Forest schools, a rising trend in recent years, offer a unique educational approach that celebrates outdoor learning and nature-based activities. With growing concerns about the adverse effects of screen time and sedentary indoor lifestyles, the positives of outdoor education are becoming apparent to many families.

…the joy of seeing your child run, explore, and get a little dirty in the great outdoors is an experience like no other!

It is critical to be well-prepared with the right gear and supplies for forest school. With the right items, the unique learning experience offered by the great outdoors will be more enjoyable for your kids.

Here’s a list of essentials to buy and pack for forest school:

Clothing Essentials Needed for Forest School:

Comfortable Clothes: Dress in layers suitable for the weather. Consider moisture-wicking materials. Soft clothing like sweatpants should be worn under waterproof pants. Thicker pants are good for keeping bugs away. Try to always buy moisture-wicking clothing and dress in layers. 

Tall socks: Always wear tall socks to help keep pesky ticks at bay! Pack LOTS of space socks for your kids to take with them each day. There is nothing worse than cold, wet feet!

Waterproof Jacket: This jacket protects from rain or wind. Depending on your climate, you may also need another layer of jacket for warmth.

Waterproof Pants: Keeps legs dry during wet weather or when sitting, crawling, and climbing on damp ground.

Sturdy Shoes or Boots: Closed-toe footwear suitable for walking on uneven terrain. Make sure they’re fully waterproof and comfortable.

Hat: For the summer months, get a wide-brim, breathable material. Depending on where you live, you may need a hat for warmth on chilly mornings.

Gloves: If you live in a colder climate, you must stock up on your winter clothing. Neck warmers, hand warmers, hats, etc. 

Extra Clothes: Spare clothes for unexpected weather changes or if clothes get wet/muddy. It’s essential they have options, and always remember to provide layers!

Name labels! Don’t forget to label everything! Clothing can so easily get mix-up and left behind, but a name label can save you costly replacements! Here is a pack of waterproof clothing labels that will withstand the sweat, water, dirt and mud your kids will be putting them through, Plus, they’re laundry-safe!

Extra Supplies and gear needed for forest school:

Backpack: To carry all necessary items comfortably. Make sure it has extra compartments for organization and a quick access pocket for your water bottle.

Water Bottle: Stay hydrated throughout the day with a BPA-free water bottle. Don’t get something too heavy. And don’t forget to label it to avoid germy mix-ups with other kids!

Healthy Snacks: Energy-boosting snacks like fruits, nuts, or granola bars are great options to pack each day for your kids. The extra protein will be required based on how active they’ll be!

Packed Lunch: Nutritious meal for longer forest school sessions. We love bento-style boxes that offer a variety of compartments, which is especially good for picky eaters who like many options.

First Aid Kit: Basic supplies for treating minor cuts, scrapes, or insect bites. If your child has allergies, consider these labels to keep them safe! 

Sunscreen: It’s a no-brainer, even on cloudy days!

Insect Repellent: Keep bugs at bay during outdoor activities, especially when the season change and the pesky bugs come biting!

Notebook and Pen: For jotting down observations or taking notes during activities. Your particular school may provide these or have recommendations on the type they prefer.

Whistle: For emergencies or to gather attention, it’s essential.

Towel or Blanket: Useful for sitting during breaks or picnics, for wiping, for warmth – truly multifunctional! keep it very light and easy to pack.

Optional Forest School Supplies You May Want to Purchase:

Magnifying Glass: Explore small details in nature up close; kids love to see the details of bugs, moss, and other small items in nature.

Binoculars: Spot birds or other wildlife from a distance.

Field Guides: Identify plants, animals, or insects encountered during outdoor explorations. Depending on your school, these may be provided.

Camera: Capture memories or interesting finds; it’s an excellent way for kids to put together projects and record their findings.  

Remember, the specific items needed may vary depending on the school, the activities planned, the duration of the forest school session, and the local weather conditions.  

By ensuring you have these essentials, you’ll be ready to make the most of your forest school experience. Remember to check the specific requirements of your forest school program and tailor your packing list accordingly. With the right gear and supplies, your kids can focus on enjoying nature and all the learning opportunities it has to offer.

Heading to traditional school? Check out this school supply list!


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