Here in the Pacific Northwest, we're no stranger to wet, cold weather. We try not to let that deter us from getting out in the garden, even in January. We like to play outside but we also like to be snuggly warm. No matter how active you are outside, little fingers get cold fast. Gloves don't work particularly well for kids since they get their hands wet so quickly and they need the fine motor movements of their fingers to play.
My solution is simple AND free! Before I head outside, I boil my kettle and fill my cool/room-temperature dutch oven with some small landscape rocks. I pour the boiling water over the rocks to warm them up and I put the lid back on. With a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon, you can pull the rocks out as needed. I set the rocks on the lid to cool down if necessary. When they are the right temperature, the kids can hold them in their hands to warm up or they can put them in their pockets to stay use as needed. They can also rest their hands on the side of the pot if it has reached a comfortable temperature. The kids really love doing this!
So, in summary, these are the steps:
1) Boil a kettle with hot water. DO NOT BOIL THE WATER IN THE DUTCH OVEN.
2) Add several small river rocks to a cold or room-temperature dutch oven.
3) Fill about 2 inches of water in the dutch oven, covering the rocks.
4) Add a couple of drops of essential oils (optional).
5) Replace lid and get a pair of tongs for removing the rocks, then head outside.
6) Rest rocks on the lid to cool to optimal temperature for holding.
7) Put the rocks in hands or pockets. Rest hands on dutch oven if it is a safe temperature.
8) Repeat! Stay nice and toasty.
For a really special treat, add a drop or two of essential oil in the hot water to have a wonderful waft of your favourite scent as you open the lid. I've used pine essential oil and it's a real wintery pick-me-up.
Oh, and a thermos of hot chocolate is always a good idea!