out with a ball too. (and some less lovely moments in truth, they are siblings after all!)

My bike

Thankfully LM loves a ride on the back of my bike and even seeing her little helmet will get her racing to get her shoes on. We are lucky to live very close to a country park with gorgeous views and lovely play parks. The other day LM didn’t want to get down and play, but she loved seeing the ducks on the lakes, shouting “choo choo” near the train tracks and neighing at a horse in a field, and I got a bit of exercise too.photogrid_1480487652791

Friends

One thing LM is, is sociable, and our girl loves seeing our friends and family. One sure way to get her out the door is the promise of seeing some of those. We have some very good friends who live close by. Their eldest is at school with Monkey and their youngest is a little older than LM. Add the promise of meeting them for a bike ride and well LM is literally running for the door (seriously she did this yesterday, I have never seen her move so fast as when I suggested we get on my bike and go out with them ha). The kids have a lot of fun together and LM adores their Mummy the most of all I think haha.photogrid_1480515042662

Food

I don’t use this too much but there have been a couple of times recently where I have persuaded LM outside with the promise of a treat. Bribery I know but sometimes the end justifies the means and we ended up having a lovely time in the garden, away from the tv, all thanks to half a mini twix bite (I may have eaten the other half haha) !photogrid_1480487761201

Winter can absolutely be a time for snuggling up in the warn with a hot soup of a warm drink… But it’s even more fun to snuggle inside when you’ve had lots of fun outside first. You can see a few more simple ideas for playing outside in the Winter here.

Do you like getting outside in the Winter? What are your top tips for getting the kids outside?

My word of the week, is “outside”

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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Monkey and Mouse

Me and Mine Sept/Oct 2016 – an autumn walk

I’m a bit late joining in with the fab Me and Mine linky this month. In fact I wasn’t planning on joining up at all as the only shot I have of us as a family this month is one on our bikes, which isn’t the best.img-20160924-wa0000

But then today, after a slightly odd morning with ratty kiddies who are coming down with colds (and therefore slightly ratty parents too) we decided to get out and get some fresh air on a little autumnal walk. We found the most conkers I’ve ever seen in my life and had a good old nature hunt in general.photogrid_1475411475375

Then during a little game of family hide and seek we managed to grab a few very happy family selfies.
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We had a lovely walk and as always a bit of fresh air did us all the world of good. So this is us, at the beginning of October, enjoying autumn.20161002_123809_000-268

The Me and Mine Project
Monkey and Mouse

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

A Winter Nature Walk

Some mornings it is completely bonkers in our house. So bonkers that I feel like if I don’t get myself and the children outside immediately then I will completely lose my sanity. Ever feel like that?

Wednesday was one of those mornings and thankfully it did not coincide with a torrential downpour type of morning. So by 9am (it was a no playgroup day) the kids and I were wrapped up warm and out on a walk in the cold foggy morning. And you know what, it was mainly lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254000135

LM was being really grizzly but she loves getting out (often presenting me with shoes and coats when to illustrate her point) and Monkey jumped at the chance to go out too. He said he wanted to find conkers. I did point out that it’s not really the time of year for conkers but said we could go to a good conker spot and see what we could find.

It wasn’t too far away and when we got there I let LM out of the buggy for a wander while Monkey and I searched. We found lots of conker shells and half a conker that had been half-eaten presumably by squirrels. No pictures of it though as at this point I wasn’t planning a blog post (bad blogger). Then Monkey found a stick who he decided was “stick man” of course. The kids were very cute wandering round and exploring and it was lovely.PhotoGrid_1452254165376PhotoGrid_1452254235126

Then LM got grizzly (I did say it was mainly lovely) so it was back in the buggy and on we went. I decided to continue the nature hunt theme though and Monkey and I looked at all the different colour berries and were talking about why the trees were bare etc. It was lovely and LM was enjoying looking at the berries and bits too.PhotoGrid_1452254458452

There was the obligatory bit of hide and seek (Monkey loves hiding…. All the time) and LM got out a couple of times too to explore the bushes etc. PhotoGrid_1452254582188

It was freezing but lovely and just nice to get out and escape the insanity that being indoors a lot can result in at this time of year!

A lovely ordinary Sunday

February was a bit of a month. It was very busy for all of us and sadly, full of germs too! Illness aside there was lots going on including the big build up to the wedding of one of my best friends on the 28th. As a result it has felt very hectic and hubs and I have been a bit shattered and run down as a result. The day after the wedding, the 1st March, the sun was shining and we decided to get our lives in order a bit.

