Forest schools are springing up in woodland spaces everywhere. Giving kids an opportunity to explore nature with all of their senses, they are perfect for parents wanting to offer their little ones a screen detox - we hear you! Outdoor learning is great, but it can be muddy and wet and cold.
We’ve done some digging and come up with our list of essential gear that you may want to check out before you head down to the woods…
1. DRESS FOR ALL WEATHERS
Little ones aren’t sent to a classroom with a board game if it rains, so help them be prepared. We find thin layering is best. Insulated fleeces and comfortable joggers work great as a base, but avoid muddy knees by always opting for a lightweight, all-in-one over the top. This Hippychick suit is one of our best sellers, cos it really does the job. For those days where's there's every type of weather, pack them off with a waterproof that they can put in their bag. We also love the unisex designs by GOSOAKY, because they protect kids from the wind and rain, while looking totally cool.
2. GET READY FOR WILD WEES
Some forest school sessions encourage ‘wild wees’ and some have bathroom tents, but they can be a walk away from the main site. When nature calls, you don’t want to be caught out. Pack a portable loo, allowing little ones to do their business outside comfortably - make sure you remember hand sanitiser too. For babes not yet potty trained, a fold up, waterproof changing mat provides a dry base for changing nappies in the great outdoors. There’s nothing like rustling tree branches for a bit of nappy changing entertainment!
3. KEEP FED AND WATERED
Exploring nature is thirsty work. Pack a water bottle from the likes of Blafre. They're durable enough for the most intrepid of explorers and the drinking spout is leak-free 🙌. For cold days, it’s nice to offer kiddos something warm to eat afterwards too. Our top tip is to take porridge in an insulated canister, like the ones by b.box. Quite a few forest schools have a nil-by-mouth policy during sessions to help teach kids about the dangers of berries, fungi and other things that could make them poorly. Be sure to find out whether your session sticks to these rules and, if so, keep snacks until the end and have a hearty meal before you start exploring.
4. TAKE HOME MEMORIES, NOT MUD
Dirty wellies and damp waterproofs mean children have explored well, but you don’t want to take half a ton of dirt home with you. A plastic storage box is great for storing muddy stuff in the boot of the car, but if you are on foot, a wet bag or lined backpack is perfect for suspending soggy bits on your pram without any mess and can be popped in the washer once you get home.
5. DON'T PUT BABY IN THE CORNER
Some forest schools offer classes for newbies since the many textures, temperatures, smells and sounds are perfect for babies who are sensory learners. Woodland terrain can be hard to navigate with a pram, so a good carrier is a great option for taking them to the heart of the action. They are also great for carrying baby siblings during older ones stay and play sessions as well. Going into the forest when it’s a bit chilly? Keep them nice and toasty with a carrier cover like this one from Bundle Bean or a cuddly blanket.
So there you have it, our tips for ensuring you're fully forest school prepared. And if you need any more guidance, our Live Chat Team are always here to help, 7am-11pm, every day. Just hit that purple button, bottom right.