Tag: outdoor

A Children’s Outdoor Gift Guide – Gifts That Will Get Used

We are rapidly hurtling towards Christmas, so I have decided to put together a children’s outdoor gift guide to help give you some inspiration of great ideas for both presents under the tree, and some stocking fillers too 🙂  These are more practical gifts in this outdoor gift guide that the child (or grown up) can then use.

A Children’s Outdoor Gift Guide:

  1. Compass: These come in all shapes, sizes, and prices.  You can choose one to match your child’s age and ability to use it.  We have gone for a simple version to introduce ours to the concept to start with.  You can take a look at my post on learning how to use a compass for tips to get started with your little people.
  2. Binoculars:  These we purchased back in the UK from a well known toy shop (they were only £2.99, about 30sek), but have been absolutely fantastic and survived being flung around.  You don’t need to spend a fortune for them to function well.
  3. Daysack/Hiking  Backpack:  We looked high and low for our back packs for our trio.  For the twins it was a lot harder to find something a little larger (but not too large as they are still only 6), with a supportive front clasp, enough pockets for good accessibility of things, robust enough to withstand the Swedish wilderness, and with some extra padding/comfort for the hiking.  We eventually bought for our twins these backpacks from Elkline.  They are fantastic.  For our little lady we had a different issue….if we bought it for her size (a tall 9 year old), she would fill any left over space with “stuff” that would then make it too heavy to carry, so we needed to be a little cautious on size with her too.  It is a 22L backpack but with a good sturdy waist belt (that was a struggle to find one with that). It has a breathable back and comes with a rain cover attached.  It is designed for 11-15 year olds so should last her a while yet!
  4. Tin Mug:  For the ever so important, morale boosting hot drinks.  We have gone with these gorgeous Moomin mugs…all 5 of us 🙂  We adore the Moomins.
  5. Tinder Pouch:  We use a Kelly Kettle and love lighting campfires for our meals during our hikes.  These pouches allow us to collect any dry useful tinder and store it safely (and rather smartly) on our pre-campfire part of the hike.  Between 3 children and myself we should then have a fair amount….might as well put the children to use 😉
  6. Whistle:  It is debatable whether my three actually need one of these (they are sooooooo noisy), but just to be on the safe side, they have it in their back packs in case of getting lost.
  7. Spork:  My three think this is one of the funniest words ever.  I think it is one the handiest items to carry….the 2 in one function cutting back in what goes in those backpacks (very important when you are only 6 or 9 years old!).
  8. Camera:  My trio have all got VTech cameras.  While they are clunky and heavy (carrying a spork won’t balance this one out) they are very robust and my three love taking photos and recording their own memories on them.  Once they are older, you can upgrade to something a little more practical, and you don’t always have to take them out if the back pack is too heavy.
  9. Good base layers:  We need this here in the winter to keep warm, but usually hiking you can work up a sweat too.  A good base layer will wick this sweat away from your skin keeping you comfortable.  One less thing for them to moan about has to be a bonus right?!  Need help choosing a set?  Check out my review of Isbjörn of Sweden Husky base layer
  10. Outdoor Clothing:  Children need to be equipped for the outdoors as well as us adults are, and more again…their clothes need to be robust enough not only to withstand the elements, but also the added activities of tree climbing, crawling through mud, racing through brambles, and puddle jumping.  If you need some inspiration you can look at my reviews for Tiny Trolls of Norway Rain Gear  and Winter Gear
  11. Boots:  Again, they need to be equipped as well as us adults, but also bear in mind their little feet need extra protection as they are still growing.  The boots need extra practicality about them too for those huge puddles us grown ups avoid, but draw children to like magnets!
  12. Torch:  Always handy for when you are out in the dark, whether to find your route through some tough undergrowth, help you pack up after a campfire to ensure you’ve left nothing behind, or to help you find that lost item that got dropped in the dark (and probably shouldn’t have left the house anyway, but is the most favourite tiniest toy EVER!).  Oh and you can use the torch to signal for help 🙂
  13. Bug Pots:  There are always interesting things hiding along the trails.  My three carry a very small pot so we can take closer looks, and also it can give them something to do while you are cooking a meal.
  14. Sunglasses:  We ALWAYS have these with us.  Whether we need them to watch the sun rise or set, or the sun unexpectedly makes an appearance…as I said earlier, anything less for them to moan about has to be a bonus!!!