We do love our lists so we sat and worked out what jobs we wanted achieve this spring, and also what nice days out we hoped to have. Monkey loves lists too so of course he helped :). This was also when we decided to take control of LM’s routine so our day very much revolved around that.

In one of her awake times we decided to get out of the house and enjoy the sunshine. With all the poorliness lately we have spent a lot of time indoors and we just wanted to get out and get some fresh air. We are very lucky that we are walking distance to a steam engine railway line, so after checking the timetable we popped LM in the carrier and wandered off there to see a train. We hope to take Monkey on a train ride at some point, but after his fears of seeing the trains at the National Railway Museum, we thought it would be a good idea to get him used to the scale and noise of the train first!

Although it was lovely and sunny it was really windy, which Monkey wasn’t at all keen on and there was a real chill in the air waiting on the station to see the train so he and Daddy had a lovely snuggle.

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Soon enough the train arrived and Monkey was so excited to wave to the train and all of the people on board. He cracked me up when the train was leaving by shouting “Follow that train!” over and over again! Bless him I had to explain that it was a little too fast for us to catch!

trains

It was then time to head home and have some lovely lunch. Just a short outing, and hubs was shattered from pushing Monkey on his trike (it is so heavy and unwieldy but with Monkey just getting over being ill we didn’t want to push him too hard or make him walk – good job as little did we know he was actually coming down with Chicken Pox too!) and I was shattered as it is probably the longest I have had LM in the carrier for some time and she is getting heavy!

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Hubs and I had soup for lunch but Monkey wanted bread and cheese. As we sat down to eat he exclaimed “This cheese is significant!” lol not sure what that meant, he has obviously heard the word and decided to try it out! As toddlers do! He did the same later, sometimes hubs and I call the kids darling, often when they are being grumpy. After lunch when I was changing LM’s nappy, Monkey came over and said to me “Darling… what you doing?” hehe hearing “darling” come out of his little mouth was so cute. He then wandered off saying darling to himself over and over. So adorable, he has called both hubs and I babe before too as we occasionally say that to each other. Thankfully Mummy & Daddy always return to favour though.

After lunch Monkey helped Daddy sweep out the car port (one of the jobs on our list) then both kids had lovely long naps in the afternoon which meant hubs and I got to have a bit of a rest as we were shattered. It wasn’t a massively exciting day or anything to write home about but just one of those lovely, ordinary days having fun with a toddler (and a baby of course) and sorting a few jobs out. After a busy month with a mix of socialising and illness it was lovely to just have one of these ordinary days, and I hope we get to have a few more of them this Spring.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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Little Hearts, Big Love
Share the Joy linky at bodfortea.co.uk

5 Cheap Fun ways to Play Outside in Winter with Toddlers

Monkey, like most toddlers, loves getting outside and burning off some energy. So while I would probably prefer to snuggle up in the warm and watch a film, he is generally itching to get outside and have some fun. The good news is that for the most part he is easily pleased with regards to what we do when we are out there and doesn’t need some hugely imaginative activity. The simplest things really are the best sometimes, so here they are, 5 cheap fun ways to play outside in winter.

This post contains a few affiliate links, so basically if you were to click on the link and buy something it wouldn’t cost you extra but I would receive a few pence to go towards the upkeep of this blog (so far earnings from affiliate links have been negligable so not entirely sure why I bother with them) and I never link so something I wouldn’t buy myself :).

A lot of these we do in our garden as it is the easiest place for us to go when LM is having a nap but you can do most of these things out and about if you don’t have any outside space of your own.

bubblesBlowing Bubbles

 

An oldy but a goody and suitable for all times of year really. You can make your own bubble mix (though I haven’t dared to try yet I will admit) which makes it uber cheap or I picked a huge bottle of it up from a garden centre for only a couple of quid. The best investment we have made for bubble fun is a bubble wand. You can get one from amazon for less than £2 so we are not talking a huge investment, but they do make the best bubbles :).

Monkey loves running around the garden chasing bubbles around and they are a great enticement to keep him moving when we are out and about too!

