As the temperatures drop it can be tempting to stay snuggled up warm indoors. But in the run up to Christmas, children have more energy to burn off than ever, so it's important they still have regular opportunities to play outside.
Even when the it's cold outside, your children can still enjoy the space and fresh air your garden has to offer, provided you keep them wrapped up warm. Getting cold outside, then coming indoors to warm up with a hot chocolate makes for some lovely childhood memories.
To ensure your children are still using their outdoor play equipment safely, even when they are bundled up in winter-weather gear, take a note of our top toasty-warm tips.
1. Grippy Gloves If you have a climbing frame, slide, or any kind of play equipment that will rely on your child gripping with their hands, invest in gloves with rubbery dimples on the palms. Without gloves, your children may find the metal unpleasantly cold to hold onto. Gripping cold metal could even cause their hands to cramp and release their grip. Ordinary fabric gloves will keep little fingers warm, but are useless for maintain a reliable grip. You can buy grippy gloves, with the dimples normally found on slipper socks, for around £2 a pair.
2. Full Range Of Movement Layer upon layer of clothing will restrict the range of movement your child has at their shoulders and elbows. This is not only frustrating for them, but also can cause problems, as restricted mobility may cause a trip, slip or fall. Add an extra layer to their normal amount of clothing, with a gilet or body warmer. This will keep their chest and back warm, without adding bulk around their arms and shoulders.
3. Slipper Socks Not Slippy Socks If your children normally like to bounce on the trampoline barefoot, invest in some thermal slipper socks so they keep can on jumping all through the winter. Normal socks may be too slippy for the trampoline, so look for thick slipper socks, with grippy dimples on the sole.
4. Helmet Not Hats When their head is well covered with a woolly hat, it might be tempting to keep the heat in and not bother with a cycle helmet. But a winter hat will not provide adequate protection in the even of an accident, so it's important that they continue to wear their cycle helmet all through the winter.
5. Sensible Footwear Around about this time of year, your garden is probably beginning to look like a swamp of mud and puddles. Wellies are the perfect footwear for puddle sploshing and mud stomping, but they shouldn't be worn when using play equipment. The loser fit will makes it harder for children to feel if their foot is safely seated on a climbing rung, and often the soles of wellies do not provide much grip. It's understandable you won't want their footwear ruined during a play session in the garden, so invest in a pair of cheap trainers saved just for playing on the outdoor equipment.