Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Kids

November 27, 2017

Gift Guide, outdoorfamily

Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsThe holiday’s are quickly approaching, which inevitably means the family will start asking for your kid’s wish lists. If you have an nature loving kiddo to buy for, this is your go-to guide! My son is an outdoor fanatic and loves everything that relates to the outdoors from gear, to toys and even art supplies that can be used outside. Here are some of his (and our) favorite holiday gift ideas for outdoor kids.

Camelbak Water Backpack

Camelbak Water Backpack - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsThe Mini M.U.L.E Backpack is one of my son’s favorite possessions. He loves to use it, wear it and show it off. He thinks it’s pretty awesome how when he wears it he looks like the grown up hikers he sees on the trails. The Mini M.U.L.E. has a zipper pocket for little accessories and an organizer pocket between the water reservoir and the zipper pocket to store sweaters or other belongings. It also has a built in whistle for emergencies, that you can also easily keep secret from whistle wild children. If this model is above your price range, Camelbak also has a cheaper backpack, the Skeeter model that holds the same amount of water, but doesn’t have extra storage for things like binoculars.

Black Diamond Hiking Poles

Black Diamond First Strike Hiking Poles - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsI would have never thought to buy these hiking poles for my son except that walking sticks were a recommended item for hiking the Narrows in Zion. I knew he would need something lightweight to be able to carry for long periods of time (or in case I had to carry them!), so I bought these. They are amazing. My son uses them every time we hike on any hills and says it makes him go ‘superfast’. I think it actually does..because I’m usually trailing far behind! The set comes with two poles, but for the most part he uses one and I use the other. Win win!

Keen Water Shoes

Keen Water Shoes - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsWater shoes are a kids best friend, especially when you live in Southern California. Even if you aren’t lucky enough to live in year round warm temperatures, Keen sandals are a great buy for spring/summer/fall hiking with kids. They are rough and rugged enough for loose dirt and varied terrain hikes, don’t scuff up floors inside the house and dry quickly when little feet pop into water (on purpose or accidentally!).

Pocket Naturalist Guides

Pocket Naturalist Guides - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsMy son LOVES these foldable pocket guides. From animal tracks, the weather, geology to edible wild plants there are so many to choose from to keep your little ones occupied while out in the wilderness. Inevitably at every national park we go to my son ends up with another one, often specifically focused on that region of the US. How can you say no when your child wants to buy something super educational?! These are great to take out on hikes or even to have in the car (the weather one is great for the car). The guides are laminated to endure the abuse of kids, but can also be marked on with dry erase markers making nature explorations even more interactive.

Pocket Knife

Gift Guide for Outdoor FamiliesIs your kid obsessing over a pocket knife? Mine was for ages and he finally got gifted one for his birthday. He is in love! The Opinel, a common fixture in French families is the perfect starter knife for kids. It’s sharp, but does not have a pointed end making it a little safer for smaller hands. Additionally, it has an easy locking mechanism to make sure it doesn’t flip open or closed when least expected. This is a perfect buy for the outdoor kid – big or small! The grown up version is also a great stocking stuffer to be used in your outdoor family picnic basket!

If your kid has moved on a bit from the Opinel, a great option for whittling or carving is the Morakniv. This one is a favorite with the outdoor enthusiasts. It is sharp, so make sure your little one knows this in advance! They will love the grown-up feel of this knife with it’s sheath covering.

Walkie Talkies

Uniden Walkie Talkies - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsEvery outdoor (and indoor) kid loves walkie talkies. After testing out several different types made specifically for kids that didn’t hold up, we found our way to these Uniden 16-mile 22 channel walkie talkies. I don’t think we have ever gotten the advertised 16 miles of distance with these, or even a mile to be honest, but the big positive is that when you are in range, the voices come through super clear which cannot be said for most of the kid versions. In addition to just being fun, these walkie talkies have come in super handy while visiting national parks where phone service is non-existent. We have also gotten great use of them at the beach when one half of the family is off exploring and we want to get the other half to join us. Fun, functional and useful, what more can you ask for!


