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Early Years Calendar: Sun Awareness Week

May 3rd-9th 2021

From the 3rd to the 9th of May it is Sun Awareness Week! Here are some resources you can use to share help make your children aware of sun safety!

Sun Awareness Week is the British Association of Dermatologists’ (BAD) annual campaign to raise awareness of skin cancer and sun safety. As the weather gets warmer and our early years enjoy more time outside, it’s important that we teach them how to be safe in the sun and avoid any burned ears or shoulders!

Skin cancer is the most common cancer in the UK and rates have been climbing since the 1960s. Sun damage which starts in childhood can lead to skin cancer later in life, so it’s imperative that we make sure our little ones know how to take care of their skin.

Encouraging children to wear sunscreen, a hat and long-sleeved top and to stay in the shade can sometimes be difficult – children love to play in the sunshine! However, there are many resources that can help.

1. The Misadventure of Percy Piglet

This fun story is a simple way to demonstrate to children the dangers of ignoring good advice and not taking care in hot weather. Percy Piglet is told by both his mum and his friend Dora Duck to wear a hat and sun cream, but he ignores them and ends up getting sunstroke!

2. Wrap, Splat, Hat!

To help children easily remember the main rules for playing in the sun, you can use Wrap, Splat, Hat!

  1. Wrap: wrap up with a long-sleeved top to protect your arms
  2. Splat: splat on some high-factor sun cream to protect your skin
  3. Hat: put on a hat to protect your head and eyes

3. Mr Tumble’s Song Time – Safe in the Sun

The ever-loved Mr Tumble has a fun song to explain how, and why, to be safe in the sun!

Shade, Sun Cream and Water

As the weather gets hotter, make sure to encourage your little ones to spend more time in the shade. It might help to arrange activities in the more shady places of your outside play area. If you don’t have many shaded areas, perhaps a game or activity that incorporates tents or making a fort out of chairs and a blanket would help to encourage children into the shade.

Re-application of sun cream is also essential – working it into your children’s routine will make it easier for them to get into the routine of remembering to apply before going outside for play time. Teaching children to apply their own sun cream will encourage them to take agency over their own safety.

Drinking water, while a top priority in the sun, can be some children’s least-favourite thing. Make sure you have sugar-free cordials on hand to make children’s drinks tastier. You could also try providing bottles with measurements on the side, encouraging children to see how much they drink in a day, and if their peers have had more water than them.

Overall, it can sometimes be tricky to make sure children are being safe in the sun. However, by making children aware of the dangers in a fun and positive way, you’ll hopefully avoid any problems and enable your children to enjoy the nice weather safely!