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Muddy Faces

How to get ready

For many group leaders, putting outdoor clothing on, particularly with young groups, can be quite an arduous task. This section offers some suggestions on how to get your group organised and outside more easily and speedily.

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Tips before you start

Create good communication

... with parents and discuss the project and clothing needed with them. It will help to make sure that the children have the correct clothing and have practised dressing themselves for the outdoors at home or at school.

Use visual aids

Get the children involved and ask them to create a poster (if appropriate) showing the process of getting ready for the outdoors. By discussing and drawing out the different stages it can help their understanding of what they need to do. Alternatively, create a photo board or flipchart of each stage to make sure each child knows what to do at each point.

Make the process fun for you as well as them

This whole process will need to happen each time you go outdoors. Creating a song or reward system for each stage can be helpful.

Set realistic times

... for getting the group ready. Remember every group is different, even if they are the same age. Offer rewards to encourage the children to help each other, particularly those children who are struggling. Carry out checks along the way so you know that each child is dressed appropriately for the weather.

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Getting ready to go outdoors:
a step-by-step guide

If may sound simple, but adding your layers in the correct order ensures everyone will be ready, warm and waterproof for their adventures outdoors!

1. Go to the toilet

... before starting to put any outdoor gear on. This applies to children and adults. I have, on numerous occasions, got everyone changed and realised they have not been to the toilet - learn from our mistakes!

2. Base layer

Tuck base layers neatly into the trouser waistband (this stops any external draughts reaching the skin). Tuck trousers into socks; this helps socks stay up and stops cold air reaching the skin.

Tip

Make trousers are as flat as possible by folding them around the leg before tucking them into socks. When tucking trousers in socks, only tuck the bottom of the trouser in, as when you come to bend your knees clothing may restrict movement if stuck down too far into socks.

3. Mid layer

For example, thin fleece or school jumper.

4. Waterproof trousers or dungarees

If there is enough room, tuck the mid layer into the waterproof trousers or dungarees – this stops drafts.

5. Boots or Wellies

Ideally, get all the children to this stage before putting on the outer layer. This will prevent anyone getting too hot whilst waiting for everyone else to get dressed. It also gives you an opportunity to check children have the correct layers on.

6. Outer Layer

Once you are happy that everybody has all the correct clothing on, put on your coats.

7. Extremities

If necessary, put on hats and gloves before you go out.

Tip

Sometimes it is better to put gloves on before putting on the outer layer, as you can pull the glove cuffs up over the mid layer so that the top of the glove is then secured inside the outer layer’s sleeve.

8. Rucksack

With a water bottle and space to put hats and gloves if they are removed during the session.

Before you go

Don't forget to take spare clothing out with you, especially extra mittens, and your documentation and First Aid kit.

These guides are also available as free pdf downloads:

Outdoor clothing practioners guide

pdf, 860.54 KB

Dressing for the outdoors parents information

pdf, 425.74 KB

Waterproof clothing care advice

pdf, 250.08 KB

Outdoor clothing buying guide

pdf, 670.59 KB

See also

Layers explained

It is not always obvious what outdoor clothing is needed to best support effective outdoor play and learning. In this guide we look at the various elements of clothing required, with a focus on layering.

Read More about Layers explained
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