Gift Guide for Outdoor FamiliesWe have finally found a hammock that we love as a family! I have to say, it’s not totally a kid gift, but mine is obsessed with ours and I am too! We have the Serac Double Hammock that works perfect for all of us to pile into or just for me (or my son!). The material is so light and soft, but amazingly durable. And.. for me, the novice, it’s super easy to set up with everything included in the tiny little package that it comes in! This is a fun gift for the whole family! They have a ton of different options over on their website, so head over to see what is best for your family.

Solar Lantern

Solar Lantern - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsMy kid might just be weird, but he loves his Luci Inflatable Solar Lantern. It’s a huge hit – one version can change colors like a disco ball, which the kids love. They can be hung in a tent as a lantern or carried around. He loves the idea that the sun is where it gets it’s power. It’s a pretty popular addition to our outdoor equipment, so much so that he even uses it as a night light when he remembers to set it out to charge in the window. And they pack so small, that you can take them everywhere!

Sleeping Bag

Gift Guide for Outdoor FamiliesThis is one item that it’s worth spending the extra cash on! We tried the “kids” sleeping bags, but my son never took to them. However, as soon as he tried his REI Co-Op Lumen Sleeping Bag, he was hooked! This sleeping bag is super soft and lightweight, while also keeping him toasty even on a 27 degree night!

However, if all you need is something for sleepovers, the Wenzel Moose Sleeping Bag is great. If you are in colder climates or want one to grow with your younger kids, the Kelty Woobie is also an economical option.

Outdoor Toys & Accessories

Outdoor Toys & Accessories - Gift guide for outdoor kidsI’m putting these all together as there are just too many to list out. All of these items are small toys and accessories that would make great stocking stuffers. My son uses at least one of these items on every outdoor adventure we take, in the backyard and to store some of his finds! Without further ado, his favorites are:


BlueCabi Binoculars - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsFor most binoculars, they would need to be listed in the toy section above, however I am not going to recommend any of those. We have a ton and none of them work with any real efficiency. The BlueCabi brand of binoculars are different. They are made for kids, but provide real magnification using glass, not plastic. They come with a 2 year warranty if that tells you anything! If you have a bird enthusiast or explorer to buy for, these are a great option.


Gift Guide for Outdoor FamiliesWith so many adults taking photos from their phones these days, children are exposed to the art of photography from a much younger age. Photography is a great way for kids to explore their surroundings and for us as adults to get insight in how they see the world around them. For the super young kids, we had good luck with this VTech Kids Camera. As our son has gotten older and more into photography, we have looked at other options for him. My son bought himself the Nikon Coolpix, which is waterproof and quite rugged. He has wagged this camera everywhere for the last several months taking videos and photos of everything! He loves this little camera bag to wear his camera around and to keep it safe. Another waterproof option for kids is the Fuji FinePix camera which also takes high quality photos in or out of the water.

Magazine Subscriptions

Kids Magazine Subscriptions - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsWhen I was growing up I only knew about Highlights. Now there are so many amazing magazine subscription options for kids, especially outdoor loving kids. National Geographic Kids is a gift that keeps on giving. My son LOVES getting the mail each day with the hopes that one of his favorite magazines will be there. Another great option for nature loving kids is Ranger Rick or Ranger Rick Jr. I asked my son which he prefers – NatGeo or Ranger Rick and he said both! So there you go, get them both!

Nature Books

Books for kids - Gift Guide for Outdoor KidsBooks are always a hit with kids. One of our favorite outdoor themed books is The Kids Outdoor Adventure book which lists out 448 things kids should do in nature before they grow up. It’s a great book for grown-ups as well in that it helps remind you of nature activities you can do with kids inside or outside! For a beautiful look at nature, check out one of our favorites, The Nature Anatomy. For fun every day reading, check out some of Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library books that explore space, butterflies, baby animals, the rainforest and so much more. These are consistently in the reading pile at night. For my son’s birthday he was gifted this really great book – Hello Nature – Draw, Color, Make & Grow.


Outdoor themed games - Gift guide for outdoor kidsThis isn’t something to do outdoors necessarily, but for nature loving kids (and families) the Camp Board Game is an awesome game for family game nights. Think Trivial Pursuit with a (US) nature focus. They also have a great travel edition which is easy to take anywhere. Kids will LOVE using the included decoder to find out the correct answers. Spot It “Gone Camping” card game is also a fun outdoors themed game that is good on the go. For older kids, check out this awesome National Parks edition of Monopoly! This is already wrapped and under our Christmas tree! I have been waiting years for him to be old enough to enjoy it.

