Gear for the seasons
As the saying goes…it is never bad weather, it is just bad clothing!
After many years of family and friends sending us the necessary water proof wear from other parts of the world, The Forest School of Minnesota's partnership with Polarn O Pyret, provides the essential comfort for FSMN students to enjoy year around exploring. This is the most functional and sweet looking waterproof jacket and overpant I have had the the pleasure to work with…as they actually work to keep us dry. Please contact me if you would like more information.
Layering is the key. I have found Smart Wool warm woolens to be the best for the base layer. It is a bit expensive, but worth the investment as it allows children to stay outdoors much longer with comfort.
Again Smart Wool or any that are itch free, for both hands and feet. For younger children especially have the socks long enough to go up past the elbow. We use these under the mittens to help hands stay warm and it works beautifully. Please provide four pairs, two for the hands and two for the feet. We will keep some as back up in their school cubby.
There are many important features to look for, warmth of course and boots that will stay on. The best boot that I have found, and that I wear myself are Steger Mukluks, made in Ely, MN. They are a bit pricey too, but can always be passed on to siblings or sold to other parents at the preschool, or sold online. They are truly the best boots.
Other things to look for in children’s boots are boots that will stay on, a strap by the ankle is important, also going up to mid-calf or a bit higher. Look for boots that state comfort to -30˚F, these should provide comfort for our time outdoors.
Snow Pants or Overalls
I think the overalls seem to be more comfortable for the children and prevent snow from getting in the waistline, also look for snow pants that have reinforced fabric sewn to the knee, it helps to prevent ripping when we are crawling around the forest.
Try not to get the soft “ripstop” fabric, it has a tendency to do exactly that, rip when we are in the forest. A hood is a nice added feature to help keep them warm when the day is blustery and cold wind is blowing.
Please get a hat that can be secured under the chin and also does not slide down over the eyes, a frequent problem with hats. Without the attachment under the chin the hat has a tendency to slide off or get pulled off and sometimes get lost in our explorations.
Good mittens are harder to find than one would thing. They have a tendency to come on and off in our time outdoors multiple times in the day. Please look for mittens that are long enough to be secured under the jacket sleeve to prevent snow from collecting at the wrist. Please purchase mittens that are easy for you to put on your children. Think of a cold winter day and replacing the mittens back on those little hands again and again to keep them toasty warm. The easier the better. Have them try them on with the socks and without. Two pairs will be needed. A good place to start your search for your child’s winter wear is REI. Also try looking online, eBay if you know the sizes. Hoigaards is another store to try, they are not too far from the Forest School base home. Located on Excelsior Ave. in the same “mall” as Once Upon a Child if you would like to check out reuse wear for your little ones as well. I have found some nice jackets and snow pants in previous years.
Please know that all of the information above is a guideline to work from. My years of work with the children and being outdoors have provided some insight as to what works well in my opinion, however, I will work with whatever you provide and will make it work as needed. Thank you and think of all the fun your child will be able to have when they have good clothing to keep them comfortable outdoors. Don’t forget about your own clothing too, so you can also play outdoors.
Natural Bug Spray recipe
- 30 drops Eucalyptus Citridora (repels mosquitos)
- 10 drops Rose Geranium (repels ticks)
- 10 drops lavender (protects and soothes skin)
- 10 drops peppermint (repels insects, cools skin)
Mix oils in a 4 oz. bottle. Add 1 ounce of vinegar or vodka and swirl together. Fill bottle with water and shake well. Apply often!
The Center for Disease Control recognizes the Eucalyptus Citridora is as effective as DEET.
- 1 drop lavender (calms inflammation)
- 1 drop Tea Tree (treats irritation)
- 1 drop Peppermint (numbs itching)
Itching/stinging should cease immediately. If itching does not stop, try 1 drop of clove. Normally, you will only need 1-2 applications for mosquito bites, but more for spider or other insect bites.