Learning to ski as a kid would have been a godsend, I didn't learn until I was about 17 and I still go beet red when I recall the exquisite torture of snow ploughing (backwards no less) into a group of good looking lads whilst my friends, (who had promised to teach me with sensitivity and care), doubled over with laughter... Ah embarrassments aside, learning while you still have a low centre of gravity is the way to go and teaching your kids opens up for them a sport that few can rival for a sense of freedom and the sheer awesomeness of nature.
Here's our top 10 tips and tricks for taking littles ones skiing and making sure the entire family have a fantastic time.
Chairlifts can be tricky to negotiate with young kids. so look for runs that will minimise on loading and unloading. Aim for areas close to the bottom of the mountain - or easily accessed that have family friendly ski zones or wide green runs with plenty of kid friendly lift options like rope rows, button lifts and carpet tows. Check out Kids on Lifts for more on how to keep little ones safe on chair lifts.
Young kids just learning to ski will get tired quickly and need to take regular breaks. We've found about 2-3 hours on the mountain is about the limit. So find out ahead of time what other activities are on offer and schedule in some off-mountain time in the afternoons.
Think high energy and easy to unwrap, hold and eat without removing gloves. Dried fruit bars & small chocolate minis are both good choices, packets of tiny things less so. A thermos of hot chocolate is also a good call for a quick warm boost whenever it is needed - without having to get to a cafe and queue.
Try to go with family and / or friends with kids so you can take turns looking after the kids vs getting out on the hill. Often little ones will only do half a day, so this is a good way to get in some extra adult ski time here and there.
So we've decided to do things a little bit differently this year. We're not doing a big sale. Instead, on behalf of our customers we'll be donating 30% of every purchase made between now and Midnight on Monday 30th to a fantastic charity working to help the children of Syria.
You can read all about them here
So stock up on your winter woolies and get a warm heart twice over
Becky & Suse xx
When we caught wind of the Wildlife Trust's June Campaign 30 Days Wild - aimed at encouraging families to include 20 minutes of wild time into each day in June, we were instantly keen to give it a go. Playing outside is at the very centre of what Superlove Merino is all about. We know that no matter what stresses us out, or how bad a mood might be, a blast of outside time never fails to break the spell. Bad weather can't be allowed to become a barrier (this is Britain so we'd never go out if it was). Superlove Merino was originally created as a way of harnessing the amazing protective powers of Merino Wool to ensure our kids could live lives as close as possible to the kind of roaming freedoms we had when we were little. Were we, the grubby unsupervised kids of the late 70's really the last free range generation? We hope not! We wanted to take our little ones on all kinds of wild adventures without worrying that they were too hot, cold (or too bogged down by bulky gear to move). Turns out we weren't alone, Britain's taste for merino is on the up, but a side effect of of running a fast growing brand has meant lately we've been thinking about playing outside, designing clothing for it, taking photos of it, but too busy with manufacturers, suppliers and rolls and rolls of fabric to actually DO it....Enter 30 Days Wild - A challenge we couldn't resist - to get back out there - after all, Superlove Merino lives in the Lake District...... so it would be rude not to.
A quick post nursery stroll in the late afternoon. This is a spot called High Dam, not far from Newby Bridge. We're convinced we spotted a pair of Otters here. Lily pads are something of an obsession in our house - the idea that frogs, fairies and other tiny critters might perch on them is magical, whimsical and totally appealing to the 3 year old imagination. So the purpose of this was to go and see if the are out for summer yet (they are)
A spot of rock climbing with a little buddy. This isn't quite as steep as it looks, but even still it required a few deep breaths from mum. We are at Brantfell here which is littered with scrambling rocks of all sizes and (for those without bedtimes to worry about) one of the best spots in the Lakes to watch the sun set.
