as promised earlier this week, here’s the second part with information about forest kindergarten equipment and outdoor equipment we use since some of you asked. those clothes/products i introduce are the ones we’ve been using and tested so far. i just laid them on the wooden wardrobe my husband built and photographed them there, because that’s where we dress before we go outside and that’s where our outdoor clothes are storaged.
to begin with, i’d like to mention that i got to know someone, who’s mother had an online second-hand store for forest kindergarten clothes. unfortunately her mum had to shut down her online business, but now she’s thinking to open it up again and do it herself. and i can’t tell you how happy i was to hear that, because i loved that online store her mama had. i ordered quite a lot of our forest kindergarten clothes there. you could search for certain brands, which helped me a lot, because there are some differences. also with that way you can see what sustainable and eco-friendly products she had. i’m a big fan of second-hand clothes, just because buying everything twice with twins really is not so friendly for the purse. and i see a big important sustainable thought in there. but since her online second-hand store is not opened yet, i’ll include the link for the clothes to shops or online platforms where you can buy them or where we got the others from. as soon as i know when miri opens up her second-hand online store, i’ll inform you here and on instagram, because that’s a huge wonderful source i have to share with you then. another good option for getting second – hand forest kindergarten clothes is to ask in the forest kindergartens. ours just opened up an intern ‘marketplace’ for second-hand clothes. If you’re looking for wool/silk second-hand clothes (which we use as a first layer), waldorf schools sometimes have second-hand bazars where you can get them there.
forest kindergarten equipment/clothes. first thought that comes to my mind is dirt. dirt and mud. so first of all, here’s 2 photos that show the muddy reality of forest kindergarten. day by day, week by week, their clothes are heavier and dirtier. i just recently placed two old wooden boxes as a shoe shelf in front of our entrance door. no, seriously, the amount of dirt and mud that was bought in, wasn’t acceptable anymore, so now the girls usually take of their mud/rain paints together with their wellies or hiking boots outside the house. often they just throw their stuff in front of the shoe shelf. sometimes they even linger outside at the entrance, finish their ‘brotzeit’ and slowly arrive.
so lets get started and be prepared for lots of products to follow.
i’ll start with the first layer of clothes. in spring/summer and early fall, the warmer days with 15°C and above, the girls wear long underwear with a cotton/wool/silk mixture or just cotton we use from cosilana. when it gets colder they were long underwear with a mixture of wool/silk that keeps them warmer. here we use different brands from hocosa (feels like the warmest…slightly thicker than cosilana) to engel (i like the texture and the softness) to cosilana (nothing beats their earthy colours).
as for the second layer tops, that comes to use during the colder days in spring, autumn and winter, we use sweaters (200 g/²m) and jackets (400 g/²m) from woolpower*. they are made of ullfrottè. i wear their products now for years and my parents lit the fire in all of their daughters and husbands. when camping and outdoor we always take them with us. they are extremely warm. they are prizy, but if you have the chance like we got last year, drive up to östersund in north sweden, when you’re up there and go to their outlet factory. that’s where we and my family equip ourselves. its so so worth it, if you like their products but can’t effort the original prizes. those thick yellow and green wool sweaters are from woolenfashion. my girls have been wearing them for 2 years now. the prizes are unbeatable. they are still in perfect shape and even though they might scratch a bit, they are super warm and perfect to wear on top. for the soft cosy version of a second layer the girls like to wear aino’s nievaknitwear precious wool sweaters (the beige one) made of lambs wool and cashmere.
the second layer buttoms we only use when its really really cold, because the rain and mud pants of the girls are padded (you can unzip the the lining though).but when its cold cold and around 0 °C or under, our favourites are: the ullfrottè underwear pants (200 g/²m) from woolpower* or the wool fleece pants from cosilana. the disana wool leggings is also on board (its a really soft one, but unfortunately looses its shape as i think…widens)
third layer now finally talks more about forest kindergarten. it really is worn all year round. rain and mud pants and rain jackets are a must in spring, summer, autumn and winter. for now we use mud and rain pants and jackets from skogstad, we bought last year in norway, because we forgot the girls raingear. i haven’t found a link where you can buy them. they probably don’t sell them anymore. i really like them and the girls wear them a lot for one year now. oh and we still have the playshoes* rain jackets i got the girls when they were 1 year and something old. they are actually too small, but they still like wearing them, because they are super light. they have oekotex 100, but as far as i know and read, than that label doesn’t really have to mean too much. its like with the labelling organic. organic ‘bio’ doesn’t have to mean its ‘organic ‘bio’. at this point though let me tell you that for the future i really would like to go for the brand tells/abeko* because of their high ecological standards i heard of and also because my friend, who is really forest kindergarten proofed with two kids entrusted that brand to me (she wrote an article about mud gear here on her blog). another brand for mud/rain gear is bms* that i only heard good things of and that is used a lot in forest kindergartens by parents who also try to go for a high oekotex standard. i got one second hand rain jacket from bms at the second hand online store and so far i can’t complain.
also as third layer i want to mention the snow pants, snow jacket and rain jacket from vaude*. i was lucky to get these at the second-hand online store. these are from an older collection . i heard from several parents and vaude users that the actual vaude collection is not as good anymore. i don’t know if its true, but i’m glad i got my fingers on these old, but good ones. they are robust and waterproof. oh yes they are. my girls tested them and were dry after driving their balance bikes through deep water puddles. we’re looking forward to their first ski lessons with their forest kindergarten group this winter.