Art Outdoors

Gift Guide for Outdoor FamiliesOur son loves to produce art – of any kind. He loves making art with found items in nature as well as drawing and recreating the landscapes he sees. One of his favorite on the go kits is the Sakura Watercolor set. It’s meant for grown ups, but is great for little artists on the go.  This Nature Kaleidoscope Kit is also a super hit that can be refilled over and over with items found in nature. This year he has gotten super into this book – Botanical Line Drawing, to really hone in on his nature drawing skills.

Anything we missed that your outdoor kids love? Please let us know, I’m sure my son would love to put it on his list for this year!

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Gift Guide for Outdoor Kids

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14 Responses to “Holiday Gift Guide for Outdoor Kids”

  1. Tarah Says:

    Good suggestions! Thank you!


  2. Natasha Amar Says:

    Such great ideas- I would have loved these as a kid!
    Natasha Amar recently posted…Top Things to Do in Mykonos for Two DaysMy Profile


  3. Stefan Says:

    Kiddie friendly cameras are a SUPER idea. I made the mistake of giving my old bridge camera to my nephew and it didn’t get very far. My own silly fault as it’s a bit too complicated anyway. I like the water proofness of these ones as well.
    Stefan recently posted…Simple recipe for vegetarian Pad Thai fried noodlesMy Profile


  4. Nancy Says:

    Excellent list! As a parent, I have purchased some of the items – Keen water shoes, waterproof camera, walkie talkies, and hiking poles. I think my kids would love the solar lantern – thank you for the cool idea!
    Nancy recently posted…Fairmont Pacific Rim Gold Floor ReviewMy Profile


  5. Megan | Traveling Nine to Fiver Says:

    Some good tips that are both practical and fun! Sure the kids will love them.
    Megan | Traveling Nine to Fiver recently posted…My Favorite Black Friday Weekend SalesMy Profile


  6. Economical Excursionists Says:

    Living in Germany, the Nordic Walking poles are HUGE here. EVERYONE loves and uses them. I used to make fun of them, but now I kinda want some myself!!!!
    Economical Excursionists recently posted…How to Do Christmas Markets in Germany RIGHTMy Profile


  7. Meg Jerrard Says:

    Fabulous list for outdoor kids – I usually get my nephews the not for adults lonely planet books because they’re such a fabulous find – really inspires wanderlust and educates them about the world. But totally there with you on the walkie talkies – I think that’s a universally good choice for any kind of kid. I remember such good times with ours way back when!!
    Meg Jerrard recently posted…3 World Beating Wildlife BreaksMy Profile


  8. Mar Says:

    Magnifier bug viewer that sounds so cool! and the walkie talkies, I think even an adult would love to feel like a boy scout again 🙂
    Mar recently posted…Guide to the Best Luxury Resorts in Koh SamuiMy Profile


  9. Jenna Says:

    Great list of recommendations! I love the Camelbak suggestion–lots of great ideas for my nieces and nephews for Christmas. I think my niece would really love the Sakura Watercolor set!
    Jenna recently posted…Holiday Gift Ideas for TravelersMy Profile


  10. Dariece Says:

    Awesome list for kids that love spending time outside! I absolutely adore the idea of those little cameras and walkie talkies.
    Dariece recently posted…9 Awesome Gadgets That We Are Super Stoked AboutMy Profile


  11. Lisa Schofield Says:

    I am a frequent flyer and I do go travelling a lot. Yet recently, I usually take my daughter with me. We both love nature and being a part of nature. In deed, in this early Jan 2017, we plan to take a trip to enjoy the atmostphere when the spring comes. We both love fashionable backpack in pink. Any good recommendation on this?
    Thank you for sharing these info and please keep it up.


  12. Ashley Says:

    Absolutely the kids will love them! My son would love to get walkie talkies. Thanks for sharing this great idea!
    Ashley recently posted…Best Kayak For Kids in 2018 – Which Is Fit for Your Young One?My Profile


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