It's 3.30 and school/nursery is out.....there is a rusty old digger winking at us in the field next door. With a pair of tractor mad cousins in tow it was inevitable this digger had to be climbed on. It's not my idea of a wild time but look how chuffed with themselves they are! The keen eyed among you will spot a prototype pink being tested here too (for rust resistance in this case)
Rambling aimlessly through the Rusland Valley after nursery. Sitting among the buttercups was part of it yes, as was rolling down the hill trying not to run over any old cow pats, but that bit wasn't as photogenic.....
There's a reason why this is the all time classic windy day activity - it's super fun! This is just behind Superlove HQ in Staveley, on the outskirts of the village. The sun is out, but it was utterly chilly, so miss 3 was feeling pretty happy to have approved the addition of a merino base layer top to the core tutu and sandal ensemble today.
Here we have three children, a blow up dinghy, lots of merino gear and a whale of a time messing about on Coniston. The result was some very wet and very happy small people who all slept extra well that night.
A really fun and educational way to spend a Sunday plus a chance to make the most of the last of the Bluebells - which are still around in the Lakes. A forest in Eskdale was full of these little tree protectors, each housing a seedling. The little one had a brilliant time running between them trying to identify each one (this was a baby pine tree, but there were oak, rowan, beech and yew as well)
MERINO - COOL WOOL FOR SUMMER
The ability of Merino wool to keep babies and kids warm in winter is legendary, but what about in summer? Do you pack these woollens away with a lavender sachet? No way, because this is no ordinary wool. Merino sheep are very different to the sheep you see grazing the lowland farms, and so is the wool they produce. Superfine Merino wool has been honed by nature over thousands of years, to help the Merino cope with a natural environment which swings from -20°C in the winter, to 35°C in the summer. Their superfine fleeces are the key to survival thanks to highly evolved temperature control properties that nothing synthetic can come close to. In hot weather Merino wool regulates body temperature by drawing heat and moisture outward, away from the skin, cooling the body as it does so and helping little ones strike the balance. In changeable weather or on summer evenings when temperatures can fluctuate, the insulation you rely on in winter is there as needed. Throw in the natural UPF of 40-50+, quick drying and antibacterial (stink free) and it's easy to see why Superlove Merino is a Superwool®
Rain doesn't have to mean staying in all day. Nature transforms in the rain, bringing new smells, sounds and textures; puddles appear and creatures come out.... The outdoors on a rainy day is an endless laboratory full of learning potential, and in the right gear is heaps of fun!
Take some old pots & pans outside and play mud kitchens. Let their imagination run riot and try and forget about the washing! This kind of natural, sensory play taps into a child's natural curiosity. Mud is even more fun than playing in sand or water for a little one, so let them go for it!
Head to your local green-space or the woods, you'll be surprised how enjoyable it is in the pouring rain! An extra idea is to take a pop up tent and a Thermos of hot chocolate for a cosy stop off!
There are lots of great songs about the rain and they can be made even more fun by singing them out IN the rain. Here are some of our favourite weather songs:
There is no such thing as bad weather, only inappropriate clothing - Sir Ranulph Twisleton-Wykeham-Fiennes
Enjoying the rain is easy when you have the right gear. babies, toddlers and kids lose heat more quickly than adults do due to having a comparatively higher size to weight ratio. To enjoy the outdoors year round in any weather a superlove merino base layer is ideal. On wet days merino clothing makes the best thermal clothing for babies, toddlers and kids as it draws moisture away from the skin and into it's core - where it later transfers outward releases and evaporates leaving the wearer comfortable and dry feeling. Merino can take on up to 60% of its own weight in moisture before feeling damp to the touch, but the real magic comes from an effect known as 'heat of sorption' whereby the presence of moisture triggers a natural reaction in the wool fibre that actually generates a small but noticeable amount of heat (about 1°C). This, coupled with a superior ability to insulate, is why merino wool keeps those lucky sheep (and us!) so warm in cold weather and yet another reason why merino is nature's super fibre. On cold wet winter days layer a superlove base layer under outdoor clothing for warmth and comfort, whatever the weather. For more information on layering little ones in cold weather check out our layering guide here
1. GHYLL SCRAMBLING
See if you can find a stream or other suitable water source near you - then let little ones get in and start sploshing about - the term 'water babies' wasn't coined for nothing - most babies, toddlers and kids will think it is pure joy. In our case we were lucky enough to find a mountain stream that was one part stream and one part natural obstacle course. Thankfully the merino kept little bums warm whilst wet (totally going to happen) and dried quickly afterwards. It goes without saying that supervision is key to this activity. If you really can't find a stream to dip into, skip over to our other watery suggestions for this month.
