Sunday, February 13, 2011

How to Dress Kids for Snow Play

How to Dress Kids for Snow Play 

Playing in the snow, whether you're skiing, sledding or just throwing snowballs can be great fun. Dressing to stay warm can be the secret to a fun day in the winter. This article explains how to dress your kids for snow play, to keep them warm and dry. 

So true - no cotton!
Cotton is a poor choice for cold weather activities due to its high thermal conductivity (rate of energy loss through a piece of material). Cotton allows the moisture to sit on your skin, in turn cooling you instead of keeping you warm.

Dress your little one in clothing made of synthetic fibers (polyester blends, microfiber, coolmax, dri-fit) or merino wool. They have moisture wicking abilities that will keep the moisture off your tykes skin allowing them to stay comfortable and warm while playing in the cold weather. Merino wool is my number one choice as it allows the body to regulate it’s temperature.

The first layer should be a wicking material to keep moisture away from the skin. For colder days, a fleece top or jacket, or a cotton turtleneck make a good second layer.

  • Base layer: This layer is going to be touching the skin. You want it to be soft, non-itchy, breathable and wick away moisture. Anything that allows moisture to rest on your childs skin will leave them wet, cold and uncomfortable. Synthetic clothing (polyester blends, microfiber, coolmax, dri-fit) or merino wool is a good choice.

  • Mid layer: This is the insulating layer that provides warmth. This layer can consist of wool, fleece, down or synthetics. Cotton is NOT recommended for this layer, either.

  • Shell layer: This is the protective layer from wind, rain and snow. Ideally, you want it to be breathable, allowing perspiration to evaporate. You also want it to be wind and waterproof or at least, water resistant. This layer does not have to be big and bulky. Make sure it fits comfortably over your tykes other layers allowing for adequate moving and playing room. This protective layer can range from a thin rain coat to a soft shell or insulated protective jacket depending on the conditions.

Waterproof pants & jacket Staying dry while playing in the snow is very important. Once the clothes are wet, staying warm is virtually impossible. Remember, there is a difference between "Water Resistant" clothing and "Waterproof" clothing. You can't always tell by looking. The product descriptions will specify what level of water protection clothing provides. Depending on how cold it is, you might want to have your child's pants and jacket both waterproof and insulated for warmth. In spring conditions, insulation might be too warm.

Proper footwear.

The NO cotton rule applies to socks, too. Cotton socks will not keep your kids feet warm so make sure they are wearing wool or moisture wicking socks. I know my feet tend to get cold first before anything else on my body so I pay special attention to socks and shoes/boots. Make sure your kids winter boots or shoes are waterproof.

Waterproof gloves or mittens  Not all kids gloves or mittens are waterproof. The product description will specify if they are waterproof. It has been our experience that mittens are better for young kids. Once kids are old enough to have the dexterity to benefit from each finger, gloves may be a better choice.

Goggles or sunglasses with UV400 Protection  Children may not be as interested as adults are in the fashion aspect of "fashion eyewear". But because kids spend much more time than most adults do outdoors and in direct sunlight, protecting kids' eyes from ultra violet is especially important.
In fact, many experts believe our eyes get 80 percent of their total lifetime exposure to the sun's UV rays by age 18. And since excessive lifetime exposure to UV radiation has been linked to the development of cataracts and other eye problems, it's never too early for kids to begin wearing good quality sunglasses outdoors. Lenses in kids' sunglasses should be clearly marked as capable of providing 100 percent UV protection, with UV400 rated lenses.

Always wear a hat.

Make sure your little ones head is covered with a synthetic or merino wool hat. This will held keep them warm. Although most heat is not lost through the head (an old wives tale) some heat is lost since it is not covered up.
Helmet (for skiing, snowboarding and sledding)

For all the same reasons your children wear bike helmets, ski helmets are a good idea. If your child wears a ski helmet, remember you may have to raise your voice more to get their attention because a helmet may impede their hearing... Make sure the helmet fits correctly. A ski helmet is not an item you buy for your child to grow into. Educate your child about the benefits and limitations of the helmet. Wearing a helmet doesn't give permission to ski or snowboard faster or recklessly. Most ski schools rent helmets for kids, or include them in the ski school package. Call ski schools to learn more. A warm hat (only if you're not planning on using a helmet) Kids should wear a hat or headband, 80 percent of heat-loss is through the head.

Plenty of sunscreen

Be sure they wear sun protection, even on cloudy days. The sun reflects off the snow and is stronger than you think! A ski vacation with a sun burn is no fun!



  1. You are too cute Kristina! There should almost be a class on this, perhaps in the "social" studies portion of Norwegian classes, somewhere in between knitting and how to bake boller? Hehe, keep them coming!

  2. :) It might be weird for some people but I had no clue how to dress them or myself properly - it is such a process to get them all ready for outside :)



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