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Get your kids outside and chances are they’ll find the closest mud puddle, sandpit or damp leaf pile to wreak havoc on before you can blink.
Sometimes it’s hard not to sigh at the sight of your mud-stained child. But it’s okay for kids to get dirty!
It’s easy today, while COVID-19 sweeps the world, to get a little germaphobic. Small children put a lot of weird things in their mouth; older kids handle all kinds of gross things you wouldn’t dream of touching yourself. But keeping your kids spick and span 24/7 isn’t actually for the best. Apart from helping to develop immune systems and replenish microbes that help prevent allergies, asthma and other chronic conditions, letting your kids get dirty will encourage them to experience the world on their own terms.
Give your kids the chance to explore
We all want to encourage our children to have time away from the dreaded Screen, whether it’s the TV for cartoons, the PC for video games, the iPad for FaceTiming their friends. The regular benefits of getting your kids outdoors are obvious: there’s fresh air, sunlight and plenty of opportunities for fun exercise. If your kid isn’t a fan of typical sports, chances are they still adore the chance to get outside and explore: the outdoors has so much scope for creativity!
If you live on a farm, or regularly go hiking, camping or hunting, then there’s even more reason to get your kids involved. Farmwork can involve mucky stuff that you don’t want your kids to shy away from. In fact, studies show that kids who grow up on farms are 20% less likely to develop asthma because of the microbes they’re exposed to in animal feces. Hiking and camping has its fair share of dealing with mud, rain and plenty of dried sweat that you won’t get off until that glorious shower back home. And hunting requires a certain strength of stomach that only getting your kids out with you will teach them to handle, so they can learn to love the sport.
Beat the COVID blues by getting outdoors
COVID-19 isn’t just an illness. It’s instigated a never-before-seen level of isolation that many parents and kids are struggling to deal with. Many families now have to juggle remote learning along with keeping their kids entertained 24/7, since we can’t pack them off to playdates or parties. Ridgeline Clothing Now is the best possible time to introduce your child to your outdoor sports. And outdoor play isn’t limited to such extremes.
Here are some low-key outdoor activities and games that you can play from your yard if COVID-19 restrictions don’t allow you to get out and about:
● Puddle splashing - pop on their waterproof gear and really test its limits!
● Leaf piles - do your trees drop leaves in autumn? Let your kid help rake them up and jump into the piles
● Cloud appreciation - what shapes can you all see?
● Collect and create - encourage your kids to find the best sticks/leaves/stones/etc. so they can decorate them with craft glitter and paint
● Treasure digging - if you have a sandbox, bury small toys and let them excavate
● Sidewalk chalk - draw hopscotch and obstacle courses for your kids
● Snowball fight - if you live in a cold area, instigate a friendly snowball fight
● Mud pies - remember: mud is good! Get your children to “bake” mud pies as you pretend to order them.
What outdoor clothing is best for my kids?
Ridgeline Clothing has a great range of kids’ outdoor clothes, including hiking clothes, camping clothes - even kids’ camo clothes! So what should you look for when selecting your child’s next hiking outfit or hunting jacket?
If you live in a colder climate, look for warm and insulating materials such as:
● Fleece - toasty warm, lightweight, breathable and more affordable than wool. It’s perfect for warm kids’ beanies and ideal for dry, cold conditions. Add a waterproof and/or windproof layer for wet and windy days, or look for a fleece jacket that can handle cold, wet and wind like the Kids Cub Fleece Jacket.
● Southern Star - fleece with tiny fibres to trap warm air inside, protecting you from extreme outdoor conditions. The higher the GSM (grams per square metre), the warmer it is.
● Merino wool - odour-resistant, UV-resistant, moisture-wicking, hypoallergenic, non-itchy, durable...Merino wool sounds amazing, but it can come with a hefty price tag.
● Down - with an excellent warmth to weight ratio, down is designed to withstand very chilly temperatures but loses most of its warming properties when wet.
● Polypropylene (PolyPro) - affordable, moisture-wicking and quick-drying; great for thermals and long underwear.
If you live in a neutral or changing climate, buy blended fabrics that offer dual benefits:
● Cotton/polyester blend - cotton is durable, affordable, super comfy and hypoallergenic. It tends to absorb moisture instead of letting it evaporate though, so look for a cotton/polyester blend to get the benefits of cotton while keeping your kids comfortably dry. The Kids Geo Hoodie and Kids Antler Hoodie are awesome examples.
● Tri-Tech - two bonded layers of durable polyester: soft, breathable and windproof.
If you live in warmer climates, consider more lightweight and breathable fabrics like:
● Air-Tech / Air-Flow - tiny mesh perforations allow air to flow freely onto your skin, keeping you covered but cool in lightweight comfort
● CoolDry - wicks moisture away from the body, like the Kids Whanau Tee
● Polyester - wicks moisture and dries quickly, like the Kids Breeze Shorts.
Kids tend to move through clothes quickly, not just by outgrowing them but because they play hard. The result is more rips, holes and tears in your kids’ outdoor clothes than you’d like. To save money long-term on replacing clothes, search for durable pieces that will last.
Look out for the following words listed on products:
● Ballistic - super tough and abrasion-resistant, like the Kids Ballistic Hoodie
● Ripstop - limits holes and tears from stretching and getting bigger.
Those strange numbers on waterproof clothing measure exactly how waterproof the fabric is. Here’s how to read them:
● 0-5,000mm - light rain or dry snow in short periods
● 6,000-10,000mm - light rain or moderate snow for days (good for hiking in the rain)
● 11,000-15,000mm - moderate rain or snow, but pressure points like where a backpack’s straps sit may eventually get wet
● 16,000-20,000mm - heavy rain or wet snow, but again, pressure points may eventually soak through
20,000mm+ - heavy rain and wet snow under high pressure.
For example, the Kids Spiker Jacket rates 10,000 WP (waterproof) and also has adjustable cuffs, an integrated hood and a longer length for extra protection, so it’s perfect for rainy days. Waterproof fabrics include:
● RL-TEX - also tough, breathable and comfortable
● QUIET-TEX PRO - keeps you dry with complete waterproof, breathable protection while keeping your garment totally silent: the hunter’s dream!
● Southern Star 340 PRO - warm fleece with a waterproof/windproof membrane.
When your kids are outdoors playing or coming on hikes and hunts, they’re going to sweat. It’s no use having a waterproof garment if it doesn’t also allow perspiration to escape. This process is called moisture-wicking: moving sweat away from your skin and releasing it into the air.
Keep an eye out for these terms:
● WVTR (water vapor transmission rate) - measures how well a garment breathes
● Southern Star - a fleece found in many Ridgeline Clothing garments that allows moisture to evaporate, keeping the fabric dry and you warm.
A soft shell jacket is perfect for keeping warm and dry while sweating in colder environments because they combine a water-resistant outer with an insulated interior. The Kids Razorback Jacket is a great pick for cold weather, even in light and dry snow.