holiday gifts

There are no smartphones, video games or other devices on this list. Here are our favorite gift ideas for kids who love the nature and the outdoors, or whose parents hope to inspire them to love the outdoors and nature. There are so many creative, educational and fun choices out there, we could have easily gone on to 50 or 100! But we wanted to share this before Santa stopped taking orders, or while they can still arrive before the holidays!

 

With the problems of today's world, thank goodness for games that can help your child dream. In Planet, your child will strategize to create a perfect world and ecosystem for your wildlife. This is a unique family strategy game where you create your own world in your hands. Very cool feature is that 3D globes are used as player boards

What could be better than fun family time that helps your kids (and you) learn about animal facts and about the great outdoors. This game is winner of the Dr. Toy 100 best children's products.

Players serve as the reef itself during this game, alternating turns of carefully selecting which colors and patterns in which to grow and expand. The more beautiful the reef, the more points they will score! Reef is suited for players 8 and older. While it could take thousands of years for a coral reef to grow, we expect a game of reef to only take about 30 – 45 minutes.

Your kids can think like a tree in this game as they plant and shape the ever-changing forest, cultivate seeds and strategize. This game has players take their trees through their life-cycle, from seedling to full bloom to rebirth, and earn points as their leaves collect energy from the revolving sun's rays.

In this phenomenal game, you and your child take on the role of researchers, bird watchers, ornithologists, and collectors—all seeking to discover and attract the best birds to your network of wildlife preserves. Each bird extends a chain of powerful combinations in one of your habitats (actions). Great family game for budding ornithologists!

Play on a nature-themed game board to collect Audubon’s most iconic North American species. This game comes with 6 customer pewter pieces, 22 Audubon Property Cards, 4 Seasons Cards, 2 Gear Cards, 16 Field Guide Cards, 16 Birder’s Journal Cards, a packet of money, 32 eggs, 12 nests, 2 dice, and game instructions. Each of the cards comes with unique trivia. Collect the most bird-sightings to win!

Match the male and female pairs of 25 species of birds from around the world in this beautifully illustrated memory game. To play, simply place the cards face down and see if you can remember where the matching bird is located. Collect more pairs than your opponent to win! With all kinds of species – from the barn owl to the blue tit and the ostrich to the macaw.

Written by the Head of the Arboretum at the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, this tree memory game will help kids learn to distinguish their ash from their sassafras. With common UK and US trees included as well as interesting trees from around the world, this fun and educational game is an ideal gift that will appeal to nature lovers everywhere.

Match the upper sides and undersides of the wings of 25 species of butterfly from around the world in this beautifully illustrated matching game. With all kinds of stunning species—from the painted lady to the purple emperor. Includes a mini dossier on each species.

Support the vital work of the World Wildlife Fund with this gorgeous snow leopard puzzle, or choose from many other wild animals.  This snow leopard puzzle is 1,000-piece,  measures 19" x 19" and is crafted from FSC-certified cardboard.

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A great way to learn birds is this 1000-Piece Puzzle. Includes over 100 types of various birds. Box size: 10" x 14" x 2.37". Finished Size: 19.25" x 26.5".

There are many kids' explorer kits available today but we like this kit that comes with binoculars, a fan, magnifying glass, crank flashlight, & 5-in-1 multi-tool. But the best part? It comes with its own case which delights the organized parent!

Jump-start curiosity with this take-along field guide for children ages 4 to 8. From worms, birds, and spiders to trees, flowers, and clouds, young explorers learn what to look and listen for wherever they are — whether in a nature preserve, an urban park, or a suburban backyard.

Seeing a garden come to life even in the winter months is such a great way to get kids interested in gardening. Plus, growing plants indoors taps into our need for "biophilia" or our draw to the natural world, making us happier. This kit includes seeds and instructions as well.

Children will see the natural world around them with brand new eyes, as they learn to follow its signs, hear its language, and understand its secrets. With this unique and compelling book written by expert environmental educator Devin Franklin, kids aged 8 to 13 will build their own relationship with nature through finding a “Sit Spot” and become familiar with the flora and fauna that live there.

We know. Nothing can increase the speed of moving onto the next gift like opening clothing. But your animal lover just might stop to admire this "Future Zoologist" t-shirt.

Introduce your child to archery and hours of fun outdoor play with an archery set designed with safety in mind. This set from Adventure Awaits comes with 20 wood arrows and 2 quivers. It features safe rubber tips.

