How to Keep Kids Comfortable Outdoors with the Right Accessories

by Meghan Fitzgerald

The key to long-lasting outdoor play in winter is having the right gear (and getting it on your kids). It doesn’t have to be expensive (see our affordable winter-weather gear guide here), but it should be rugged and ready for messy play so that you can get outside every day — and stay outside. 

This year more than ever, spending time outside is essential for our overall well-being, even when the temperature dips way down. 

The right kids’ cold-weather accessories will make that possible. Once little hands get cold, the fun winds down fast. Hats, mittens and wool socks make great small gifts for stocking stuffers and the like, and will last kids more than one season, too, so you’re sure to get a lot of wear for your buck. 

These are our tried-and-true picks from brands we love and admire for their quality and value (read here for more of those). 

For more on getting your kids to actually wear their hats, gloves and mittens, check out our tips for getting wiggly kids to bundle up for the winter.

  • Hats: We’re a little in love with Zutano’s hats for two reasons: 1. They’re super cute and come with tiny ears, which inspires lots of animal pretend play and 2. They’re made of nice thick fleece that protects tiny heads.  
  • Mittens: If you’ve figured out how to get your kids to wear gloves and mittens (and keep them on), we commend you. For the rest of us, there are SnowStoppers, which come with an extended cuff that clings to arms so they stay on, while providing an extra layer of insulation from wet and cold.  
  • Neck Warmers: It has a funny name, but Turtle Fur’s neck warmers are made from fantastically toasty and soft fleece that will cover those bits that always seem to be exposed. 
  • Face Masks: In this most unusual year, warm face masks help keep kids faces warm and make safe playdates possible. For kids 1-4, we love these Bonvince face mask/hat combos. For older kids, a gaiter or balaclava style head and mouth cover like this one. With safe distancing, these cozy options can add protection from both the virus and the cold.
  • Lotion: Cold-chapped skin is real, and it’s no fun. To prevent it, try a balm that’s easy to apply to even the most reluctant kids, like Erbaviva’s organic lip and cheek stick. 
  • Hand warmers: Heat them up before you head out, and tuck them in your bag or pockets. They’re there when you or your kiddos need a boost. Or, tuck them inside wool socks, turning those socks into heated mittens kids can put on if their hands get wet or cold. Try handmade warmers or boilable warmers.
  • Sunscreen: Even in the winter, don’t forget the sunscreen! ThinkSport Kids SPF 50 is a brand we love for its efficacy, safety and eco-friendliness.
  • Socks! When feet are cold, the whole body’s cold. They’ll stay warm in rainboots and even snow boots with wool socks. We love Smartwool and Darn Tough for socks that insulate little toes through the thickest slush.

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