Prepare for rain! As tempting as it is not to pack a raincoat, we always recommend that children come prepared just in case. Summer storms are not unheard of!
Wear sunblock and hats. If it is sunny, then young skin needs to be protected, even if we are under trees a lot of the time. We are not allowed to apply sun lotion to other people’s children in case they are allergic to it, so please make sure you come prepared and have permission to apply it to your guests if they need it. A cool hat/cap could be a party bag idea!
Ticks. Although a tick bite is rare, we do feel obliged to highlight the potential for this to parents as the possible outcome (Lymes Disease) can be serious. Many ticks do not carry Lymes and this risk is certainly not a reason for anyone not to be outdoors. In fact risks are very much reduced if everyone knows what to do. Take precautions by wearing long trousers, and socks which cover the ankles. Ticks are found in the summer months, in places where foxes and deer frequent, most often in long grass. They drop off the animal and can then attach themselves to people and may often go unnoticed as they are so tiny. Make sure you check your child after being in long grass and woodland, especially in the armpits and other bodily creases.
They are more likely to bite from the waist up on a child and from ankles to waist on an adult. If you find a tick on you or someone else, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO REMOVE IT ON YOUR OWN as this is when the risk of transmission is highest. See a doctor straight away. Please have a look at the following website for full guidance about what to do if you think you have been bitten or have a tick on you.
Hydration. Make sure you provide some bottles of water for your guests. They will probably be running around a lot and getting thirsty. We have a water canister which can be used to refill bottles a second time and some of our venues have water taps nearby.
Long hair and dangly bits! They just get in the way and can be a real hazard when toasting marshmallows by the fire and using tools, or getting caught up in bushes in running games. Hair up if possible, and dangly jewellery/accessories left at home.
Think about how the people you are inviting will cope with potentially cold and/or wet weather. If you are considering an outdoor party in the winter months, it’s likely that you and your family are already geared up and willing to do this. Bear in mind that your guests may not be. Please make sure they are fully aware of what they are coming to, and what they need to wear and bring for a happy experience!
There’s no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing! It is essential that you make sure your guests know to dress appropriately for the party. In particular we find that girls’ parties often result in some very pretty outfits, but not very warm ones! Under-fives are particularly vulnerable to getting cold which doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be outside, we just need to make sure we’ve got the clothing right! We provide lists of recommended kit.
Ask guests to bring spare clothes in case they get really wet or muddy. This is very much a reality in the winter months if someone accidentally slips in the mud or gets a bit excited in the puddles!
Tell parents to be geared up for transporting a wet and/or muddy child home! Bin bags for the car seats, spare clean shoes, or we like outside layers that can be peeled off and put in the boot to be found dried into a crust in the spring!
Bring a couple of Thermos flasks of hot chocolate/hot soup. This can be drunk on arrival to warm people up and help them feel good at the start. One of our mums had the great idea of mugs in the party bags for this very purpose!
Consider which venue you choose. We recommend using Pinewood Scout Centre in Shirley for winter parties as they have a permanent tepee shelter and are in general more sheltered from cold winds as they are in a valley. They also have indoor space which can be used at extra cost. Look at our venue information for detail about pricing.
Please support the facilitator by not over focusing on challenging weather. Rather stay positive by encouraging folk to join in our energetic games, warm up by the roaring fire and make sure your guests have enough hot drinks to warm their bellies!