winter gear guide


prairie school of dupage winter gear recommendations

Prairie School students will be outside for up to 70 minutes two times per day and Forest School for 180 minutes.  To ensure students to stay warm and dry, please make sure that your children are dressed properly for the weather with ALL skin covered.

When purchasing new gear please use the following guidelines. If you are unsure if your current gear is appropriate, please ask your child's teacher for guidance.

We recognize that winter gear can be costly, so if you can only invest in one item this season, we recommend WOOL SOCKS! Our second recommendation would be a fleece neck/face warmer.


Head Gear.jpg


Wool or fleece hats are recommended for keeping ears warm.  These materials help hold body heat in when the body sweats. 


Wool or fleece balaclavas or neck gators are recommended to protect from cold winds, especially for Forest School students. If your child already has a balaclava, please add a hat over the top, for additional warmth on really cold days. Balaclavas or gators are best at staying put on children's heads. Scarves are difficult for active kids to manage outside. 

Goggles are are optional but welcome for students who seek extra protection from the cold.

Body Gear.jpg

Base Layer

Multiple clothing layers are needed as the temperatures drop.  Non-cotton wicking material such as silk, fleece, or polyester long johns are best to be worn under clothing to keep your child(ren) warm.  If you already have a cotton base layer, that is fine. 

Middle Layer

A middle layer wool vest, insulated vest or fleece jacket will help the students core stay warm and toasty. 

**THRIFTY TIP - A great option would be to purchase a men’s wool sweater at a thrift store and cut off the sleeves.  Shrink the sweater in the dryer and it can make a perfect vest for a small child. 

Outer Layer

COAT - We recommend a water-resistant coat that is adequately insulated for the weather. If it is not, add a fleece or wool sweater on top of your child’s clothing in order to keep them warm. 

SNOW PANTS/BIBS - Waterproof snow pants or bibs will help ensure your child stays dry and warm during snowy or wet play. When layering their legs, be sure to check that they have plenty of room to move to avoid ciruclation issues.

Hands 2.jpg


We recommend waterproof, insulated mittens rather than gloves. Mittens help trap in heat and keep fingers warmer. On extra cold days students should layer knit mittens or gloves under their waterproof ones.


wool socks

If you buy nothing else for your child, purchase a pair of Thick Wool Socks! These are required daily as cotton socks (especially when layered) do not keep toes warm. 

**THRIFTY TIP - One pair of wool socks can be worn for the entire week, due to the antimicrobial properties of wool, so only one pair is necessary per child. Smartwool is an excellent brand to consider when purchasing.

snow boots

Insulated snow boots are essential to keep little toes warm during outdoor winter exploration. Rubber rainboots will not be able to keep feet warm enough. (Insulated winter Bogs should work with a thick pair of wool socks.) 

shopping tips

If you need help navigating the many brands and options available we recommend REI in Oak Brook. Their experienced staff will be able to make great recommendations for your specific needs.