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Outdoor Gifts for the Whole Family

I don’t know about you, but I love reading gift guides. I love talking about gift-giving, and I love giving gifts. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect gift for my family members. Even though one of the things I love about getting outdoors is that you don't need to spend a lot of money, 'tis the season to buy gifts!

If you’re looking for gifts to inspire outdoor fun for the whole family, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the gifts I’ve been using, eying, or researching for you. Let me know what you think of these items and if you have other other suggestions!


For those who want to keep things simple and avoid accumulating a lot of stuff (that’s me, can I get an AMEN), may I suggest giving the gift of memories in the form of an experience? Here are a few suggestions:

  • National Park Passport

  • Zoo or Aquarium Passes/Membership

  • Audubon Society Membership

  • Skiing Lift Tickets

  • REI classes

  • Ice Skating

  • Sponsor an animal at the zoo or aquarium (and then visit it)

  • Whale Watching Trip

  • Sailing lessons

  • NOLS Course

  • Scuba Certification Class

  • Snow Tubing

  • Ziplining


For Older Children

Rock Polisher- Find rocks along your wikes and then bring them home to polish! No use buying a cheap version of this item, they don't work well. This one has great reviews! Pair with a book about gemstones or a rock field guide, and buy it for your budding geologist.

Microscope- This is a real 1,000x microscope at a terrific price. I haven't used it, but it has great reviews. Let me tell you a secret: if your child wants a microscope, she wants a REAL one. Not a play one. Let the biology fun begin!

Sticklets- These little silicone connector pieces are supposed to make building creative forts out of sticks a snap! I love forts. Someone please buy these and tell me what you think!

National Geographic Kids Subscription- Magazines are the gift that keeps on coming! I love reading these with kids at school. With 10 issues per year for kids ages 6 and up, you can give the gift of nature and reading all year long.

For Young Children

This Beautiful Day- This Beautiful Day is a super sweet picture book that will inspire children to go outside and play regardless of the weather. A beautiful day starts with our attitude. You can read my review of this book on my book review page here.

VTech KidiZoom Camera- There are so many possibilities for outdoor adventure and learning with this awesome camera! You can read my full review of this product and recommendations for outdoor learning activities that involve a camera on a previous post here.

Outdoor Explorer Kit- Comes with magnifying glass, binoculars, compass, flashlight, and a bag to carry it all in. It's truly amazing how much more interested in nature children can become when they are given simple tools like these. Great gift for little hikers or explorers!

Bug Catcher Kit- This kit comes with a collection of tools for catching insects in your own park or yard. There is so much wildlife right around us if we just stop to look. Help open a child's eyes to this diversity with the bug catcher kit. But please... teach them to release the critters!

For Babies

Sled- This toddler sled has great reviews both online and from real live people! We are purchasing it for our little one. Let it snow!

Some Bugs-This super cute board book is a favorite in our house! We love the detailed pictures, sing-song rhyming text, and-- of course-- its outdoor spirit. You can read my review of it on my book review page here.

Thinkbaby Safe Sunscreen- Admittedly, this isn't the most FUN item on the list, but it is a very practical one! I love this product and could always use another tube. It's a great stocking stuffer for your little one! You can read all the details of why I love it so much on my sunscreen post here.

Zutanos Booties- These little booties were recommended to me at least 10 times and it's because they DON'T FALL OFF. It's quite amazing really. We love them. They come in different sizes, colors, and patterns. I recommended them on my post about 6 Must-Do Tips for Dressing Baby for Outdoors, and we are using them daily now that it's getting colder outside again!

For Adults

Classic Nalgene- The wide-mouthed, easy-to-clean classic Nalgene bottle is a favorite in our house. You can't go wrong.

S'well Bottle- I love my stylish S'well bottle, which I received last year for Christmas from my amazing brother and his awesome girlfriend. There are so many styles from which to choose!

Kayak- If you're a go-big-or-go-home type of person, buying your family a kayak is a bold and fun move! We lived on the water growing up and loved taking our kayaks out for a spin on the creek. No link here-- I'll let you do the research, but LL Bean is always a great place to start.

10 Essentials for Backwoods Hiking- Make sure your favorite hiker is prepared for her next outdoor adventure with the ten essentials. Here is a great post about it by a favorite outdoor mama blogger and here's a post she links to regarding the essential 10.

Hiking First Aid Kit- There have been at least two times I wished I had a small first aid kit handy on my wikes. Wiking doesn't involve remote areas, but even on the most trafficked paths, a little first aid kit would come in handy. Here's a waterproof one from REI and another from Amazon.

National Geographic Magazine- I'm always amazed, educated, and inspired by this magazine, BUT it's SO expensive at the grocery store. The subscription is incredibly cheap-- right now $15. Buy one print copy to wrap up with a note that you've subscribed your recipient for the year!

For Parents

Vitamin N- This book by the author of Last Child in the Woods, Richard Louv, who is touted as the inspiration for the new-nature movement, is chock full of ideas to get your whole family outdoors.

There’s No Such Thing as Bad Weather- This uplifting book will bring hope to the sad state of hyper-parenting that tethers so many of us. The author is a mother from Sweden who compares the nature-centric childhood there to the typical American childhood. It's "practical and wise" and a joy to read.

Ergo 360 Baby Carrier- We've used our Ergo 360 multiple times per week since our wike baby was only one month old. Some sort of babycarrier is KEY to outdoor explorations with an infant, and this one has been perfect for us. Baby can snugly face inward, face outward to view the world, or sit on your back. It's adjustable, so it fits both my husband and myself.

BellyFit Jacket Extender- If you know someone who is pregnant this winter or wears a small infant, this is great! I was lucky enough that a friend lent me her maternity jacket, so I never needed this. Cheaper than buying a new enormous jacket (and MUCH more stylish), these inserts zip right into your current jacket to make room for that growing baby bump or new baby in front carrier.

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What gifts are you giving this year to inspire outdoor exploration for the whole family?

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Spend time together with your family and friends exploring and adventuring.



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