Being teachers and moms, we are often ask what the best kid options are for all sorts of things! After decades of doing this work, we have created this helpful list of the best preschool gear available:
BACKPACK: Be sure to get something that can fit all that winter gear. LL Bean, Lands End, and Pottery Barn all have decent sized backpacks that can fit all the mittens, snowpants, and extra clothes that a child needs to bring to school.
LUNCH BOX: We really love this style Bentgo Box sold on Amazon.
It is easy for children to open and close with independence and
provides space for the appropriate amount of food for a 3-5 year old.
BOOTS: BOGS are hands down the best Vermont boots for kids. Warm, waterproof, rugged and easy to put on and pull off. They are often on sale in the spring so stock up!
MITTENS: Children need at least two pairs of long, waterproof mittens. Gloves are not only challenging for a child to navigate, they also don't keep them as warm. Make sure to get mittens that go up the sleeve a bit to keep snow out.
HATS: It's important that hats cover the child's ears. Beanie styles often pop off if the child has long hair.
JACKETS & SNOWPANTS: The two most important things are #1- The jacket sleeve and pant legs are long enough to keep the snow out. #2- The jacket and snow pants haven't been worn and handed down so many times that they are no longer water resistant. Lands End (on sale) is one of the most cost effective brands to buy without risking quality. LL Bean, Columbia, Artix, Costco, Sierra Trading Post, and Ebay are also good places to shop kids outerwear.
RAIN GEAR: There is nothing better than a good pair of rain pants when you are a kid in Vermont. It is muddy for months and rain gear keeps the kid dry while protecting the clothes from stains. Try LL Bean, Oakiwear, Lands End. Though the rain suits are amazing, they can be tricky when it's warm and children no longer require a jacket. Suspender types tend to be difficult for young children to put on independently. We like to stick to the normal pant style rain pant.
SHOES: We are practical so we love Croc style shoes for both inside and outside play. They are comfortable, washable, dry easily and kids and put them on without trouble. Laces and ties are a no go for preschool age children as they don't have the fine motor skills yet to tie. Make sure the shoe fits appropriately to eliminate blisters or tripping.
A general rule to keep in mind is that if a child can not independently dress and undress at home, then they will not be able to at school. Take some time to practice and see if the gear is appropriate for school. With 17 children each day, we ask children to "do it themselves" before asking for grown up help. The easier their clothing is to manipulate, the more successful they will feel and the the more confidence that will grow.