ok, now lets move forward to shoes. rain boots/wellies are worn all the time in the woods even though at our forest kindergarten hiking boots are often the better choice, ’cause some paths are quite steep and if wet really slippery, where the kids need a really really good shoe profile. for us, until now we sticked with bisgaard* . the girls now wear the natural rubber boots with sheep’s wool lining. before those, they wore the bisgaard wellies without the upper of the rain boots, but that way they easily had water in them. so i really recommend those with an adjustable upper of a shoe/boot. they still can get in and out by themselves. as for hiking boots, who go over the ankles and support these and save steps, we decided to go for waterproof and warmer ones. christian and me we both wear ‘lowa’ hiking boats now for years. ours travelled and hiked all around the world. i love them and i love that they adjust to your feed. that they are light and flexible, yet give you enough and good support. we also never really had problems with wet feed. so this summer christian was lucky and auctioned a second hand pair of lowa hiking boots for kids at ebay for only 12 € or so, like for nothing. but i know its rare to get that lucky. they are lowa* goretex winter boots and they are lightweight and comfy that the girls run and jump in them like little gnomes. then there was a sale for meindl* winter boots, but i don’t know actually where that was….it was a while ago. the meindl winter boots are more stiff, but still they can easily hike and run and jump with them. and for both boots i can say that on days where it rained and they wore them, we didn’t have a problem with wet or cold feet yet. i heard from other forest kindergarten parents and kindergarten teachers that brands like sorel* or kamik* are great too, because you can take out the inner shoe or liner, so they are easy to dry overnight again. that really is a point that’s handy. i remember when one day i got them from forest kindergarten, they both had wet hiking winter boots because they jumped and played with them in the stream and their mud/rain pants weren’t fixed on the shoes, so the water came in from the top. it took a while to dry them, but with the help of newspapers and placing them at the fireplace overnight, we also dried them over night. oh and not to forget my husband ordered 2 pairs of salewa* trekking shoes that were also on sale. they have worn them in the summer a lot during our several day hikes in the alps. i was really really sceptical, because they don’t cover the ankles and i was afraid that they might turn/twist their ankles, but that actually never happened. they love them and felt like the most sportive alpine hikers when their dad bought them. yes, they felt like real alpinists when wearing them. and in the summer months of may, june and july when i helped out at the forest kindergarten they wore them all the time.
accessories like mud/waterproofed-gloves are indispensable. i ordered their ‘tell/aboko’ gloves here. this website is also great for ordering all sort of forest kindergarten clothes. if you have a look, you’ll know why. we bought the ones with a fleece inlay. they are still big so that the girls could even wear a pair of woolen gloves underneath for the really cold days. waterproofed hats i got from the second-hand online store. they are from the swedish brand kozi kidz*. they are pretty popular here. but their woolen hand knitted pixie’s from typicallyred are faithful companions in the woods as well. and for the warmer days we still stick to our beloved nuscheli muslin scarfs from heidi that moved into our family when the girls were born. they are not only used as head scarfs, but also as scarfs and oh yes, my girls still fall asleep with their first nuscheli scarfs they got as a birth present from their swiss aunt. and until now, they don’t have holes yet, but of course are super thin being used night by night for 3,5 years. alpaca knitted gloves and loops are from mioukids
next photo shows the girls backpacks we got for them while travelling and camping in norway. that’s why its bergans* 😉 the not so handy side of those backpacks is that they didn’t include a raincover (i bought them separate), which is more than necessary. not only for rainy days in the woods, but i find also for sort of a mud/dirt protection on wet but not rainy days, if that makes sense. beside this, we really like them. its handy that they have a waist strap and a breast strap. the backpacks themselfes are super light, but because of the lunchboxes, thermos bottles and changing gear actually pretty heavy to wear, so it does make sense that they can closely wear them when running down the hills. the girls have attached their sami/scandinavian kuksa since last year’s norway/sweden camping trip. someone else who’s attached or lives in their backpacks are their so called ‘ backpack-gnome’ they carved and painted at forest kindergarten.
what goes in the backpack? another hint from my forest kindergarten proofed friend was the waterproofed ortlieb packsack* every girl carries in her backpack. it includes a new set of underwear, socks and long-sleeved wool/silk underwear). those waterproofed little packsacks in the backpack make so much sense. just the other day, one of my girls forgot to close her drinking bottle that was inside the backpack. i was so glad that i got those packsacks and didn’t stick with my nice handmade cloth bags i sewed for them 😉
the girls do not only carry changing clothes in their backpacks, but also a full lunchbox and mostly a thermos bottle with tea. as for the materials i wanted to go eco friendly. but i also wanted to choose something the girls are able to open and close by themselves. so that’s why i decided to buy stainless steal lunchboxes. i bought Kivanta lunchboxes. they have a great size and the girls can open and close them easily. they also don’t open themselves easily in the backpack. the only thing i dislike is that these are pretty heavy, compared to a no-name steal lunchbox we have that looks exactly the same, but is double as light. so my tip is to not only order something in the internet, but to also touch and hold it before. the thermos Klean Kanteen* bottles can be filled with hot tea in the late evening and they will be warm or sort of warm during the next morning in the woods. i ordered extra caps for those bottles that the girls can open and close by themselves. usually the drink bottles are placed in one of the outside pockets of the backpack. in those two month i once opened the backpack when one of the girls didn’t close the bottle properly and where we had to dry out the backpack. our lunchbox content is not spectacular. usually some bread with cheese, vegetables and fruits go in there. sometimes i add nuts, because candies or sweets are not an option for any forest kindergarten children there, which i thankfully support.
alright. if you have read until here: thank you! that was a long one. i hope i could share some insights and product information’s for those of you who were interested and asked me before. if you are experienced and feel like sharing great sources of forest kindergarten brands, please leave a comment. i think we can all benefit of it. no matter if our kids go to forest kindergarten or not…..outdoor equipment is needed for everyone who loves to enjoy adventures in nature with their little ones.
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