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#1 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 01:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I love that my kids want to play outside as much as they do but I cannot keep up with the laundry and wet stuff.

Need some ideas as to what you might do.

It's cold here (25-40 on any given day), kids are 4 and 2.5, and once they get cold or their hands get cold the fun is over. They LOVE to play in the mud and puddles, dig in the semi frozen sandbox. Their hands get cold and I run out of dry gloves everyday.

If I use snow pants and ski type gloves/mittens they stay warm and reasonably dry, but then it all has to be washed. If I don't run them in the dryer they are still wet for the next play day. Using the dryer seems as though I'm wearing them out quickly.

Everyday I have 2 sets (minimum) of wet/ muddy/sandy clothes, gloves, random hats and snow clothes to wash and dry. Today I said no to splashing in the mud puddles (really this is mud with standing water so I'm talking serious dirt!) and felt like a nagging hag - "No....you cannot throw the brick, you will get all wet/muddy", "Please walk carefully, you are getting your pants all dirty", "here, let's do ______(insert some random try to stay clean play idea)...NOT what I want for them for outside 'play' ya know?

So the end question I guess...How do I let them have fun, explore, get dirty as all get out and not have piles of laundry? Or, do I just need to limit what they can do outside sometimes? (I cannot imagine really doing this to be honest...)

~L.
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#2 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 02:15 AM
 
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Is the electricty cost or gas cost of doing the extra laundry a concern for you? Well it was a little bit when ours were little, but we got over it real quick. They were having so much gosh darn fun! What was a little bit of extra laundry? Clothes are meant to be lived in. Sure they get worn out, but what the heck. Childhood is meant to be lived in the moment. So our sons rumbled in the mud, and the rain and whatever. It was fun. Memories in the making! They are now 32 and 29, and both have said, they were so glad we were not hung up on them getting down and dirty. Oh what fun they had! I miss it. Childhood is so fleeting! So go out and get wet dirty with your kids. You will never get this time back!
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#3 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 02:22 AM
 
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Is the electricty cost or gas cost of doing the extra laundry a concern for you? Well it was a little bit when ours were little, but we got over it real quick. They were having so much gosh darn fun! What was a little bit of extra laundry? Clothes are meant to be lived in. Sure they get worn out, but what the heck. Childhood is meant to be lived in the moment. So our sons rumbled in the mud, and the rain and whatever. It was fun. Memories in the making! They are now 32 and 29, and both have said, they were so glad we were not hung up on them getting down and dirty. Oh what fun they had! I miss it. Childhood is so fleeting! So go out and get wet dirty with your kids. You will never get this time back!
I love this response
Can you hit up Goodwill for some cheap extra gloves, pants, shoes, etc. to lessen the urgency to wash and dry everything so quickly?

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#4 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 02:56 AM
 
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ugh, this drives me a bit nutty, but I let them sometimes Pretty much our whole backyard is dirt/sand, so even when it doesn't rain or snow, they get dirty. Well, and they just love to turn on the hose and make mud.

Our kitchen is tile, and there is a door to the backyard there, so I will make them step right inside (usually on a towel) and strip down. Then I shake what I can off outside, and take everything to the laundry room. PITA, sometimes, but they are kids and they love to be outside and get dirty (especially my 3 boys). We have white carpet so no way are they walking across it. I do have piles of laundry from this - usually at least 2 loads, 3 if it's cold enough for heavy coats -- but I just wash everything right away, and it's not so bad. They don't get super dirty everyday, though. But in the summer, almost every day!

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#5 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 03:35 AM
 
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Sometimes with snow pants and winter coats you can just wipe off the surface with a soapy washcloth and not have to wash the whole thing. Would that work? Kind of like a spot clean. Because they are not like jeans or pants that get mud soaked all the way through I know sometimes it's easier to just throw the whole thing in the machine though! I have this problem with shoes! My kids' shoes get so muddy and dirty that I just want to throw them in the machine and not have to deal with treads crammed with mud and dirt! Luckily they've worn nothing but snow boots for the past month because we have so much snow and ice and cold right now.
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#6 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 04:38 AM
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We bought extra gloves. DD, age 4, has 3 pairs of water resistant gloves and 2 pairs of mittens that are just warm. Her snow overalls will dry overnight if I hang them by a heating vent. We don't get much mud though, mostly just snow and slushy melting snow.
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#7 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 05:38 AM
 
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My boys love rain, dirt, mud and they love it all day every day during some parts of the year. I'm okay with it. We live on a farm and yeah, the dirt is really dirty!

What I do: try to dress them in their old stuff, in layers, so that then an outer layer needs to get washed, but not necessarily what's underneath it. I also try to dress them in water-proof/water-resistant outer layers that often only need a quick rinse spin in the washer, and then get hung up to air-dry in the laundry room. Two pairs of good quality boots, one a rainboot and one for colder temps + dryness. Gloves are tricky; I try to teach them to not immerse their hands directly in the water. But we just keep a few extras on hand. Stock up at the thrift store. The time is so short, that really, it's not going to be a huge expense, power-wise or cost-wise for the fun value. They're having fun, excercising, experimenting, learning all matter of science related things, and probably are far away from any media! What could be better?