Let me know in the comments below if you can think of any other essentials for the outdoor gift guide, or perfect little gifts that you know will get utilised well, instead of forgotten about with the Christmas haul 🙂  I’d love to hear your thoughts (and maybe I’ll pinch them for our Santa!)

A Childrens outdoor gift guide, outdoor gifts, gift guide, christmas gifts, stocking fillers, outdoors, www.mammasschool.co.uk

Children’s Winter Outdoor Clothing – From Tiny Trolls Of Norway.

We received a very exciting parcel in the post from Tiny Trolls of Norway.  They had very kindly kitted out my double trouble for the Swedish winter with a whole winter outdoor wardrobe, and popped a few surprises in there for my little lady (their sizing only goes up to 8 years, and she’s a very tall 9 year old).  Tiny Trolls of Norway is a high quality children’s outdoor clothing company for ages 1-8 years.  The main aim of the business is to motivate and encourage families and their children out into the great outdoors. So, you can see similarities between my blog ethos and their’s already! Their motto is “There is no such thing as bad weather, just poor clothing”, and by making such high quality winter outdoor clothing for children, they are ensuring that children can play outdoors whatever the winter weather throws at them!  So what had they sent us?

Tiny Trolls Winter Outdoor Clothing:

  1. Trollungen Winter Jacket:  They had kindly sent us this in 2 different colours as I like my boys to be able to tell at a glance whose coat is whose, if possible.  This jacket is waterproof to 10000mm!!  That is a serious substantial amount, meaning they can play outdoors in the snow or winter rain for hours with no discomfort.  It is 3000G breathable, and is also windproof.  It is lined with the softest cosiest fleece ever. It has reflective detailing on the outside (very important in the long dark winters so the traffic can see the children), and the hood is detachable.  
  2. Trollungen Winter Pants:  These are made to the same high spec as the jackets.  They are 10000mm waterproof, 3000G breathable, and also windproof.  They are warm and padded, but so the child can still play and move, they have an adjustable waist and over the shoulder straps, there is a snug elasticated fit for the boot area, with a popper to undo to make it easier to get on and off, and there are stirrup straps to pop under boots, to prevent trousers riding up and letting the elements in.  These also have some reflective detailing too.
  3. Tommel-Liten Winter Mittens:  These gloves are again 10000mm waterproof, 3000G breathable, and windproof too.  They are lined with the same softest, cosiest lining as the coats, and have large cuffs so they fit well either over the top of jackets, or underneath (which would prevent that unpleasant cold snow up the coat arm sensation).  
  4. Lykketroll Winter Hat:  These are so soft and warm 🙂  The outside of the hat is knitted, but on the inside it is lined with the softest fleece…plus they are very cute!  
  5. Lurvehette Neckwarmer:  As well as a hat for our little lady, they popped a neck warmer in as well for her.  These are so useful in the winter as you can pull them up high over your face as protection against the elements and more often than not the freezing biting wind.  They are very comfortable and soft.  The boys and I live in our neck warmers in autumn, winter, and spring, and I have a feeling she will do too now!

So, these beautiful clothes needed to be put through their paces, so off we headed into Swedish nature for our Friday afternoon weekly adventure.  I feel we certainly put the clothing through their paces as we spent three solid hours in driving rain with the children climbing trees, scrambling rocks, and crawling through very wet mud. So how did we get on?

