Happy New Year Everyone!
As usual, a holiday gives me time to dream and scheme. I'm currently in the middle of revamping my website. It's a substantial job and when it goes live will only represent a small fraction of my vision for what I ultimately want it to be.
One of the things which will change is that I will have advertising on both this blog and the new website. I'm trying to make the social enterprise aspect of my work more transparent. The aim is to put the money raised into some kind of outdoor clothing scheme as I feel if children are properly (or better) dressed for being outdoors then they are able to get outside more often.
My original plan was to offer small scale grants to organisations and schools. However, I'm now wondering whether setting up a "Try Before you Buy" box would be more effective. The aim would be to create a box with:
- A selection of different clothing from different companies. For example trousers, dungarees, all-in-ones, some with elastic cuffs, others with velcro, some with poppers, some with zips, possibly a cape or two and a range of colours and sizes.
- Advice sheets about factors to consider. For example, the Swedish Civil Defence League advocate very young children being dressed in bright colours, with some reflective material and elastic cuffs on waterproof trousers to keep the warmth in and the wet out.
- Suggestions for involving children of different ages in putting together criteria for testing and deciding which clothing is most effective
- Suggestions for acquiring clothing and fundraising
- Some simple outdoor ideas to try whilst testing the clothing!
The idea is that the box could be loaned to a class for a few weeks to try out. Whilst there would not be enough clothes for a whole class, it would be a good positive focus on the benefits of wearing appropriate clothing. I think it would generate discussions and enthusiasm for getting outside using an enterprising and interdisciplinary approach.
The idea has grown from my experience of working with different groups of children. I have a box of clothes that I make available to classes with which I work. What has been interesting has been observing which clothes the children choose and why. For example, red clothes and yellow clothes are most popular with children who like to pretend they are fire fighters or have other jobs. I also see children mix and match jackets and trousers/dungarees. As my own son grew up he switched preference from red to navy blue but remained fussy about the texture of outdoor clothes and how they feel.
I'm interested to know your thoughts. Do you think would work well? Do you have any questions? Any drawbacks or concerns?
PS All the clothes worn in these photos come from Raindrops Clothing, in case you were wondering! I've always like the range and choice offered. However lots more outdoor clothing companies are springing up, often set up by parents with young children.