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Essential Winter Gear for Kids

So you’re heading to a snow capped mountain for some snow play near Los Angeles, and you’re wondering –  What gear do I need for my kids so they stay warm and have fun?

We’ve got your list of basic must-haves and nice-to-haves for kids to play in the snow for just a quick trip all the way to taking them down the mountain for some serious shredding in the powder. And everything in between.

Essential Winter Gear for Staying Warm

The most important thing when you’re playing in snow is to stay warm. If your get too cold, the fun will end way sooner than you’ll probably want it to. Hands, feet, and heads are the parts of our bodies that get the coldest, so finding good mittens, gloves, boots, and hats is the first thing you need to do.

There are cold-weather outer wear basics you really must have for you and your kids to stay warm and keep having fun, but then there are extras and add-ons that you can choose to use or not, depending on how you feel and how fancy you want to get.

Plus, some kids just won’t wear some of these things, no matter how much you try to reason with them. Ear muffs are not worth enduring a tantrum in a snowstorm, not by a longshot.

little boy in snow goggles

Must-Have Items for Keeping warm in the Snow

  • Hats – with our without ear flaps
  • Mittens or gloves, depending on the age of the kids (mittens tend to keep tiny fingers warmer)
  • Boots
  • Warm socks – wool ones are best unless they feel too scratchy to your little ones
  • Down Jacket or thick fleece with a windbreaker over it
  • Snow pants if you plan to sled or some other kind of waterproof pants in a pinch

You can get all of this gear and more in our Amazon Shop!

Nice-to-Have Items for Being Extra Cozy Warm in the Snow

  • Hand warmers
  • Ear muffs
  • Head band to cover ears
  • Ski goggles
  • Neck gaiters or scarves
  • Ski masks
  • Back up jacket
  • Fleece zip-up jacket to wear under snow jacket for super cold conditions
  • Bib overall snow pants
  • Long underwear layers under clothes if you plan to be out for long stretches of time
  • Changes of clothes for the kids, especially for multi-day trips
two little girls laughing on a sled in the snow
Sometimes all you need to make a kid happy is a pan sled!

Fun Snow Gear for Playing and Having Fun

  • Snow sleds
  • Pan Sleds
  • Toboggans
  • Snowman making kit
  • Snow toys
  • Inflatable tube for snow tubing
  • Snowball maker
  • Food coloring for snowball coloring
  • Plastic shovels for making snow forts

For those of us in Southern California, we may only need snow clothes for a couple of trips to the snow, so it can feel like a waste of money to buy new. We’ve always preferred borrowing from a friend or buying used snow gear for kids as a way to save money. But it’s totally a personal preference.

Read our article on where to find snow gear for kids here.

Planning to stay overnight or longer when you play in the snow? See our list of terrific cabins and chalets in the mountains here.

Sarah Auerswald is the co-Founder of

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