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Nature School Winter Essentials: What to Wear.

"I'm cold!"

Every parent, teacher, and caregiver has heard those two words, and definitely not just once.

It's tough for a child to have a love of seasonal changes and the great outdoors when they're miserable and cold.

Oak Ridge Nature School is an outdoor program. While we do come in for meals and nap, we spend the rest of our time outside. In the heat, in the wind, in the rain, and yes...even the cold snowy days.

A big part of our program is teaching the children about their world and the environment around them. Watching the leaves fall and soon enough, watching the snow fall is part of their daily routines.

We don't come in because it's chilly, or wet. We prepare the children for these changes through daily conversations, morning meetings, and of course, the right gear.

So how do we keep our kids warm, safe, and having fun all year round?

We need to supply our children with proper gear, and teach them how it works so they want to use it.

We've put together a list of our personal favorites, tried and true, and worn daily by our own students.

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  1. Hats and neck warmers: Nothing beats a good quality knit beanie when it comes to keeping in warmth. Now they come fleece lined, sherpa lined or even wool lined. Top it off with a water proof trapper hat for the wind, and you're ready for the cold. Our two favorite hats are: and with these neck warmers

  2. Mittens: keeping fingers warm from the start can make or break your child's ability to stay outside for longer periods of time. We have found that always wearing thin mittens underneath snow mittens is great for extra insulation and warmth. We have had great results with these snow mittens, plus they come with a cord to thread through coat sleeves so they don't get lost!

  3. Boots and socks: cold toes are just as bad as cold fingers. You cannot get through winter without good wool blend socks and high quality boots. Our personal favorite for the last 3 years are: for socks and these waterproof Kamik boots

  4. Coats: we wear winter coats until the temps are consistently below 20 degrees, and then we pull out the full suits (another article coming soon on those!) We have found that we have two favorites, both keep kids warm, dry, and able to move around freely: the first is and the second is a Carters coat that is almost identical to the first,

  5. Pants: If you have the right base layers on, you can wear these fall/winter fleece lined rain pants well into the colder months. Almost every child in our program wears these pants and they are amazing for keeping kids warm and dry without restricting their movement,

With this list, and the right base layers, your child will be well prepared to spend hours of time outside, having fun and exploring the outdoors, while still staying warm and comfortable.

Keep an eye out for our upcoming articles on the full snow suits we wear, as well as adult gear recommendations!

This article is meant to help those looking to get outdoors with their kids, and stay out for longer periods of time. Everything listed above is tried and true within our program.

Do you have any great gear you love? We'd love to hear about it!

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