The best list of outdoor gifts for kids (and adventuresome families)

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Do you have any outdoor kids or adventuresome families on your shopping list this year?  Or maybe, you’re an outdoor family and are looking for practical gifts to help get you and your kids outside.  Well, I’ve put together a guide full of outdoor gifts for kids that should be a perfect starting point for this year’s gift giving season!

Below, you’ll find favourite outdoors toys and outdoors gear perfect for families who like to get outside.  For your convenience, click on the images or follow the links to see where you can purchase these items on line.

All the things below are toys and gear that we’ve use when we’re outside exploring, playing, or just hanging out.

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What are the best gifts for outdoor kids?

The Wagon

Kids can’t help but love a little red wagon!  Wagons are great for family walks around the neighborhood, going to zoos, outdoor events, the farmer’s market, and backyard play time.  Parents will love how handy it is when they’re out with other families and the little ones can take turns in the wagon instead of everyone bringing their own strollers.

Some higher quality wagons may even have ski attachments for snow, sun shades, and attachable umbrellas.  The wider wheels are good for off-roading on packed dirt, gravel, or even packed snow.

Now that our kids are older and don’t ride in the wagon we still use it for hauling our garbage to the dumpster down the road, selling Girl Guide Cookies around town, and carrying our water toys and picnic gear from the parking lot to the beach.

Balance Bikes

Have you seen these balance bikes?  They’re so small and cute!  After some practice toddlers learn to zip along making family walks quicker and more enjoyable for everyone.

Tip: Bring along the wagon too so when the littles gets tired of biking, both the toddler and the bike can take a ride in the wagon.

Our toddlers all used balance bikes from about 18 months of age until the started riding a regular bike.  Because they had the skills from these little bikes, they didn’t use training wheels and were biking like the big kids by 4 years old.

Shovel and Bucket

If you’re heading to the beach, playing in the backyard, or the local park, a bucket and shovel will always be entertaining.  Toddlers will dig in anything.  And the bucket is so handy for carrying toys and found treasures.  If this seems like a boring gift, consider filling it with other goodies before wrapping it up!

If you’re handy and into re-purposing,  you could probably make some buckets yourself.  Large milk jugs, cut open at he top, yogurt tubs with rope attached, cat litter bins, or ice cream pails also make wonderful pails for toddlers.

Play Time

Frisbees, kites, soccer balls, and skipping ropes: think park-time fun.  These are low cost toys that help families get out and get active.  They’re great around home, for camping, or for bringing on family picnics .  Hours of fun for only a few dollars.

If you’re thinking these make boring gifts, there are actually some pretty cool frisbees and kites available these days!  Don’t you know a kid who’d love to fly their own dragon?!


Have you ever tried one of these?  They’re a lot harder than it looks!  But, slack line are tonnes of fun for both kids and adults.  If you purchase a slack line kit make sure it comes with tree trunk protectors. An extra rope to string across as a guide rope will be very helpful for beginners.

We bought a slackline last summer for our camping trips and it provided hours of play, competitions, balancing, and bouncing!  (Sure, we also had some bumps and memorable falls, but all in the name of learning and trying something new!)

Apparently there are cool attachments you can add to slacklines to create obstacle courses and ultimate challenges.  They’re pretty neat.  I haven’t tried them, so I’m not so sure how they work, but they sure look fun!

Go exploring

For families that like to learn and explore, binoculars and trail guides are both practical and useful.  If you’re worried about kids using binoculars gently, there are shock resistant binoculars specifically made for children.

My preschoolers absolutely love these kid-friendly binoculars that we have. I thought they’d be too big for the kids to enjoy, but that was not the case! And, since I’m not worried about their condition, I keep them in the toy bucket which means my daughter picks them out and plays with them much more frequently than if I had to remember to pull them out for her to use them once in a while.

A fun themed gift could include a little nature journal, some binoculars, and a beautiful nature guide, like Nature Anatomy


I’m not going to pretend to know anything about telescopes, because I don’t.  But I do know that star gazing can be a lot of fun and a great reason to get outside after dark.

Technically, you don’t need anything special to enjoy the starry sky, but a star guide and telescope could help prolong the activity and get kids a little more interested and involved.  There are also great apps to help identify stars and constellations available for free.

Stocking Stuffers for outdoor kids

If you’re in need of some smaller gift ideas, here’s a list of things our family uses outside on a regular basis.  These would make perfect stocking stuffers for outdoor kids.

The experience gift

And, maybe even the best gift of all… to give activities, experiences, time spent together, and memories.  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Gift a package of outdoor scavenger hunts for your or another family to enjoy together (you can download and print these scavenger hunts for free)
  • memberships or family passes to zoos and wildlife reserves
  • state (provincial) and national park passes
  • a promise to bring them out camping, hiking, bird watching, kite-flying, or skating (you get the idea)
  • gift certificates to local experiences (think about outdoor tourist attractions for your location – a swamp tour, river rafting, guided snow shoeing, horseback riding, caving, snorkeling, sailboat lesson, ice climbing… the list is endless)
  • club fees for an outdoor club like scouts or junior rangers
  • Entry fees to a summer outdoor camp like horseback riding, canoeing, nature science camps and so on.

Getting outside can be easy and tonnes of fun.  You don’t need fancy gadgets and gear, or special toys and activities, but they don’t hurt either!

Personally, I like to give gifts that I know are practical and will get used.  These outdoor gifts for kids are all things that our family has used and enjoy using regularly.

Hopefully this will give you some ideas of gifts for your own outdoor kids or families on your holiday list.

Other Gift Guides you might be interested in:


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  1. Love all the recommendations. My daughter loves the outdoors and adding binoculars, a magnifying glass and a bug collection kit makes it sooo much fun!!

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