Pros of Tiny Trolls Winter Outdoor Clothing:

  1. They certainly have not overstated the protection this clothing gives the child from the weather.  It was nothing short of fantastic.  The rain was just repelled by these garments and not soaked into the fabric at all.  The twins were so cosy too, they only had base layers underneath.  It was driving cold rain (only a degree or 2 too warm for snow) and blustery icy winds.
  2. The gloves are so easy for them to put on….a huge plus in mine and their eyes (twin 2 gets frustrated very fast with clothing that isn’t easy to manage).  Plus they too repelled the wet so well.  Often their gloves are soaked through by the end of a trip out as they are almost constantly touching wet objects…sticks, rocks, trees, sea water….but we might finally have found a pair that can go the distance (we haven’t before).
  3. We love the colours (not such a practical point!)
  4. They have such lovely detailing with the very cute Tiny Trolls embossing, as well as the reflective strips, and leather markings.
  5. They are very very warm, soft, and cosy.  
  6. The clothes are very cute and look good too.
  7. They are very robust and made to last.  My trio were climbing trees, scrambling on rocks and there was not a mark on the clothing.
  8. They dried fast from the rain and all the dirt seemed to just brush off, so they weren’t filthy after they dried.
  9. The hats were very comfy too.  I get frequent complaining about hats being “scratchy” so this is good, especially as they wear them for 6 months of the year.
  10. Our little lady found the neck warmer so cosy and she spent most of the afternoon tucked into it hiding from the weather.

Cons Of Tiny Trolls Winter Outdoor Clothing:

I have scrambled around to find some cons, but it wouldn’t be a balanced review if I didn’t 🙂

  1. It’s 2 pieces…..this is fine for 1 of them, but twin 2 will take any excuse to venture out without the bottom half on, so I am going to have to make sure that the staff are on their toes at school!  The all in one from Tiny Trolls don’t come large enough for my mini men.
  2. The trousers only come in the one colour….this won’t be an issue for everyone, but it’s nice for my twins to know whose is what at a glance.  Boys clothing is often so limited anyway that they do have lots that are the same, it’s just handy when it is different.  

Tiny Trolls clothing is fantastic and there really is “no bad weather” when you are wearing it 🙂

Children's winter outdoor clothing by tiny trolls of Norway, Tiny Trolls of Norway, Norway, Outdoor Clothing, children's outdoor clothing, winter clothing, children's winter clothing, www.mammasschool.co.uk

*We were sent the clothing from Tiny Trolls of Norway for free, to put through their paces and test, in exchange for writing the review.  All opinions are honest and my own*

 

Learning to Use a Compass – Teaching the Basics.

Today’s hike had an ulterior motive behind it…to get the trio learning more about the basics of using their compasses.  We have had these out before for a little walk, and a brief lesson about finding north, but I felt it was now time to learn a little more about direction.  My trio definitely learn best in the great outdoors, and with a practical skill such as compass use, it suits us better to be doing it outside, rather than sat indoors.  I remember at school doing the theory indoors and then heading outdoors for the practical, but not really taking anything in until we were outdoors.  Therefore, I aim to teach as much as I can out on the ground, and less splitting it into definite theory and practical elements for them, as they find it much harder to relate the theory to anything!

We left the car in the car park, and had gone 20m when we came across a style, and our first stand off of the hike.  My double trouble are very into competing against each other.  It ranges from who is first everywhere, to who was last in through the door so has to shut the door (the back door is open flapping letting cold air in for ages while they argue who shuts it), and today it seemed no one wanted to be first down the steps the other side, although both had reached the top together in a race!!  My little lady and I were stuck behind them trying to get them to shift so we could get on with the yomp!  Oh the joys of hiking with little people.  The trio were quite grumpy on this particular afternoon, so I decided we’d hike to our designated fire pit for the afternoon, have our cooked treat and a play, and then hopefully they would be in better spirits for the return leg, and a bit of a compass lesson.  No point teaching them in this mood as nothing will go in and they will not be receptive.  Sometimes, I’ll carry on the plans with whoever is receptive, but with all three behaving like it was a bad day, there was little point!!  It was a lovely spring day so I was determined we would make the most of it.

We arrived at where the fire pit and I had bought a new piece of equipment, a raised grill shelf on legs, that I wanted to try out too.  The fire pits here are great, but it isn’t until you reach somewhere that you find out whether you have a grill over it or not.  Not everything we cook needs it, but there are some things I prefer not to place directly on the flames, and today I was using a saucepan so it was a perfect chance to try it out.  We lit our fire, we cooked our food (see outdoor cooking for the campfire posts, as recipe in another blog post), and the children played happily….well until there was screaming to be heard!  The trio had found a tree to climb that was infested with the hugest red ant colony.  Instead of then staying away from it, they felt it was a challenge of who could get up and down it without getting bitten, but also they were curious to watch them.  Very soon someone had been nipped (twin 1) and he was yelling at the top of his lungs (he has big strong lungs!!).  Luckily I carry Anthisan, so it was calmed down quite quickly and another lesson was learnt!

