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 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, it’s a design which really does the job. Don’t forget waterproof gloves and a hat for chilly sessions and think about an insulated suit like this one from dinoski for the coldest days. Kids will look the part in the forest dressed as a fluffy animal.
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 like this Oxo Tot 2-in-1 Go Potty, allowing little ones to do their business outside comfortably - make sure you remember hand sanitiser too. For babes not yet potty trained, a waterproof changing mat like this by Skip Hop 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 like this one by Blafre. It’s 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. One like this by Skip Hop does the job and it always hits that hunger spot. Quite a few forest schools have a nil by mouth policy during sessions to help teach littles 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 THE MEMORIES NOT THE MUD
Dirty wellies and damp waterproofs mean children have explored well, but you don’t want to take mud home with you. A plastic storage box is great for storing muddy things in the boot of the car, but if you are on foot, something like the Grab and Go Wet Bag, which can be popped in the washer once you get home, is perfect for suspending soggy bits on your pram without any mess.
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 like the Ergobaby 360 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.
So there you have it, our tips for ensuring you and your littles are forest school prepared. Enjoy!
Our IDEAS articles are based on our own experiences as parents & a need to find gorgeous, genuinely useful stuff for baby. That’s why you’ll always find our fave picks below our tips. Yes, we’re good to you ;)