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#8 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 07:01 AM
 
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My ds (3.5) goes to a forest school so they go outside everyday regardless of the weather. I send him to school in warm layers, hat and mittens (with 2 changes of clothing, spare hat, mittens etc), all topped off with waterproof dungarees and waterproof jacket.

Sometimes he comes home in his spare bottoms as he can't always get his jacket/dungarees off in time, but his waterproofs do a good job of keeping the clothes underneath clean and dry. I do wash his waterproofs, but most days I can just let them dry or spray down the outside with the shower head.
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#9 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 08:19 AM
 
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I say, let them play. If they run out of gloves, let them play without them (they'll come in before their hands get too, too cold). I will admit, I might limit their clothes to two sets a day (I have a very tiny stackable washer and dryer so if they are all muddy, it takes a whole day to wash and dry one load). If they get muddy wash them out, if they are just wet hang them up. I live in a very humid climate, even in the winter. . .but if I hang things over chairs in my living room (where the heater is) they dry very quickly.

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#10 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 10:29 AM
 
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Every minute my dd is outside getting dirty is a minute she isn't rotting her brain in front of the TV. That kind of play is really good for kids and I just remind myself of how healthy and beneficial it is as I do the laundry.
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#11 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 10:50 AM
 
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I keep the drying rack in the laundry room and hang the wet stuff on it. They are always dry by the next day.

Instead of ski style snow pants, my son wears farmer carhart style coveralls. His winter coat stays clean for school/outings. And I rarely wash them.

(I grew up on a farm. It's what we always wore. According to my dad, if you wash them they loose their water-resistance to quickly. Dried mud just kinda brushes off them.)

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#12 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 11:03 AM
 
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Unless the coats and pants are completely mudded, I just let them dry and they can wear them again the next day. My oldest does wear his snow pants to school some days, but we have an extra pair that he only wears at home and I just wipe/shake off the worst of it.
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#13 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 12:20 PM
 
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What about using an actual rainsuit with all the layers underneath? Something like this. Then the rainsuit would get dirty on the outside but it could just be washed occassionally - I mean, if they are going to play in the mud anyway who cares if the top layer starts off coated in old dirt?

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#14 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 12:21 PM
 
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Would something like this http://www.mec.ca/Products/product_d...=1263568969668 work? They're something you can easily spray or hose off, and they'll be dry for the next time your kiddos want to go out. You just need warm layers underneath. Everything stays dry and muck free, except the easily wipeable outerlayer.

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#15 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 01:55 PM
 
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We live on a small farm, too, and yep, there's a bunch of laundry. You ought to see it when we get hit w/snow, which doesn't happen often and no one around here is prepared. We just layer, layer, layer, and have extra gloves.

You can limit the amount of times they are allowed to change out of dirty clothes or do what a pp suggested and encourage them to do the 'cleaner' fun stuff first. Or you can just do laundry!

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#16 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 02:17 PM
 
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We live back in the woods with a muddy stream and a bog, plus all the snow, slush and icy water you can imagine. I am constantly buying mitts, overalls, splash pants, snowsuits, winter coats and ski pants at the thrift shops. (I have three little ones and I run a home daycare, where the parents never fail to seriously underdress their kiddos for our climate and lifestyle : (

My own kids have their good going to school outerwear, but for play it's the old stuff, sometimes I'll pull rubberized splash pants on overtop of their snow pants and even raincoats with heavy knit sweaters underneath if it's that gross snow/rain mix we seem to get all the time here.
They mostly wear rubber rain boots when it's muddy/slushy/gross with a couple pairs of warm socks.
Knit mittens seem to work best for us, particularily if they're wool because even if they get wet you can still sqeeze your hands up tight inside them and get your hands warm again. Plus they dry much quicker than the 'waterproof' gloves and it's easy to jam an extra pair in everyone's pockets.
I strung line behind our woodstove to pin the wet mitts, hats, and socks.
Jackets go over the safety rail to dry.
Boots get piled all around the stove.
I rarely wash the stuff (unless it has an odour) as it's just going to get dirty again anyway, usually once the stuff dries it doesn't look that bad, it always seems worse when it's cold, muddy and dripping wet.
If they wear their winter boots I take the liners out as soon as they come in.
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#17 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, okay I can see I just need to continue to suck it up and keep at the laundry!

I do need to find an alternate warm winter coat for ds as I only have 1 and it's too nice to go through all the laundering that it getting. Other than that I'll just keep on keepin' on. I'd really like to not buy anything (all our stuff already comes from thrift stores or gifts) as there is just no wiggle room in the budget. The rain suits sure do look nice and I think I'll start keeping my eye open for future years.

