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4 ways to bring warmth and hygge into your early years setting

date January 25, 2024


With grey skies, dark evenings and a chill in the air, it is the perfect time to begin to embrace hygge in your early years setting and your life!  Hygge (pronounced hue-guh) is a Danish word with no direct translation into English but relates to embracing simple joys in life.  It is about feeling joy and appreciation for the simple moments in your day and being present.  In Denmark and Scandinavia their winters are notoriously harsh and long, but they find ways to embrace warmth, light and moments of comfort and joy in their day (hygge) and it is seen as a pathway to happiness, well-being and good mental health.

Cosy socks and hot chocolate


Bringing elements of hygge into Early Years practice, means bringing more wonder, joy and comfort to your setting.  Children that feel secure and cherished learn better. It really is as simple as that! Research indicates that wellbeing can be directly linked to academic achievement. This speaks volumes about the importance of wellbeing for the children in our care.  The same is also true of practitioners – practitioners that feel secure, comforted and cared-for in the workplace are better placed to provide high quality experiences and interactions for children and to experience joy and excitement alongside them.

Bearing all of this in mind, here are 4 ways to bring some hygge warmth into your setting this winter (and beyond!)


1 – Make the most of “cosy moments”!

Cosy nooks are so wonderfully valuable in your setting and bring so many benefits for children. These nooks provide spaces for children to feel relaxed; to have comfortable, safe and quiet spaces to talk; or just enjoy a calm moment. Not only do these spaces provide opportunities for the children to feel comfortable, warm and cosy, but they can also support children in practising mindfulness, self-regulation and in calming their sensory systems (as we know that settings can be busy and heavily stimulating environments).

Children in cosy corner reading

To make the best of these spaces: use soft and gentle light – such as artificial candles or fairy lights – these give a sense of warmth and comfort; use gentle and calming colours and natural materials, where possible – e.g. beige, cream, wood, cotton, soft rugs, cushions and blankets; and make them feel enclosed or enveloping so that they create a cushion or bubble from the busy activity around them.

So snuggle up with the children in these lovely, soft spaces and enjoy a cosy story; a little chatter; or just a calm moment together and enjoy the warmth of being present in that comfortable moment!

2 – Not bad weather, just inappropriate clothing! –

It is very easy in the winter to shy away from outdoor experiences but there is so much beauty and wonder in the glassy, shimmering frostiness of winter! There are so many changes that happen in winter that children will not see at any other time such as frost, ice and, if you are very lucky, snow. The opportunities provided by nature to learn about and experiment with changes in state (freezing, melting, steam and condensation) in winter are just so rich and enticing. Nature also provides us with such incredible patterns and shapes for children to observe and closely examine – the beauty of fractal ice crystals of frost on smooth surfaces; sparkling spider webs; glittering grass and so many more!

Jumping in puddles

You may have to consider the length of time that children spend outside when the temperatures are low, however, if they have appropriate clothing (gloves, warm clothing, hats, waterproof clothing), they will be able to comfortably enjoy outdoor play for a good period of time. It is important to ensure that practitioners also have the appropriate clothing so that they can also comfortably enjoy being part of the learning too!

3 – Make room for magic moments in your daily routine.

This is one of the most wonderful parts of being an Early Years Practitioner – those magical moments in your day with the children. Those little pockets of joy and connection are so valuable and truly precious! Try to make the most of those opportunities for time spent together. Some of the most valuable times of day for this are meal/snack times – these are a fantastic opportunity for you all to embrace time together as you eat; time to reflect on your day; discuss your interests; tell stories; ask questions; tell jokes; or even talk about your weekend – just as you would at home! Enjoy each other’s company! One of our favourite moments in my setting is when we sit together around the table with a warm cup of milk and something the children have baked and we just chat about whatever is on the children’s minds enjoying the warmth of each other’s company and our friendships.children resting on cushions in nursery settiing

4 – Be Present, Be Immersed, Be HAPPY!

Bathe in those moments where you are all present in the moment together – sharing books and stories; jumping in puddles; solving problems together; building elaborate models; choosing your hand hotties after playing outside; singing together; or welcoming each other in the morning! Soak up the smiles and giggles, capture the cuddles and embrace all of those small opportunities where you make those precious connections with each other. Enjoy your work because it is truly one of the most unique and special jobs in the world!

Bringing more comfort, joy and simple pleasures into your setting will bring a new sense of calm, contentment and togetherness into your work and your life. Happy hygge!

Join Vickie Murry for some in person warmth and hygge in our upcoming webinar on 21st February!

Click HERE or on the image to book your space

warm socks by the fireplace

About the author

Photo of Vikkie Murray Kinderly Ambassador

Vickie Murray is a qualified teacher for 19 years and has had a wide and varied career. As well being a childminder, I’ve also been a primary school early years teacher, SENDCo, and an early years specialist teacher for a national daycare company.

Vickie’s childminding setting (Little Acorns Childminding Banbury) is rated Outstanding by Ofsted, and holds accreditations in Oral Health and Hygge in the Early Years. Vickie is passionate about child-led and family-centred learning, and bases her early years practice around this.