Here is a suggested gear list for our Homeschool Program and Camps  

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

  • Full water bottle

  • Snack and Lunch* - Nutrient dense/low sugar food is best, as we are doing a lot of walking, running, exploring, and playing (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 water resistant bag - wet clothes will be placed in the bag after changing to be sent home.

  • Optional: journal, binoculars, field guides, compass, bug spray, tick spray, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, small quick-dry travel towel

  • Anything your child needs to be comfortable in the woods

*Only snack for the Forest Families programs

Lunch & Snack:

Please pack both a snack and lunch each day*. Snack should be packed separate from lunch for easy access. Please include a reusable cloth napkin, and the appropriate utensils needed.

 

Snack should be a fruit, vegetable, grain or protein that can be eaten relatively quickly, and without a lot of mess. Please pack your child's snack separate from their lunch. Having it in a separate pocket on their backpack is ideal. It is very 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.

 

Lunch should ideally contain a vegetable, fruit, grain, and protein. Please do not send any desserts, cookies, chocolate, or other sugary items for lunch or snack. When packing your child's lunch, please be mindful that they are required to carry it in their pack all day. Bento-style boxes are great, but they can be heavy. If your child is persistently struggling with the weight of their pack, a reusable cloth lunch bag, or paper bag with lightweight food containers may be a better option.

 

Students are very active throughout the day at Nature Connect and need complex, whole-foods for optimal energy. Please be mindful of containers and packaging. Participants carry all of their items throughout the day, and all waste must be packed out, including fruit peels.


All students must bring an age-appropriate water bottle that is filled with enough water to get them through the entire four hour program. Be mindful that children are required to carry all of their own items throughout the day, and water can be heavy, so over packing is also possible. If your child is regularly finishing all of their water before the end of program, a facilitator will inform you that they need to bring more. Please do not pack any beverages other than water. It’s important for children to stay hydrated during our programs, and having other drinks can distract them from drinking enough water.

We ask that you make an effort to create as little waste as possible when packing food for your child. Any trash will be "packed out" and sent home in your child's backpack.

Warm Weather Clothes:
  • Long pants

    • Athletic or hiking pants work best. 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 extremely common in our area, and although we teach awareness to avoid contact, it is very easy to brush up against it in the woods accidentally. Long pants provide protection from poison ivy, thorns and insects. Shorts are okay at our beach and farm programs.

  • Closed toe shoes

    • Rain boots are recommended in the woods, even on dry days. We tend to play in the creek and mud often, and kids without waterproof boots are often hesitant to join in.

    • Open toe shoes, or shoes with openings (like Keens) are not allowed in the woods, even in warm weather. We spend time walking in the woods off trail, and these types of shoes leave feet vulnerable to poison ivy, thorns, insects, etc. Water shoes with straps are okay at the beach and farm programs.

  • Short sleeved shirt

  • Light jacket

  • Optional: hat for sun protection, sunglasses

​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 and/or ripped. 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, 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 resistant outer layer - down or synthetic insulation is great (down is warmer). A rain jacket 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

  • 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 socks are great for keeping feet even warmer.

  • Warm, waterproof boots - we recommend neoprene, insulated rain boots

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, they may be sent home. 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 and/or ripped. 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. 

  • Rain boots

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

  • 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. No umbrellas. 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 blatantly ill-prepared for the weather, we will do our best with what we have to dress them appropriately. If this is not possible, they may have to be sent home. 

Resources for buying backpacks and clothing:

http://www.deuter.com/DE/en/kids/schmusebaer-3612017.html

https://www.marmot.com/kids-arbor/23490.html

https://www.amazon.com/Playshoes-Unisex-Baby-Kids-Pants/dp/B00TEUA2XW

http://www.sofeeandlenee.com

https://oaki.com/ (15% discount coupon code: “outdoorschool”)

Target carries affordable children's snow bibs.

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:

Once Upon a Child

Valley Thrift  (25% off Mondays)

GEAR LIST

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Call Us: 937-475-2759