Apart from the ant nip, everyone was in much better spirits so we each got our compasses out.  We started by learning the main four directions of the compass…north, south, east, and west.  Looking at the letter with the little ones, and working out what that would then stand for.  We then lined north up, to work out which way we were walking.  Luckily this was quite simple at first as the path followed an east direction.  Very soon though my little lady announced that “Mamma it is in the middle of north and east now”.  At this point we then sat down and looked at the other letters on the compass (NE, SE, SW, and SE).  Once we had learnt to listen to the sound of those letters (for the twins) to then work out what they stood for (the little lady was a little bit easier to teach as she can work it out quicker), we then were able to stop at regular intervals and say in which direction we were walking.  That was more than enough for them to take on board today, and I think we will be just practising that skill for a little while yet before we introduce anything else new, but they enjoyed it, and the accomplishment of understanding what the compass was saying.

All three did eventually admit they had loved their little hike, despite the wobbly start.  Once I had got over twin 1’s insistence that he didn’t need to use the compass because he wasn’t lost, they also loved being able to use the compass and work out what it was saying!  It was a close shave at the start of the walk, but eventually it became a successful and sunny afternoon out!

Learning to Use a compass-teaching the basics, compass, navigation, orienteering, map reading www.mammasschool.co.uk

 

Bikes, Hikes, and a Surprise Geocache

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The mini men have been desperate to ride their new bikes all week, but due to them not being able to start off on their own, and being a bit unreliable, I’ve not braved taking them out on my own.  So, first thing this morning, before their gymnastics, we headed off to an open space for them to have a good ride, as well as accidental game of bumper bikes!  The next job of the day was to plant some apple seeds.  We have left a very small, but bursting with life garden back in the UK, full of roses, fruit trees, and a riot of colour for at least 8 months of the year.  I know we have arrived here in autumn, but there needs a little bit of input to create colour and attract more wildlife come the summer, other than reindeer.  Oddly, I will be more restrained and there will be less put in it than the UK garden, as the rest is sooooooo big and will take a lot of looking after.  So, in an attempt to get things started, we have planted 6 apple seeds indoors, to see how we are doing by the warmer springtime with them.

img_0676 img_0677 img_0678The afternoon saw us head out to explore the south west part of the island.  This is largely uninhabited, apart from the odd dwelling here or there, and is definitely, wild, rugged, and exposed to the elements.  It was certainly a very fresh walk, and as usual, extremely beautiful.  We set off with a rough idea of where we were going, but as usual footpaths appeared that weren’t marked, marked footpaths never occurred, and then I had a marvellous idea.  Turning on the geocache app, I remembered 1 of the 3 on the island was located down this end of the island.  We were only 450m from it (only…..for a little child’s legs, turned into there and back being 900m which is practically another km added onto their walk, but they were up for it, and we were rewarded with the view).  We popped out of a heavily wooded area, to be greeted with a wide view of the open sea, it was beautiful.  Not another soul in site added to its beauty as well.  It would have been even better had we been able to stay for the sunset as that was amazing, but we may not have made it out the woods again as it would have been extremely dark.

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We did indeed manage to locate the geocache and signed the log.  We were really pleased as the other 2 on the island have eluded us so far.  When we eventually turned round and had walked back home, we had been out for 2 hours and 45 minutes.  They had walked incredibly well and certainly enjoyed themselves, as well as getting the added bonus of a geocache.  I think though, by the time the log fire was lit with a couple of stories on the CD player while I made supper, the fresh air and exercise they had done hit them, as all three snuggled under a blanket on the sofa.  Another very lovely day as a family, very laid back, no rushing to activities that take up half the day (the boys gymnastics is 45 minutes total and just 100m from our doorstep), and lots of healthy outdoors life and views to be had 🙂

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