I just don't have anywhere to hang and let drippy, muddy, sandy stuff dry.

I think the gloves are the trickiest. When their hands get cold then they want to come in. That can happen in 5 minutes if they plunge gloved hands into a icy puddle! I see the pile of muddy/wet stuff...hand prints on the door/wall...muddy footprints up the carpeted back stairs and think was that really worth the 5-10 minutes they played? In my head I'm sure it was, but darn if I already don't have enough work to keep my busy during the day!

I'm rambling now....

~L.
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#18 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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Well, if they're old enough to go in and out on their own, they're really old enough to do that cleaning themselves. I'd make it part of the "play outside" package. Here's the cleaner, here are some rags, clean everything that mud gets on.
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#19 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 07:03 PM
 
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We live on 2 plus acres with a dirt driveway. We are in New England. Snow wet and mud are a given. I ENCOURAGE my son to get out, have fun, get dirty. It’s good for his body, his mind, his immune system. Its get him hungry and when he is hungry he makes much healthier food choices. There are So many positives.

yeah the negative is dirty wet muddy sandy clothes.

Our solution:

1. I buy 3-4 of the exact same gloves, No trouble finding the matching and always a dry pair.
2. I knit/buy multiple hats so there is always a dry one
3. At the end of the season I buy and extra pair of snow pants so that he has a "good" pair for school and extra worn/ratty ones for play
4. I have a wooden drying rack in our mudroom with boot tray underneath to hang everything up when he comes inside. Most mornings the stuff is dry but if not....see points 1-3, LOL!

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#20 of 25 Old 01-15-2010, 11:32 PM
 
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Originally Posted by LVale View Post
Is the electricty cost or gas cost of doing the extra laundry a concern for you? Well it was a little bit when ours were little, but we got over it real quick. They were having so much gosh darn fun! What was a little bit of extra laundry? Clothes are meant to be lived in. Sure they get worn out, but what the heck. Childhood is meant to be lived in the moment. So our sons rumbled in the mud, and the rain and whatever. It was fun. Memories in the making! They are now 32 and 29, and both have said, they were so glad we were not hung up on them getting down and dirty. Oh what fun they had! I miss it. Childhood is so fleeting! So go out and get wet dirty with your kids. You will never get this time back!
I think I love you.

As much work as it is for me to gather up all the wet clothes and gross shoes and wash them AGAIN for the 40th time this week, seeing my kids play in the rain so freely and happily really makes it worth it.

As for cold fingers and wet mittens/gloves, can you put the wet stuff in the dryer so they're ready for the next play time and then wash them at the end of the week? Maybe have a set specifically for this type of play?

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#21 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 02:10 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Well, if they're old enough to go in and out on their own, they're really old enough to do that cleaning themselves. I'd make it part of the "play outside" package. Here's the cleaner, here are some rags, clean everything that mud gets on.
Agreed and they do.

But, they are 4 and 2.5 so getting the task done to any sort of standard is just not there yet. Ultimately I've got to come behind them and finish the job.

Not really complaining, just saying how it is. Kids are messy and lots of work. I love them so it's worth it!
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#22 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 02:19 AM
 
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I agree with pp's- just let them play. Seems like a good idea to
encourage the less messy play first so they can stay warmer longer.

Aren't they going to outgrow these clothes before next season anyway? So I'd be happy to wear out the clothes- then I'd feel like I'd really gotten my $$ out of them. Just a thought...
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#23 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 02:27 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I agree with pp's- just let them play. Seems like a good idea to
encourage the less messy play first so they can stay warmer longer.

Aren't they going to outgrow these clothes before next season anyway? So I'd be happy to wear out the clothes- then I'd feel like I'd really gotten my $$ out of them. Just a thought...
Some things yes my ds may outgrow (though he's wearing the same pair of snowpants and boots from last year..) but we hope to pass things down to the next in line!

I need no more convincing! I love that they play outside, enjoy nature, explore how mud moves and all that goes with it. I never want that to change. I love looking out the window to see them working together on some mad scheme building a friendship, a bond and memories that will last forever.

I'm just tired of the laundry...and hoped someone had a really great idea I had not thought of. I've gleaned some great tips and will just keep stuffing that machine full!
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#24 of 25 Old 01-16-2010, 07:07 AM
 
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I would designate certain clothes playclothes and then when they want to go out, let them put them on. Hang them up to dry when they come in and reuse again the next day. Wash them a couple times a week. Certainly not the cleanest solution, but a little dirt is good for the soul
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#25 of 25 Old 01-17-2010, 08:17 PM
 
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Waterproof gloves. We have lots of those, with wool lining for cold days. And just "cover" water proof that we can put on over a pair of cotton or wool gloves depending on the temp.
Also other waterproof clothes, our snowsuits are all waterproof, so when they come inside I just rinse them off in the shower, with the shower head, and they dry in a few hours because they aren't wet through. And that isn't taking a toll on the clothes like washing does.

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