Baby is getting cold outside, and the muddy puddles, hand warmers, hot cocoa, and chilly-adventure days are around the corner for everyone at Nature’s Lab!
Because we spend all our days outdoors our kids acclimate pretty quick to the change in temperature and weather conditions. However, planning for the appropriate clothing for each season ensures that all kids are comfortable and ready for adventures and learning with their friends.
Remember, our school mantra:
“There is no bad weather but only inappropriate clothing”
Dressing in layers is ideal during the cold weather months as children (and adults) can remove layers as they warm up through the day in order to remain comfortable. Remember that our children are quite active, so they do warm up as the play, and interact with friends in our outdoor classrooms. Too warm means sweaty kids which may result in cold kids as sweat turns to cold-wet clothing.
Here is what you need to know about the function of each layer:
Base layer (underwear layer): This layer’s function’s to wick sweat off your skin and should fit snug. A thermal wool base layer is a great option. You have a wide range of fabric options, including synthetics like polyester and nylon, or natural fibers like merino wool and silk.
Middle layer (insulating layer): This layer retains body heat to protect you from the cold such as polyester fleece, down insulated jackets, synthetic insulated jackets. The layer should not restrain movement.
Outer layer (shell layer): This layer shields you from wind and rain such as waterproof/breathable shells. Be sure the outerwear you’re getting is large enough to accommodate the extra layers.
Avoid cotton during the cold months as it absorbs rain and sweat causing very cold kids.
What about Snow suits and full body rain gear?
Snow and rain suits are the warmest, most protective option for kids who are still in diapers. Once potty-trained, full-piece suits are less convenient. As bathroom breaks may require quick action, so once potty-trained a separate jacket and pants maybe more convenient for our child. Many families love a full body suit such a Tuff's Muddy Buddy.
Another great option is a Rain bib with a jacket on top for kids who get extra warm while playing but need protection when playing in puddles and muddy surfaces once the rain has stopped,
Rain Wear: If your child’s winter clothes are not waterproofed, then you will definitely need an outer layer of protection when the weather turns rainy or windy such as a Muddy Buddy, rain bib and jacket, or rain pants and jacket.
Rain pants and rain jackets are preferable over full body suits. Also, less puffy, less bulky jackets and pants work best since the kids will be so active and will generate lots of heat and sweat. Some of us like to wear snow bibs or snow pants over fleece pants and long sleeve merino wool shirt. and a warm, waterproof jacket.
Accessories our kids will need to keep their extremities warm:
A warm hat
Non-cotton socks (Wool preferred)
Winter boots or rain boots.
At school we have hand warmers kids can carry around in their pockets, as needed. However, mittens come in handy during our hot cocoa breaks and when they want to engage in activities that require more detailed, fine motor abilities.
A few things to consider when selecting your winter gear… (adapted from the REI website)
Jacket length: The longer the jacket, the more warmth it provides. Hip length or longer are best to keep the air from going up their torso.
Hoods: You’ll find similar designs and adjustment features to hoods on adult jackets, except that jackets for toddlers have elastic for simplicity and safety, rather than drawcord and tab adjustments.
Cuffs, waists and hem closures: Elastic closures, help seal in warmth in. Drawcords can be a hazard so stay away from those.
Thumbhole cuffs: This handy feature lets kids use thumbs to pull sleeves down over their wrists for more warmth and prevents the sleeves from rising up which can be a hassle when getting dressed.
Snow features: You can get your little shredder snow pants and jackets with many of the same features as adult gear, like snow skirts, reinforced cuffs, snow pass holders and more. For school, most waterproof insulated outerwear should work fine.
Extendable sleeves and pant legs: The exact name each brand uses differs, but this feature allows you to extend sleeves or legs by 1.5 to 2 inches to get an additional season of use from a jacket or pair of pants. You can also buy items a half-size large, but there are a number of drawbacks. Pants that are too long have to be hemmed in some way to avoid tripping.
Adjustable waist tabs: Similar to extendable sleeves and pant legs, fit adjustment tabs on the waistbands of most insulated pants help accommodate for kids’ growth and variability in waist sizing.
Glove leashes and ID labels: Kids need help keeping track of their stuff, so look for features that help do that. Labeling clothes helps us ensure clothing does not get misplaced or send to the wrong house.
Plan for layers: You can help your child stay warm by employing the same outdoor strategy you use. Start with a wicking base layer, then mix and match with other layers to adapt to changing conditions.
Now that winter clothing is ready, let’s get ready for hot cocoa!!
PS: Remember about winter car seat safety tips https://www.healthychildren.org/English/safety-prevention/on-the-go/Pages/Winter-Car-Seat-Safety-Tips.aspx?_gl=1*17ctam1*_ga*NzIzODA2OTQ2LjE2MzQ0Nzk5MTc.*_ga_FD9D3XZVQQ*MTYzNDQ3OTkwOS4xLjEuMTYzNDQ3OTkzNS4w&_ga=2.114849408.681457299.1634479917-723806946.1634479917
This Blog entry was adapted from this REI link:
Extra reading if you have more time https://www.treehugger.com/theres-no-such-thing-bad-weather-scandinavian-moms-guide-raising-kids-book-review-4857921 )