These outdoorsy gifts for kids are both practical and fun–perfect for budding scientists who love to explore the world around them!
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Have you made your Christmas list yet? I have a goal this year to have all my shopping done by the first week of December. I want everything wrapped and done early so that I can focus on enjoying the season with my family.
We’ll see if that actually happens…
If you have young kids like me, you’re probably gathering ideas for Christmas, too. Every year, I like to share one or two gift guides with my readers…things that our family owns and really loves.
I’m not into buying stuff just for the sake of having something to open Christmas morning. The older I get, the more of a minimalist I become. So if I’m going to buy something for my boys, I want it to be something that I believe they will really love and will enrich our lives together.
That being said, I DO believe that there are some toys and gifts that really are worth the space they take up in our house. Those are the types of gifts I try to share in my yearly gift guides, like these…
Here are some of the gift guides I’ve shared in the past:
- Gift Guide: Alternatives to Legos for kids who love to build
- Gift Guide: Our favorite board games for kids
- Gift Guide: For kids who love cars and trucks
- Gift Guide: Presents that won’t end up at the bottom of the toy box
This year, I’m sharing a guide to all things related to science and nature exploration! As the mom of three boys–and especially during this year where we’ve been making the most of outdoor, socially-distanced activities–we spend a lot of time exploring nature. Over the years, we’ve discovered some pretty cool tools and toys that would make great outdoorsy gifts for kids who love science and exploring nature.
Take a peek!
Outdoorsy gifts for kids who love to explore
1. Kid’s binoculars Whether we’re going on a scavenger hunt or heading out on a hike, my kids love taking their binoculars. They think it’s fascinating to see how the world changes when they look through the lenses, and it makes them feel very official to have binoculars around their necks
2. Headlamp Headlamps are such an inexpensive, fun gift for kids! I have one for each of my boys to use when we are camping, and they also like to pull them out when they make forts at home. They also make great reading lamps for bedtime!
3. Water bottle Every good adventurer needs a water bottle to stay hydrated. These 14 oz. Contigo water bottles are the ones we’ve used and loved for years! They used to sell them at Costco, but I haven’t seen them there in a long time. You can still get singles or a 3-pack on Amazon though. We use these every single day at our house. In fact, we hardly ever use cups. Everyone just has their own water bottle to use all day long.
4. Rain boots With proper footwear, you can be an explorer even when the weather isn’t perfectly sunny. We gifted each of our boys rain boots for Christmas a couple of years ago, and they loved them! They kept the boys’ feet dry all winter/spring, PLUS the boots were easy enough for my toddler to pull on by himself so I had one less thing to do. WIN! I’ve bought several more pairs for them as their feet have grown because they have just been so great to have around.
5. Sleeping bag My boys LOVE sleeping on the floor…so much so that I occasionally wonder why we ever bought them beds to begin with. They each have their own sleeping bag, which they use for camping trips and the occasional bedroom campout as well. (Tip: If you plan to actually use the sleeping bag for camping, make sure you check the heat rating and get one that is actually going to keep your child warm. A lot of kids’ bags are really just meant to be used for indoor sleep-overs…and we don’t want frozen little explorers. That’s no fun for anyone.)
6. Walkie Talkies This summer we took a trip to Yellowstone National Park with another family. We had no cell phone reception in the park, so we used walkie talkies to communicate between cars as we drove between stops. The kids thought it was the coolest thing ever to think up call names and learn radio slang like “roger” and “over,” and ran around the cabin playing adventure games together. They’ve been begging to have some at home (this summer we used our friends’) so they continue their adventures.
7. National Geographic Kids magazine subscription I’m NOT a big magazine person, but National Geographic’s kids magazines are an exception to the rule. We’ve been subscribed for the past 3 years because my kids love them so much! They love getting something in the mail each month, and it’s been a great way to interest them in non-fiction informational texts. We started with the Little Kids magazine (better for preschoolers), but now we get the older kids’ magazine (recommended for ages 6+). Hint: Keep an eye out for deals. The current regular price is $20 for an annual subscription, but sometimes it goes on sale for 40-50% off.
8. Nat Geographic Kids books In addition the magazines, we love the Nat Geo books for kids. If your kids are anything like mine, you can totally relate to the constant asking, “WHY?” This book has the answers! It’s the kind of book my boys love to just pick up and flip through, even when I’m not reading to them.
9. Treasure Box
Each of my boys has his own “treasure box”. It’s a place to keep anything special to them–which often includes rocks and such that they find while exploring. We bought ours at a local craft store, and the boys spent part of an afternoon painting and decorating them. They’re fabulous because they help corral all the little things they accumulate on our adventures, and they think it’s fabulous to have their very own treasure!
10. Crystal Mining Kit Don’t have the patience for a rock tumbler, but love gems? This mining kit is a great place to start. We were gifted one when my son was four and he spent hours unearthing treasure. We have gifted them to others several times now, too, and they’re always a hit!
11. Rock Tumbler Kit This year my six-year-old got really into geology. He collects rocks everywhere he goes, and pores over books about various gems and minerals. For his birthday, we bought him a rock tumbler, and it’s become a fun hobby for the whole family. There is something magical about putting rough stones in the machine and having them come out smooth and shiny. Keep in mind, rock tumbling is a slow process, so it’s probably better for older kids (6+) who have the patience to wait for the time (several weeks) it takes to go from start to finish. Note: If you have a real junior rock-hound, here is another really fun kit we own and has led to lots of learning and hours of fun!
12. Swiss Army Knife First of all, let’s get out of the way the disclaimer that a knife is NOT a toy. But it is a really useful tool, and when my parents gifted me one (around age 9 or 10), I felt so grown up! I loved packing it for camping trips and learning from my dad how to whittle. I still have that little knife, too. My kids are still a little young, but if you have older kids who are ready to learn the responsibility of such a tool, it would make a fabulous gift.
Now it’s your turn…
Do you have any of these outdoorsy gifts for kids? What should I add to the list?!