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 gift guide for outdoor families filled with some of our favourite toys and gear…. all sorts of things that we use when we’re outside exploring, playing, or just hanging out.
What are the best gifts for outdoor kids?
We all love our wagon! I use it with the kids all the time. Wagons are great for family walks around the neighborhood, going to zoos, outdoor events, the farmer’s market, and backyard play time. I love how handy it is when we’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 even have ski attachments for snow, sun shades, and attachable umbrellas. We like the wider wheels for off-roading and getting through lite snow..
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. (My tip is to bring along the wagon too so when your toddler gets tired of biking, the toddler and bike can both go in the wagon… otherwise you’re uncomfortably carrying your toddler and the bike, which is not fun.)
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.
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 treasures in. If this seems like a boring gift, consider filling it with other goodies before wrapping it up!
If you’re handy and into repurposing, you could probably make some buckets yourself. Large milk jugs, cut open at he top, yogurt tubs with rope attached, or ice cream pails also make wonderful pails for toddlers.
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 to the park . Hours of fun for only a few dollars.
If you’re thinking these make boring gifts, there’s actually some pretty cool frisbees and kites available these days! Don’t you know a kid who’d love to train their own dragon as it flies through the sky!I love the idea of gifting outdoor activities and adventure!Click To Tweet
Have you ever tried one of these? They’re a lot harder than it looks! But, tonnes of fun for kids and adults. We bought a slackline this 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!
For families that like to learn and explore, binoculars and trail guides are practical and useful gifts. If you’re worried about kids using binoculars gently, there are shock resistant binoculars specifically made for children.
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.
The Small Things
If you’re in need of some smaller gift ideas, here’s a list of things our family uses outside on a regular basis:
- chapsticks and travel-sized bug spray and sunscreens
- pocket packs of tissues
- gum and goodies (to keep those feet moving on the trail)
- Hot Hands, hand warmers for long days out in the snow
- small stretchy gloves
- fabric headbands to keep ears warm and windy hair out of our faces
- bandaids with cute pictures on them (because smiles make tears disappear faster)
- glow sticks for fun outside at night
- bubbles – lots and lots of bubbles
- sidewalk chalk
- telescoping roasting sticks
- Folding pocket guides from flowers to bugs or knots
- head lamps
The experience gift
Don’t forget the opportunity to give activities and experiences. Here are a few suggestions:
- Gift them a package of outdoor scavenger hunts for them to enjoy as a family (you can download and print these scavenger hunts for free)
- memberships or family passes to zoos and wildlife reserves
- park passes
- a promise to bring them out camping, hiking, bird watching, kite-flying, or skating (you get the idea)
- gift certificate 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
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 for your own family or families on your list. If you’re on the hunt for more practical gifts, you may be interested in this list of all handmade and eco-friendly gift ideas.
- If you appreciate the idea of getting yourself and your family into nature more often, you might be interested in receiving the Take Them Outside Club notes. You’ll get tips, activities, news, and goodies delivered right to your inbox a few times each month. Just fill out the info below to receive your first goodie!