2. GO TO A FESTIVAL
In mid summer there are festivals big and small happening all across the land. Little ones will soak in the festive atmosphere and enjoy being part of what is essentially a celebration of summer (and therefore an age old tradition for our species). If you are heading to a larger multi day festival check out our guide to enjoying the experience with little ones in tow. Otherwise there is just as much fun to be had at the multitude of fetes, country shows and Summer fairs happening at the local community level. Head for the bouncy castle, face painter (always a hit) and have a dance with your little one.
3. MAKE 'FIZZING' ICE ART
A creative way to stay cool on a hot day and so easy to prepare. This activity ticks sensory, scientific and creative boxes and is just really good messy fun bound to delight little ones. Clean up is very quick and easy - just grab a bucket or hose and be sure to use 'washable' colourings.
Cornstarch (1/4 cup)
Baking Soda (1/4 Cup)
Water (1/2 Cup)
Liquid Water Colours, Washable Paint or Food Colouring
Ice Cube Trays
Optional: White vinegar & squeezy or spray bottles
How: Mix the Cornstarch, Baking Soda, Water and colouring together and freeze until solid. Then head outside, find some concrete (wet is best) and let little ones go for it experimenting with mixing colours and melting them together. Squirt or spray with vinegar to make it all fizz.
4. TREE-PLE & TREE-TURES
Get hold of some natural clay or try this DIY sand clay using common cupboard staples. Then take little ones on a hunt for some natural bits and bobs (pinecones, acorns, seed pods, pebbles) and use to make tree faces in your garden or local green space.. these will not only delight your own little ones, but make for a magical find for others walking by. Be sure to only use natural biodegradable materials so that they'll wash away in time.
Here we have 'Meemow the Cat' & (ahem) 'Mummy'
5. WATER BABIES
A thinly disguised excuse to play with the hose on a hot day? Maybe..... nontheless there is loads of outdoor fun to be had in high summer when it comes to getting wet. Set the hose to a fine mist and get your little ones experimenting with pointing it in different directions to make rainbows....it'll keep them occupied for quite some time - until they realise that squirting mummy is REALLY funny. For older kids running through a sprinkler or a good old fashioned water fight is hard to beat for excitement value.... again, you will be the target, they'll love it (and you for playing too), little babies will love the chance to paddle tiny toes in a shallow inflatable pool with some toys.
6. GO CAMPING
Indulge their (and your) inner wild child and connect with the great outdoors on a camping trip. When it comes to sleep - expect levels of excitement not conducive to regular bedtimes, in our experience it works best to aim for a good nap day - then come evening go with the flow and just all go to bed together. For toddlers and older babies a good tip to try is to zip mum & dad's sleeping bags together and make a big family bag (into the middle of which go the kids). A merino base layer truly shines when it comes to camping trips, summer evenings can be chilly and the extra warmth without bulk of weight is a welcome way to keep little ones comfy in tents when the sun goes down, as is the ability to release excess heat when the sun comes back up in the morning.
7. TEDDY BEARS PICNIC
Round up your child's favorite toys and treat them to a lovely picnic under a tree on a sunny day. Serve up acorn sandwiches, grass hors d'oeuvres and pinecone cakes all washed down with flower petal tea. Yum!