 

 

 

chalksPavement Chalks

 

Pavement chalks are great fun as they wash off in the rain. We have been known to take them out and about with us as great entertainment that do no harm to anyone. We chalk numbers, letters, shapes and even dinosaurs and rainbows! Admittedly most of the big things we chalk at the moment are drawn by Mummy and Daddy but Monkey is getting really good at doing the zigzags down the dinosaur’s back and likes drawing circles and all sorts really. I am sure in time he will take the lead and get really creative. We picked some chalks up from our local supermarket but someone bought us these Crayola ones which I have to admit are fantastic as they have a nice point and were even a bit resistant to snow!

 

 

water paintingWater Painting

 

Give Monkey a paintbrush and a puddle and he will occupy himself for ages painting, decorating, cleaning, and generally pottering about the garden. He just uses a brush that we got as part of a crafty set and after being outdoors for a while it has now started to rust a little on the metal bit, so a fully plastic one may be better, but whatever you have works. For a while he was using a really old paintbrush of ours… which he would probably still be using but I don’t know where it went – it possibly got buried or something :). It’s a great way to practise numbers, shapes and letters too. Once Monkey drew a huge 2, though I think it was a fluke!

 

 

 

puddlesSplashing in puddles

 

Great for rainy days and a firm favourite with most kids I think, puddle jumping! I do recommend a good pair of wellies and waterproof trousers/waterproof all in one to make the fun as comfortable as possible and make it last. We bought Monkey a huge pair of waterproof trousers that were far too big initially (I think I bought them well over a year ago) but fit perfectly now and still have a bit of room to grow – so I am definitely getting my money’s worth out of them! it is nice to know that I don’t have to worry too much about spare clothing too as he can splosh to his hearts content and stay nice and dry. A few weeks ago we found the biggest puddle ever! Great fun :)

 

 

runningRunning around

 

If all else fails there is just good old running around. Monkey likes to run pushing things for some reason. He has a little wheelbarrow and a really rubbish cheap plastic lawnmower, but his favourite thing to push round the garden is his little toy buggy. He adores haring round the garden pushing the buggy round, and I have to admit I prefer him doing in the garden than in the house – there is a lot less things to crash into. He also likes just running around chasing each other too, or running up and down hills so no need for any props really!

 

Do you like playing outside with your kids, even in the winter? Or are you looking forward to getting out more in warmer days?

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

#ToddlerApprovedTuesday

Escaping the screaming

Things in our house have improved quite a lot lately. LM is sleeping so much better which means we are sleeping so better. But that doesn’t mean it’s all plain sailing, ooh no. Our little girl still likes to stretch her lungs randomly with mammoth crying sessions. Crying sessions that feel like they are designed to make me feel like a useless parent. Changed, fed, burped, refusing to sleep and basically miserable whatever I do (or don’t do, no matter how hard I try to remain calm, after a while the tendrils of stress just start nibbling away at me. My patience level reaches zero and I get increasingly snappy with Monkey when he really is just being a chatty little toddler, getting himself in a mess but not being naughty.

All I can think of to do is get them both out of the house. And hope it calms her down even temporarily! If not then at least we are all getting some fresh air and a change of scene.

Wednesday we did just that and miraculously the fresh air did pause the crying, if only for half an hour or so. It was a bitterly cold and windy day but it is hard not to smile and be infected by Monkey’s pure glee at just being able to run about. To race to a lamppost – especially when he stops every 5 seconds to shout “Ready, steady, go!” I’m not sure he really gets the idea of racing bless him!

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Ready, Steady, Go!

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Red-Faced Little Girl

It wasn’t the longest of outings as it started to drizzle and I didn’t have a rain cover for LM but it did us all good and by the time we got home LM was ready to feed and then had a lovely long sleep. Getting out of the house can work wonders on a tough day, and so can the smiles of my little boy, when I take a moment to lift my head and really see them!

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Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall

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A wintery family walk

Friday night was a particularly rough night with Little Miss so on Saturday morning both Daddy and I were feeling shattered. But the thing is that when you also have a toddler to look after, life must go on. We still had to be up at a normal time and find ways to entertain Monkey.

Tired Daddy

Tired Daddy

So after a bit of back and forth about what we should do, we decided to wrap up and go for a little walk to deliver some thank you cards locally to some of the people who had generously given gifts on the birth of Little Miss.

Little Miss wasn’t keen on the idea of being in her buggy so after a false start Daddy popped her in the carrier and we headed out. It was seriously cold and wet and misty but we had a lovely walk and it did us the power of good. That’s the thing about getting out of the house sometimes, just a change of scene and some fresh air can really improve your mood. Especially when you have a toddler who is thrilled to be out for a walk and who takes pleasure in the simplest of things.
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