"Children need to create. They need to make art, to feel and see and move their worlds in new directions." - From Simplicity Parenting by Kim John Payne

Children love to play, but sometimes it seems that they just enjoy making a mess and don't actually spend that much time playing. Like adults, children get overwhelmed by too much choice. To encourage independent play and creativity in our children we need to simplify things for them.

" As you decrease the quantity of your child's toys and clutter, you increase their attention and their capacity for deep play" - Simplicity Parenting

This may seem a bit much for those who want to offer their children the best of everything. But playing with less will encourage you child to use their imagination and turn boredom into invention. When our daughters were 3 and 5 years old, they had plenty of toys which they constantly argued over but never actually played with. My husband and I decided to put them all away and they could just select a couple of favourites to keep. To our surprise, they started playing better with each other, there was less clutter in our home and far less arguing. The biggest difference I saw was that their imagination blossomed!

They started to make everything they needed to play! Forts out of blankets, dollhouses out of cardboard boxes, tiny clothes and blankets out of old scraps of fabric, collections of sea shells, acorns and leaves. Fire engines, ambulances, tractors and trains, all from just one wooden truck. In their imagination, anything was possible!

The more toys we give our children, the less they need to use their imagination. When one toy just has one specific purpose, it quickly becomes useless, it cannot become something else. This does not mean that we should buy our children any toys, giving toys to our children may be our way of showing our love for them. But choosing the toys we give will determine how they are played with.

Children are all so different and may like different things but any of them will find great fun in a bag of building blocks, a wooden truck, a simple dollhouse, and some small animals & people to play with. The rest can be left up to their imagination.

As Winter approaches, it is important that both children and grownups wear the right clothing, especially this year as many of us are spending more time outdoors, playing and socialising. Playing outdoors has so many benefits for children - they are natural explorers and can spend hours playing outside, and for us, being out in nature every day can boost our mood and decrease anxiety. But if not dressed right, we can become quite miserable! So here is a little guide to what we should be wearing for maximum comfort!

Three principal layers of clothing: Base - layer, Mid - layer & Outer layer

Base layers are the first layer of clothing you put on, almost like as second skin. Merino / silk base layers (tops & leggings) are made from natural fabrics and help keep little ones warm in cold weather and cool in hot weather. They can be worn all year round so are worth investing in.

The Mid- layer is worn in cold weather over your base layers. Jumpers, Cardigans & Pants made from wool make the ideal mid layer. Wool needs very little washing so it is great for cold winters when clothes take so long to dry. They also help to keep your little ones dry in damp weather.

The Outer layer is the jacket or coat your child will be wearing. The Faire Child raincoat & rain pants can be worn in Winter, even in snow! The light fabric is fully waterproof yet breathable.

Other alternatives are wool coats and puffer jackets.

For wool coats always check fabric composition and aim for close to 100% wool, if the coat is lined, make sure the lining is made from a natural fabric like cotton as this will prevent your child from overheating.

For Puffer jackets - look for lightweight (recycled) down filled ones.

Wooly hats - they can be lightweight or chunky but always check the fabric composition as acrylic / polyester hats will make your child sweat and then will will get cold.

Mittens & gloves - although fabric may not seem as important here, the ones made from wool will be slightly water repellent, they will wick away moisture and are also quick drying when they do get wet!

Snoods made from merino / silk - better and safer for kids than long scarves.

Socks - wool socks will keep little feet warm for longer, if wearing wellies, choose tack wool socks as wellies don't have a leather / wool lining and can get a bit cold.

Footwear - leather or waterproof boots are best, think wool lined Chelsea boots or a laced hiking boot type. Wellies are great for that slushy snow or puddle jumping but make sure you have some warm wooly socks!

For babies - merino base layers, wool snowsuit and a wool hat is sufficient if you are wearing the baby on a sling, if in a buggy - consider investing in a genuine sheepskin liner or sheepskin footmuff, these will last for years and the liner can be used all year round, even in summer as it keeps babies cool.

For adults - same as above and a flask with hot coffee will keep you happy outdoors!