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Spring Gear Guide: Layers For A Wild Season

Round-about March 21 is when spring officially starts in the Northern Hemisphere, but if your home state is anything like Michigan... you can't rely on the warm weather to be here to stay until June! Early mornings, rain, wind, and cold snaps can still necessitate layers and warm gear all the way up to Memorial Day and beyond.

We all want to move on from snow gear once we bask in that first stretch of warmer days. But a well-stocked cubby with a wide range of layers is the best way to support your goal of being outside every day in most weather!

Read on for our list of must-have gear for wild and crazy spring weather conditions:


1. Don't ditch those snowsuits yet! If your littles have been wearing a good quality snowsuit, it might still make the perfect outer layer on cold, wet spring mornings. Just don't be surprised if they end up in t-shirts later in the same day!

2. Ears and fingers might still get cold if the wind blows, but thick hats and insulated gloves are often too warm for spring play. Several pairs of knit gloves might be better; they are light and inexpensive, and you can change into a dry pair if they become very wet. A knit beanie is a perfect spring layer to keep heads covered on a chilly day.

3. Layers are still the name of the game, but having options on hand is important in spring. A short-sleeved base layer is best this time of year, with a fleece jacket or hooded sweatshirt. While jeans don't make great bottom layers in winter, they might be just right in Spring. The keys to layers in transitional seasons are OPTIONS and MULTIPLES so your littles can get wet and cold, change right into warm, dry clothing, and keep playing!

4. Wool socks will never leave our gear list! They are perfect for year-round outdoor play because they keep feet DRY, and dry feet are key while wearing footwear in all season. I do have lighter wool socks for spring and summer trekking, but your kiddos will continue to be comfy in their winter socks right up until they peel them off to go barefoot on really warm days!

5. It is hard to resist buying up the cutest raincoat with rainbows or unicorns or little yellow duckies, but a utilitarian rainsuit is the best purchase. Your rainsuit is an outer layer that will work well with warm gear underneath... or right on top of shorts and a t-shirt later in the season. It can be worn from the last snow melt in the spring until the first snowfall in the winter. Just like with snowsuits, your rainsuit must fit correctly in order to work well; they are already designed to be roomy so you don't need to order a size up. It will get muddy and stained, but that just means your kiddos are getting the good stuff!

6. Sneakers can make their appearance on nice dry days, but waterproof pull-on rain boots are the best footwear for a sloppy spring. They will be warm enough with good quality socks inside. Waterproof snowboots are also great to keep on hand for a cold snap.

7. And just like that, you'll have a 70 degree day with a bright sun and biting bugs buzzing your ears! It's time to invest in a good quality sunscreen, a wide-brimmed hat, and an effective insect repellent that balances the lowest level of DEET possible with adequate protection. Consider treating your child's clothing, footwear, and outerwear with permethrin. Add a health check to your dressing/undressing routine to watch for insect bites and ticks. Welcome to spring! Hope to see you out there soon, LL


When not working with children and their caregivers, "Lady" Lisa and her family enjoy exploring the woods, lakes, and beaches that surround their northern Michigan home. She holds a masters degree in early childhood studies, a graduate certificate in teaching adults in the early childhood field, and accreditation in wilderness safety and the forest school ethos.


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