Preschool Gear List

What to bring, at a glance:
  • Kid sized daypack/backpack - one that’s comfortable for your child to wear as needed

  • Full water bottle

  • Snack and Lunch* - Nutrient dense/low sugar food is best, as we are very active at program (see more info below)

  • Full rain gear - rain boots, rain coat and rain pants (see more info below)

  • A full change of clothes (including socks and underwear) in labeled, water-resistant bag - wet clothes will be placed in the bag after changing

  • Anything your child needs to be comfortable in the woods

  • No toys please. Books or other nature related items are great to share with the group though!  

Lunch & Snack:

Please pack both a snack and lunch each day. Snacks should be packed separate from lunch for easy access. 

 

Snack should be a fruit, vegetable, or protein. Students are very active throughout the day at Nature Connect and need complex, whole-foods for optimal energy. Please pack your child's snack separate from their lunch. Having it in a separate pocket on their backpack is ideal. It can be distracting for students to get out their entire lunch during snack. It often causes our snack time to run longer, which cuts into activity time, and they often end up eating part of their lunch which leaves them with less food during our actual lunch time. 

 

Please be mindful of containers and packaging as we try to reduce our waste.

All students must bring an age-appropriate water bottle that is filled with enough water to get through the class day. We can also refill water bottles as needed. Please do not pack any beverages other than water. Electrolyte packets are okay. It’s important for children to stay hydrated during our programs, and having other drinks can distract them from drinking enough water.

Warm Weather Clothes:
  • Long pants

    • Lightweight athletic or hiking pants usually work best when walking in the woods. Thin cotton leggings have a tendency to rip easily. Denim is made from cotton, can be very uncomfortable if it becomes wet, and takes a long time to dry.

    • Shorts are not allowed in the woods programs, even on the hottest days. Poison ivy is common in our area, and although we teach awareness to avoid contact, it is very easy to accidentally brush up against it in the woods. Long pants provide protection from poison ivy, thorns, and insects. 

  • Closed toe shoes - 2 pairs

  • Short sleeved shirt

  • Light jacket or long sleeve shirt to help deter the mosquitoes

​It is very helpful if you have clothes that are designated just for Nature Connect. Please make sure that the clothes they wear are clothes that can get dirty. Nature Connect staff are not responsible for stained or damaged items.

Cold Weather Clothes:

Being warm enough can make or break your child's experience for the day. When in doubt, please over prepare. It is better to have an extra layer that isn't needed than to spend a day uncomfortably cold.

  • Base layer made of polyester or other synthetic material. Cotton is rendered useless for warmth the moment water or sweat comes in contact with it. We cannot stress this enough. If it's particularly cold, or your child is extra sensitive to being cold, you can layer up with extra base layers.

  • Mid layer of fleece or wool

  • Wind/water resistant outer layer - tops and bottoms - down or synthetic insulation is great (down is warmer). A rain jacket and rain pants/overalls over an insulated coat works well for extra wind protection.

  • Athletic or hiking pants with synthetic leggings (not cotton) underneath for added warmth. Layer up the leggings if needed. Snow bibs are great option, especially for younger children. Denim is not recommended - it is made from cotton and is very problematic if it becomes wet, especially in cold weather.

  • Warm hat or head band that covers ears

  • Waterproof gloves or mittens

  • Warm, tall socks - but not so thick that circulation to toes is hindered. This can have a reverse effect and make feet feel even colder. Sometimes, two layers of thin socks can be better than socks that are too thick for the shoes. Sweat wicking wool socks are great for keeping feet even warmer.

  • Warm, waterproof boots - we recommend neoprene, insulated rain boots or waders.

If a child comes blatantly ill-prepared for the weather, we will do our best with what we have to dress them appropriately. If this is not possible, we may have to call you to ask you to bring more gear. If you have questions about your child's gear, please ask.

It is very helpful if you have clothes that are designated just for Nature Connect. Please make sure that the clothes they wear are clothes that can get dirty. Nature Connect staff are not responsible for stained or damaged items.

Rain Gear:
  • Rain coat

  • Rain pants (snow bibs are great for cold weather)

    • Tip: ​Keep rain pants on the outside of the boots, not tucked in. When they are tucked in, water runs straight down the pants and inside the boots. 

    • Coveralls are great for preschoolers

  • Rain boots

    • We recommend non-insulated boots for warm weather

    • We recommend neoprene, insulated rain boots for cold weather​

    • Waders in the winter are also great, as water is less likely to enter the boots on a cold day

  • Optional: A hat with a bill is helpful for keeping rain off of the face

We meet every week RAIN or SHINE. A very good rain suit (coat and pants) and rain boots are necessary. Please make sure the suit is water-proof and not just water-resistant. It is not uncommon for children's rain gear to not be fully waterproof, especially if purchasing from a department or big box store that is not specifically an outdoor store. Before purchasing, check the inside seams and make sure they are lined with plastic. If they aren't - the item is not waterproof and water will leak through the seams. Here are two brands that we recommend: Oakiwear (15% discount coupon code: "outdoorschool") and Sofee & Lenee. If you sew, you can get great rain material at a store in Oregon called the Rain Shed.

 

On rainy days please come fully prepared. When in doubt, bring all of their rain gear any way. Even if it rained the night before and has cleared up, the ground will likely be quite wet, and full rain gear is still recommended. 

 

If a child comes ill-prepared for the weather, we will do our best with what we have to dress them appropriately. If this is not possible, we may have to call you to ask you to bring more gear. If you have questions about your child's gear, please ask.

Thrift & Consignment Shops:

Secondhand is a fabulous way to acquire affordable gear. Children most often come home from our programs quite dirty, and used clothes can add that extra sense of freedom for letting them “trash” their clothes.

Local children's consignment shops:

Sweet Seconds

Used gear - https://wornwear.patagonia.com/

 

If you have any questions about gear, please don't hesitate to ask us! We are happy to help!