8. WATER THE PLANTS
Whether you have a garden in full bloom or a few plants growing in pots - little ones will love watering them and around now is a good time to let them go for it since plants will fancy a good drink and it won't matter too much if they overdo it (they will). This is a great way to teach little ones about both nature and nurture as well as experimenting with filling and pouring.
The secret to a great festival experience is.........
So in a nutshell be militant about planning before you go, then switch into zen-like mode once you arrive!
This will vastly increase your chances of having some grown up time (even just a bit), since a few kids will entertain one another! They don't necessarily even have to be the same age, older kids will enjoy helping look out for little ones and somehow they'll all end up merging into a tribe and having fun together.
Apart from that, there are all sorts of practical benefits - More eyes are always good when it comes to keeping tabs on excited kids and you'll have a built in wipe, nappy and sun-cream sharing community!
|The quintessential smell & taste of the British summer, Elderflower are in full bloom in the hedgerows right now! Take your little ones on a picking mission - then make something lovely with the spoils. Old favourites (for very good reason) are elderflower champagne (Hic!), cordial & fritters which are especially fun to make with kids. Foraging for Elderflowers is great fun for all ages and even babies in carriers will love getting involved!
|Baby ducklings are bigger and braver by June, so a trip to the park or pond means good chances for your cuties to get up close with these ones, offering a great oppertunity for little children to learn about nurturing and respect for nature. Mummy ducks that are used to populated areas should tolerate the action especially if something yummy is on offer - speaking of which, the old favourite of bread and/or chips isn't recommended by the RSPB. Opt for oats, green veges, peas or specially formulated duck food istead.|
|Wildflowers are everywhere in June and are a wonderful way to get little ones right into the midst of nature, it is also a good chance to let them indulge in a little bit of sanctioned picking in the name of being a budding scientist (not to be repeated later in nana's garden!). Download this printable identification sheet and see how many you can spot. We like pressing our finds then making them into pretty cards - abeit they are mainly cards that say "sorry Nana for picking in your garden"|
Flying kites is so much fun (not just for kids as a recent windy day saw everyone from miss 2.5 to grandad having a go and getting literally carried away). Kites are easy, cheap and fun to make and give kids a chance to get directly involved with the weather. If your kids are very small then the simpler the kite design, the better, here is an easy kite design to make.
|Pack a net & bucket then head to a pond, river or lake near you. We've yet to encoutner a kid who doesn't love fishing for tiddlers - from very young toddlers (for whom catching nothing doesn't spoil the fun) through to older kids, hours can be spent on the hunt for wiley tiddlers. A top tip is to put a little bit of protein food in the water to lure them in (hardboiled egg, cheese etc). Just be sure to fish any left overs back out at the end of the day. In the event of success, a bucket will come in handy to get a good look at the catch before letting them go again! With very young children, it's best to have a net for each child, just for your own sanity :)|
Look out for a clearish day with lots of those fluffy clouds that look gentle and lovely but really are anything but - then plop yourselves down in the garden or at the park and see what you can spot - when it comes to the burgeouning imaginations of a toddler or preschooler, the sky literally is the limit. On our afternoon in the park we saw a grumpy dinosaur, a bum(!!), a chicken called tinkerbell and a horse!
|On a trip to the beach see what natural treasures can be found on the sand or amongst the rocks, little ones will love hunting for shells, seaweeds, pebbles and grasses. We did this recently and collected all sort of things to make into a seascape mural that is fantasticical, if a little stinky.|
Merino baby clothing is an absolute essential all year round, whilst it is true that it is not cheap to buy, it is very durable and stretches and grows with your child ensuring months and months of wear - making it genuinely excellent value. By now most people know how wonderful 100% Merino Wool baby clothing is during the winter months, but Spring can present an even trickier challenge in ensuring your little one is comfortable thanks to highly changeable conditions - chilly and rainy one minute, then hot and humid the next.
Merino Wool is truly amazing thanks to its unique ability to breathe and regulate body temperature - keeping little ones warm when it is cold, and cool when it is hot!
