This list is for our weekly programs. Find the camp gear list here.

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 doing a lot of walking, running, exploring, and playing (see more info below)

    • After School/Forest Families: snack only (something quick and easy like a piece of fruit or a granola bar) ​

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

  • A 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

Lunch & Snack:

Please pack both a snack and lunch each day (only a snack for after school programs and forest families). Snack should be packed separate from lunch for easy access. Please include a reusable cloth napkin, and appropriate utensils needed.

 

Snack should be a fruit, vegetable, 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 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.

 

Lunch should ideally contain a vegetable, fruit, whole-grain, and protein. Students are very active throughout the day at Nature Connect and need complex, whole-foods for optimal energy. Please do not send any desserts, cookies, chocolate, or other sugary items for lunch or snack. If a facilitator notices these items in a child’s snack or lunch, they will be asked to put it away until pickup. 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. Out of respect for nature, we teach children to “pack it in, pack in out” so any trash will be packed out in their lunch container, including fruit peels and nut shells.

 

We do not allow food sharing, except between siblings, in order to limit allergic reactions.


All students must bring an age-appropriate water bottle that is filled with enough water to get through the entire program. However, children are required to carry all of their own items throughout the day, and water can be heavy, so over packing is also possible. We can work together to find the right balance. If your child is regularly finishing all of their water before the end of program, or struggling with the weight of their pack from an excess or water, a facilitator will ask you and your child to make an adjustment. 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.

Gear List: Homeschool, Preschool & Farm School Programs

 

What to Bring:

  • Kid-sized daypack/backpack - one that’s comfortable for your child to wear as needed

  • FULL water bottle - please decide how much water to pack based on your child’s needs. If a child is regularly finishing their water before the end of the day, a facilitator will ask you to pack more.

  • Snack and Lunch - Snack should be packed separate from lunch for easy access. Please pack all food in lightweight, reusable, containers. (See Lunch and Snack for more info)

  • Rain Gear - rain boots, raincoat AND rain pants (see more info below - Rain Gear)

  • Extra change of clothes - in Ziploc bag or wet bag - wet clothes will potentially be placed in the bag after changing to be sent home. Please back a full change of clothes, including underwear and socks.

  • Optional - journal, binoculars, field guides, compass, insect & tick repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, small quick-dry towel, show-and-tell nature items, anything your child needs to feel comfortable in the woods.

 

**Please keep in mind that your child is responsible for carrying all of their own gear each day and pack according to their level of ability.


What to Wear:

Please pay attention to weather forecasts and have your child dress appropriately. If severe weather is anticipated, we will send an alert through Procare.

 

Warm Weather:

Long pants

  • Athletic or hiking pants work best. Thin cotton leggings have a tendency to catch on thorns and rip easily. Denim is made from cotton, can be very uncomfortable if it becomes wet, and takes a long time to dry.

  • Long pants are recommended, even on the hottest days, because they offer protection from poison ivy, thorns and insects. However, we understand that shorts can be much more comfortable in our climate. If you do decide to allow your child to wear shorts, we simply ask that you be aware of the heightened risk for the above hazards.

Closed-toe shoes

  • Rain boots are recommended, 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 the fun.

  • Open-toe shoes are not allowed, 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. Shoes with open sides can be worn in warm weather, but do leave feet more vulnerable to thorns, insects and sticks. 

  • Hiking boots or durable sneakers are also allowed, but keep in mind they may (probably) get wet, muddy or torn.

  • Children may be allowed to go barefoot for portions of the day, but this is at the discretion of facilitators after checking the area for hazards.

Thin, long or short sleeved shirt that wicks away perspiration

Light jacket

Optional Items: 

  • Brimmed hat for sun protection

  • Sunglasses

  • Sunscreen

  • Insect Repellent

 

*If your child needs sunscreen or insect repellent during warm weather, we have some available, but please apply before the beginning of program.

 

Cold Weather:

  • Base layer made of polyester or other synthetic material. 

    • Cotton is rendered useless for warmth the moment water or sweat comes into 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)

    • 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 headband that covers ears

  • Gloves or mittens (mittens are warmer)

  • Warm, tall socks

    • 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. Feet can become wet even on dry days from puddles or creek water, so waterproof shoes are really important when it’s cold.

 

Feeling 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.

 

Rain Gear:

  • Rain coat

  • Rain pants (insulated snow pants are great for cold, wet weather)

  • Rain boots

    • We recommend neoprene, insulated boots for colder months.

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


 

Gear List: Forest Families

What to Bring:

  • Backpack - a diaper bag is ok too, but keep in mind we may do some light hiking and a backpack may be easier to carry.

  • FULL water bottle - for both you and your children

  • Snack - quick and easy is best (something that can be eaten on a picnic blanket)

  • Rain jacket - programs will be canceled for heavy rain, but will still be held if occasional showers are forecast. Rain pants are also a great choice when the ground is wet, especially for children. These waterproof overalls are great for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers: https://www.amazon.com/Playshoes-Unisex-Baby-Kids-Pants/dp/B00TEUA2XW

  • Extra change of clothes for child - clothes may become dirty and/or wet.

  • Wearable child carrier (optional) - If your child is a pre-walker, or likes to be carried during walks, wearing them is an option some parents love. Strollers may not do well in some of the terrain of the hiking trails. Please let us know if you would like any advice on how to get started with child-wearing. 

  • Umbrellas work well to keep children who are being worn dry during rain.

  • Optional: insect/tick repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer, small quick-dry towel, show-and-tell nature items, anything you and your child need to feel comfortable in the woods.

 

What to Wear: (for both you and your children)

  • Long pants are recommended, even on warm days, to protect from poison ivy, thorns, and insects

  • Specific for cold days:

    • Lots of layers

    • Gloves or mittens

    • Warm hat

  • Closed toe shoes

    • Rain boots are great for children even on dry days, so that they can walk in the creek and along the pond’s edge if they choose.


Resources for Gear:

Local retail:

Great Outdoor Provision Co.

Outdoor Equipped

The Bump & Beyond

 

Local children's consignment shops:

Memories of a Child

 

Specific recommendations for quality gear:
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

www.sofeeandlenee.com

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

Target carries affordable children's snow bibs.

https://wornwear.patagonia.com/

 

Thrift Stores

Thrift stores are fabulous places to acquire gear. The children often come home quite dirty, and used clothes can add that little extra sense of freedom by letting them “trash” their clothes. You can also use Procare to communicate with other parents about hand-me-down gear.

 

Thank you for your cooperation. Having the correct gear makes the childrens’ experience much more enjoyable and enables greater outdoor ease and comfort.

Program Gear List

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Call Us: 910-707-3956