Gifts for outdoorsy kids are my favourite type of present to both give and receive.
Unlike many toys, gifts that encourage outdoor pursuits tend to stimulate curiosity, help children engage with the world around us and offer educational value: better still, they are useful and often do not occupy a lot of space which is good for storage but also for travel!
Most gifts for outdoorsy kids are small enough to be pocketed in a day bag and make the perfect companions for hikes near and far.
Here some of our favourite items.
Gifts for outdoorsy kids (gender neutral)
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The loyal companion on all our travels, binoculars are always a hit with kids.
They love having them around their neck and while the outdoors is where they truly come into their own, they can easily be used in cities as well and even in the park around the corner!
From observing birds to pointing them to the horizon to finally use them back to front to see how little your brother can look though a lens, they are an easy toy that will keep them entertained during outdoor pursuits while allowing them to engage with the world around them.
Binoculars for kids come is a wide price range to suit most budgets. Usually the one think I look for is a good neck strap with safety clip so you know there is no hazard when worn around the neck.
If you are buying for a camping enthusiast, you may consider a telescope. Kids (and adults) are fascinated by space and looking into faraway celestial worlds is a family favourite activity during dark camping evening. Telescopes come in all shapes, sizes and budgets. To make the present even more useful, you can also add a constellations map or a children astronomy book.
If you are buying for camping fanatics, a headlamp comes handy in the tent and when negotiating your way in a dark campsite or while walking to a secluded spot to look a the stars.
Camping sleeping bag
This item requires a slightly bigger investment but it is one of the most useful things for camping lovers. Children sleeping bags abound on the market but many are unsuitable for outdoor pursuits and are better described as slumber bags for sleepover at a friend’s or granny’s.
A good quality child sleeping bag will keep them warm and protected and it is something that will accompany them for years; just make sure you pick one in synthetic fabric to minimise the risk of it betting wet and therefore unusable.
Older kids may be ready for the ultimate gadget: a Swiss knife! They come in all shapes, sizes and price range and depending on the kid in question you can go as low or as high tech as you want. Entry level Swiss knives exist and are a good choice for young kids since they have blunt blades that allow reasonable safe fun.
A survival bracelet is one of the most fun gifts for outdoorsy kids. it doesn’t cost much, they can carry it on all their adventures and it makes them feel really ‘geared up’, which at least in the case of my kids means they tend to last on outdoor adventures a little longer.
Entomologists in the making may love a bug set.
Many adults (me, for instance!) find bugs unsettling but kids tend to love them and encouraging them to observe them and not be pointlessly afraid is important.
A bug set can be a good present for kids and adults: the kids can look at the bugs without hurting them and since the bud house is enclosed, parents don’t have to touch crawlers unless they really want to.
Just make sure you teach your kids how to treat bugs gently and always release them where you found them at the end of your observation session.
If you are buying for a kid who loves hiking, a camel backpack can go down a real treat. Staying hydrated on hikes is important and kids tend to love to have their own free access without having to fiddle with bottles. Camel backpacks come in several sizes: make sure you buy one that is appropriate to the age of the child since packs that are too heavy can hurt their backs.
Possibly the simplest of all gifts for outdoorsy kids but a great one nonetheless, a magnifying glass can be great fun. While binoculars will allow kids to spot faraway things, a magnifying glass can get them close to earth and allow them to learn about leaves, bark, flowers and bugs.
Magnifying glasses often come as part of a small toy set and are a nice first gadget for young kids
I couldn’t end this list without mentioning books. They can be gifted on their own but in the case of an active child I find having them as a complement to an object works best. Some ideas are Birds nest and eggs or similar take along guides, local hiking guides (for older kids) and our favourite book of all, The Forest School that rather than children is aimed at parents and is packed with ideas on how to engage kids in fun and educational outdoor adventures.
I hope you enjoyed our selection of gifts for outdoorsy kids. Do you have an outdoorsy child in you life?