Merino Wool comes from the wool of the merino sheep, who have evolved to withstand some of the harshest conditions in the world. The highlands of the South Island of New Zealand where temperatures range from 35°C in summer to -15°C in winter (Brrr!). What results is the softest finest quality wool in the world. Merino wool is so soft and fine that it is ideal for babies with sensitive skin (even eczema). Wearing Merino next to the skin creates a cosy 'microclimate' which insulates naturally, is breathable and draws moisture away from the skin. Merino wool is also easy to wash (machine and tumble dry), quick drying, naturally antibacterial and has a (natural) UPF of 30-50+. All of these unique properties make it is a perfect fabric for little ones (who of course) can’t tell you whether they are too hot or too cold! A Superlove Merino baby gift set or Sleep Bag makes a truly wonderful gift for a newborn baby.View full article →
Happy Easter everyone! No matter how you celebrate it, we hope you'll get outside and enjoy bit of time having fun with your little one(s). There aren't too many things kids enjoy more than hunting for prizes (& making a mess) and here are our picks of creative and fun ways to do it this weekend. If the weather really doesn't play fair, then most of these can easily be adapted to an indoor setting (but hey we really hope you'll tog up and go out anyway!)
1. Easter Scavenger Hunt
Hide clues around the house and/or garden that can be followed one by one, leading little ones ultimately to the location of their 'Easter basket'. We like hiding our clues on rolled up bits of paper inside blown eggs (or inside little plastic egg cases* that can be opened).
The creative among you will have fun making up riddles, but the less inclined might like to download these 20 free printable hunt riddles (what we do) from Simply Fun Families .
Older kids will be able to follow written clues, but if your hunt is aimed at toddlers then an easier alternative is to take pictures of your hiding places and have those as clues.
2. Egg Rolling
For this traditional & highly entertaining activity, you'll need a couple of toddlers or kids, a grassy knoll/hill/slope, some colourful decorated hens eggs and some little prizes to put up for grabs.
This one is a great leveler if you have kids of different ages and the premise is simple - Each player lines up their egg atop the hill and then pushes it so it rolls it down. The egg that makes it the furthest (and remains intact mind you) wins.
Lots of fun can be had decorating eggs before hand and whilst the jury is out on whether or not boiling is allowed, the purists won't approve - raw is more fun anyway.
3. The Golden Egg
Paint one egg gold and hide it especially well, the finder of the golden egg wins an extra prize. This one is best for older kids or where all hunters are of similar age and stage and a little competition will be enjoyed.
4. Colour Coded Eggs
Unlike the golden egg, this one is handy if the hunters are not the same age, and ensures very little ones don't come out of the hunt empty basketed at the hands of an an older sibling who is the veteran of a few more hunts!
5. The 'Damage Limitation' Egg Hunt
Cadbury won't thank us for this but here is an idea to avoid or at least dilute the chocolate content of an egg hunt - perhaps reserving that for the final 'find'. Pre-fill colourful plastic egg cases* with little treats like plastic animals, dinosaurs, marbles, balloons, stickers, temporary tattoos etc then decorate and hide as usual. If anything we've found that these are easily as well received (if not more so).
Older kids may enjoy a twist whereby 'bunny money' is hidden in each egg, which can then be spent in the 'bunny market' on little trinkets.
6. Easter Egg Discovery Box
One especially for pre-walkers and younger babies.
Again for this you'll want a few of the plastic egg cases* – each filled with interesting objects that little ones can discover on opening the egg and put them into an empty egg box ready for those chubby cute little hands to discover
*These plastic egg cases are easily found in supermarkets and pound shops and can then be used again and again. One post-easter idea is to use these in a 'snack hunt' for little toddlers who will really love hunting for them and when presented this way even usually uninteresting snacks such as chopped cucumber, blueberries, Satsuma pieces, raisins etc, suddenly become very interesting. We trialled this on a couple of 2.5 yr olds this morning and they thought it was the best thing ever!