It’s time to go sledding! Since you don’t want your child to be cold, you bundle him or her up like the kid in A Christmas Story. Now they look miserable and can’t move. Hmm. What snow gear for toddlers and young children do you really need?
1. Thin Base Layer
The material for the base layer depends on how cold it is outside. If it is in the 30’s, I stick with cotton leggings and a long-sleeve t-shirt. If it is colder, I go with fleece-lined leggings and a heavier long-sleeve shirt.
2. Snow Bibs
These are a must-have. Snow bibs keep snow out of your child’s shirt and pants. Older children and adults do fine with just waterproof snow pants; however, smaller children struggle with them. (We’ve tried it. Shirts and sweatshirts constantly ride up under jackets. Pants droop because they are heavy. Wet snow gets around their middle and down their pants. Skip the stress and hassle.) Because your child will grow out of their snow bibs every year, buy a cheap pair at Walmart. The cheap pair will work just fine.
3. Insulated Waterproof Boots
Unfortunately, these are a must-have as well, and they are not as cheap as snow bibs. However, if you are going to be outside sledding, making snowmen, and making snow angels for any amount of time whatsoever, they are necessary. Also, this part of your child’s body will constantly be in the snow. If water gets in there, your child’s feet will be cold and wet. That’s not a good situation.
We really like Kamik books. They cinch at the top and/or have a Velcro strap. The inside is completely insulated and the outside is waterproof.
Remember to tuck the under layer of the snow bib legs inside the boots. This part often has elastic around the bottom. Cinch the top of the boots and allow the outer layer of the snow bib legs to go around the outside of the boot. This keeps snow from entering the top of the boots.
4. Fleece Sweatshirt or Regular Sweatshirt
We usually put a fleece sweatshirt or regular sweatshirt on top of the snow bibs. It is another warm layer, and by putting the sweatshirt on top of the snow bibs, the sweatshirt also helps keep snow out of the bibs.
This layer will depend on how thick your child’s winter coat is and the temperature outside. If it is warm (think snow-melting day), I might put the girls in a thicker sweatshirt and put a zip up down vest on them. If it cold, I might put them in a thick sweatshirt with a thinner coat, or I might put them in a thin fleece layer and a thick winter coat. (I usually do the second one.) I do not recommend a thick sweatshirt and a thick winter coat. It restricts movement to the degree that playing outside is frustrating, tiring, and no fun. Keep in mind that your kids will be running, falling, getting up, falling, throwing snow, etc… Even though it is cold outside, the movement will help make them warm.
5. Waterproof Coat
This is another expensive essential; however, a waterproof winter coat is good for more than just snow. Your child can wear the coat all winter, and it can protect them from rain as well. Our favorite coats are Columbia coats. You can find great deals on them during the holidays and right after Christmas. (We have thin coats, thick coats, and winter vests from there. They are high quality and hold up well.)
Not all hats cover ears and stay on well. We recommend a hat that comes well down over your child’s ears and even has strings to tie under his or her chin if necessary. This doesn’t have to be waterproof. Our favorite hats are knit on the outside and fleece on the inside for comfort. Knit hats tend to be itchy. Bring an extra hat along just in case the first one gets wet. (We have never had to switch out hats, but it is good to be prepared. I always bring along extra hats and gloves.)
7. Waterproof Gloves
Most gloves are not waterproof. Knit gloves are not waterproof. The downside to waterproof gloves is that they are bulky and don’t stay on well. However, you must have them to keep fingers dry and warm. (Knit gloves will be completely soaked within the first five minutes of being outside.)
We discovered that painter’s tape helps keep gloves on. Painter’s tape is sticky but not as sticky as other types of tape. After we get all of the clothes on, coat on, and gloves on, we wrap painter’s tape around the ends of the gloves several times to attach the gloves to the coat. Do not wrap tightly. You do not want to cut off circulation. However, the tape keeps the gloves on, and it keeps snow out of the gloves. Painter’s tape also doesn’t harm the coat when you take it off. (At least, it hasn’t harmed our coats. Pull slowly!)
Take some Chapstick along. Apply to your child’s lips frequently to keep them from getting chapped.
Share with us! What are your snow gear essentials for toddlers and young children?