Han-Son, founder of DaddiLife, one of the UKs top fatherhood websites, shares his views on getting outside this spring and the essentials for a great day out with the kids!
Spring is finally here! After all the snow, wind and ‘beasts from the East’ it couldn’t have come at a better time. As the weather changes and it starts to look a little brighter out there it’s really important to get our children outdoors. Recent research by Sudocrem showed that children up to the age of 11 in the UK spend on 45 hours on average in front of a screen, and only 5 hours a week outside. It’s time to change that habit dads. But every dad knows that taking the kids out involves military style planning, starting with your dad bag essentials. So, what are the key things to pack for a day out, while still enabling you to be at your flexible best?
A hungry child can go from zero to cranky in seconds, so I never leave the house without snacks. The best foods should be good for little fingers to pick up and eat, a safe size to avoid choking hazards, and if you can make them healthy, that’s a bonus! For my kids, granola bars and rice cakes are always popular. Raisins are perfect to stick in the bag- sweet but not too sticky, portioned into handy cartons, and if I forget they’re in there, they aren’t going to spoil. Unlike bananas for example- perfect healthy snack food; sweet, easy to hold, come in their own natural packaging. Just don’t forget it’s there! There’s nothing quite like that sinking feeling when you thrust your hand into the change bag and end up covered in tar-like black banana!
It’s really important to keep little ones well hydrated, particularly in warmer weather or when they’re doing lots of running around. These days, there are so many kids water bottles available, it’s hard to know what to look for. I like bottles with a secure lid so you don’t end up with a leak in the bag. Volume is important too; bigger is not always better! Don’t forget that you’ll be the one carrying it. Pack a sensible sized water bottle, and fill it up at water fountains or kid-friendly cafes.
Keeping a toiletry bag with some essentials in can be a sanity saver. Things like suncream, and a few first aid supplies. You will need wipes, more wipes than you can imagine. No matter how old your kids are, you will always have a use for wipes! As babies, I used mine for the obvious nappy changes. As they’ve gotten older, they’ve cleaned sticky hands, sticky picnic tables, muddy knees, hot and sweaty faces- the list goes on. Public loos will inevitably have no loo roll in the cubicle that you and your kids are squished into. Never fear, you have your trusty wipes! Plus, you’ll bump into some other poor parent who has forgotten their wipes, and you’ll be their saviour. A true modern day dad, coming to the rescue of some frazzled soul with kids covered in chocolate ice cream (me, when I foolishly forgot my wipes).
Music and savings
Make a day out playlist for each time you head out; those songs will bring back precious memories in later years. Search the web for money-off vouchers for wherever you visit. Use the timer for having races against the clock, and of course, the camera for taking pictures of your day.
As witty and engaging as your banter may be daddy, your child has a short attention span. Public transport and car journeys are way more bearable if the little ones have something to entertain them. There are so many top baby gadgets and gizmos out there and something small and lightweight is ideal. If you’re having a day outdoors, consider a frisbee or inflatable ball rather than a football that will be awkward to carry with you all day.
A blanket is a bit of an unsung hero in my eyes. I always have one in the bag. Use it as a picnic blanket, or to wrap the kids up if the weather changes. The humble blanket is a versatile wonder that deserves a place in your bag. And at the end of a fun-filled and tiring day out with dad, your little one can cosy up in it and fall asleep.
If you’ve got a sec, please leave us a comment because we’d love to know what you thought!