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What happens in bad weather?
How should I dress my child?
What should my child bring?
How will staff keep my child safe?
Does Wonder Woods offer financial assistance?
If you don't see your question, please see our Family Handbook, which has more details about behavior management, program rules, how we integrate kids of different ages, and stewardship. 

Being outdoors should not be hazardous or a test of a child’s endurance. That said, challenging weather days, with a lot of rain or deep cold, are often the most enjoyable for children who were formerly kept indoors in these conditions. As we currently do not have an indoor space, we will cancel in the event that: 

  • The temperature is not predicted to reach 15 °F by 10:00 a.m

  • More than 1” of rain are predicted.

  • There is prolonged lightning in the area (half the day or more)

  • There is a wind advisory (over 25mph winds with gusts up to 40mph)

  • The Air Quality Index is 150 or above at 7 a.m. 

  • Temperatures above 100°F
    If it looks as though the day will warm up enough but start under 15, we may contact families for a late start day. If temperatures are forecast to be in the 90s°F we may have families pick up at 1:00pm instead of 2:00 pm.


We are working to secure some kind of alternate indoor space to avoid canceling programs during these conditions. In the event of a weather emergency, we will have an identified alternate location to take cover and safely wait out a storm. Children will practice regular storm drills to ensure they are ready to move to that location quickly and safely.


How should I dress my child?

Before our specific suggestions by temperature, here are some tips about dressing your child:

  • It is easier to stay warm than get warm. A child cannot take off clothes they do not have, so please err on the side of over-dressing.

  • Every child will need a rainsuit and waterproof boots to wear whenever rain is expected.

  • Functional pockets are always a plus.

  • Short shorts and dresses are discouraged, as children need protection from burrs, thorns, biting insects, and abrasive surfaces. If your child will not leave the house unless in a skirt or dress, try to convince them to wear leggings underneath.

  • Floaty polyester fabric, for instance ballerina skirts (or similar), is hazardous around the fire and should not be worn on cold days.

Here are our strong recommendations for dressing at various temperatures. Please note that if your child is inappropriately dressed, we will not be able to let them participate in that day's class. 

Below 20 degrees

  • 2 layers of silk or wool tights, long underwear, and wool socks 

  • Long-sleeved shirt, sweatshirt or heavy flannel, wool sweater 

  • Snowsuit or down coat (or similar) and snow pants

  • Wool hat 

  • Balaclava 

  • Scarf 

  • Waterproof mittens or gloves 

  • Substantial boots 


20-30 degrees

  • Silk or wool tights and/or long underwear, wool socks 

  • Long-sleeved shirt, undershirt, wool sweater 

  • Snowsuit or down coat (or similar) and snow pants

  • Wool or fleece hat 

  • Scarf 

  • Waterproof mittens 

  • Substantial boots

30-40 degrees

  • Silk or wool tights and/or long underwear, wool socks

  • Several layers of long-sleeved shirt

  • Snowsuit or down coat or similar, and snowpants

  • Stocking cap

  • Mittens

  • Boots

40-50 degrees

  • Cotton tights, 2 layers cotton socks or light wool socks

  • Undershirt and long-sleeved shirt

  • Snow pants, rain pants, or jeans

  • Down or fleece vest

  • Mid-weight coat

  • Stocking cap

  • Mittens

  • Boots or sneakers

50-60 degrees

  • Cotton knee socks

  • Undershirt and long-sleeved button shirt

  • Rain pants or jeans

  • Soft coat

  • Light hat

  • Light boots or sneakers

60-70+ degrees

  • T-shirt

  • Jeans or knee length shorts

  • Cotton knee socks

  • Sneakers or sports sandals with socks

  • Sun hat

What if I don't have all the required clothing for my child?


We hope to establish a Clothing Lending Program for families who are in need of financial assistance in purchasing proper gear. However, until that program is established, please contact us to learn how to find high-quality used children's clothing. 


Your child is expected to bring a backpack to each session that includes the following:

  • Snack and/or lunch, as appropriate

  • A water bottle

  • A weather-appropriate change of clothing, including socks and underpants

  • Spare gloves during cold and snowy weather


The safety of your child is our top priority! It starts with an accurate assessment of what risks are healthy and which are unacceptable. No one can learn anything if they feel, or are, unsafe. That said, the development and spread of programs like ours is in large part based on the fact that children today are too sheltered from healthy risk. 


Existing research suggests that children today have been misserved by this well-meaning but misguided effort to remove all risk from childhood, including healthy risk. The absence of risk leaves children deeply anxious and lacking the confidence that comes from being competent in a variety of skills. When children face age-appropriate risks and challenges, they better understand their limitations and how to safely stretch them. This, in turn, actually makes them safer in the face of real hazard and danger because they know what they can and cannot safely do. Research also suggests that children are as safe or safer in the woods than they are on regular city and schoolyard playgrounds. 

We approach every situation using the “risk versus hazard” framework. Risks are activities where a child could incur minor injuries and the activity is appropriate both for their age and capabilities. Risks are undertaken in the presence and assistance of a capable adult. An example of a risk may be climbing on top of a log four feet off the ground, which we require to be done with three body-parts touching at all times, and in the sight of a program leader. 

Hazards are activities that are categorically too dangerous to pursue, and must be stopped immediately. An example of a hazard is walking closer to a cliff or ledge than you are tall, where the risk of falling means you could go over the edge.

We regularly use the Risk versus Hazard language with our students to make sure they understand what we mean, what’s allowed, what requires assistance, and what is forbidden. Also, we strenuously avoid the words “Be careful,” which express alarm but are almost categorically unhelpful, particularly to children. Instead, we strive to use specific instructions to assist children in navigating risk, such as, “Remember, use three body parts when climbing; what other body part can you put on that log to stay safe?”


Please fill out our financial assistance form

If you would like to contribute to our Wonder Fund, which helps support our ability to give financial assistance, please do so here!

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