Walkie talkies are always fun for kids to play outside together. And these Obuby Walkie Talkies are a great design for kids, plus they have 22 Channels and Backlit LCD. Take them out on hikes and camping trips.

Get you kid outside and build their coordination and upper body strength at the same time. This Ninjaline kit from Slackline will turn your backyard into a ninja warrior training ground. Obstacles include: 3-pc 10" nylon rope knots, 2-pc 16" Monkey Bar Holds, 2-pc steel gym Rings, 2-pc Traverse Ninja Ring all with ABS textured finish, w/triangle safety carabiners. Bonus Tree Climbers & Climbing rope provide two fun ways to climb up to the course.

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Headlamps are an excellent way to make camping, fishing, hiking, and nighttime outdoor time even more fun—and safe. These cool headlamps from Shining Buddy are made with the highest quality materials to ensure the best-LED light devices on the market.

A "must" to start your kid on birdwatching (which we hope you will do!) is a good, non-frustrating pair of binoculars. You can spend a small fortune on a good pair or you can start them off with this good quality, economical, sturdy and shockproof binoculars made for little hands.

Give your child the moon and the stars (and planets) with a telescope to start their adventures into outer space. This model from Toyerbee is equipped with high magnification and super large aperture, which provides a clear and bright vision for children and beginners. Comes with a smartphone adapter and wireless remote.

Help your child take their birding skills to the next level with this powerful, waterproof spotting scope. Variable 20x to 60x magnification and 65mm objective lens, dynamic lens focusing system makes it easy to zoom in on subject. Comes with a cell phone adaptor.

Getting your child started with nature journaling is such a delightful and instructive way for them to experience and connect with nature. Whether they use their journal to write down observations, sketch, press flowers or create diagrams, this will be a gift that gives back.

Sure you can be practical and get a bunch of basic no 2 pencils but these wild creature pencils are super cute and make great stocking stuffers for the wildlife-loving child!

Ideal for kids aged 6-12, this book will teach your child how to draw critters from nature they love!  Print version has “draw it here” sections on every page where you can practice and draw your own pattern.

Children who want to explore nature art will enjoy this nature drawing guide that teaches you how to master drawing and watercolor techniques from sketching and shading to washes and blending.

Beloved former U.S. Poet Laureate J. Patrick Lewis curates an exuberant poetic celebration of the natural world that is sure to inspire your child to love nature and poetry in this stellar collection of nature poems.

For an older child, acclaimed illustrator Julia Rothman combines art and science in this exciting and educational guide to the structure, function, and personality of the natural world. Explore the anatomy of a jellyfish, the inside of a volcano, monarch butterfly migration, how sunsets work, and much more.

An absolute "must" for any child's library. Writer Robert Macfarlane and artist Jackie Morris created this “spell book” to conjure back twenty of words lost from the Oxford Junior Dictionary, and the beings they name, from acorn to wren. By the magic of word and paint, they summon these words again into the voices, stories, and dreams of children and adults alike, and to celebrate the wonder and importance of everyday nature. The Lost Words is has begun a grass-roots movement to re-wild childhood across Britain, Europe, and North America.

As the National Museum of Play (New York) pointed out when they selected a stick for inclusion in their National Toy Hall of Fame, 'It can be a Wild West horse, a medieval knight's sword, a boat on a stream, or a slingshot with a rubber band …' Packed with 70 ideas and projects, The Stick Book will give you loads of ideas for using the wonderful, free and all-natural toy: the stick.

A guide to getting outside for girls ages 9-12! In addition to basic outdoor skills, this entertaining guidebook includes easy camping recipes, outdoor projects including science experiments and crafts, fun activity suggestions, and inspiring stories of diverse historical and contemporary outdoorswomen (such as Arunima Sinha, the first amputee woman to summit Mount Everest; Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts; and Libby Riddles, first woman to win the Iditarod).

Author Daniel Carter Beard was a founder of the scouting movement in America and wanted kids to enjoy the out-of-doors as much as he did. In his books, Beard helped preserve invaluable folkways that can instill self-reliance and a deeper appreciation of nature. Written for children in 1882, and valuable for kids or adults today.

Written by survivalist expert Dave Canterbury, Bushcraft 101 gets you ready for your next backcountry trip with advice on making the most of your time outdoors.

A Walk in the Wood: Meditations on Mindfulness with a Bear Named Pooh offers life lessons grounded in the simple act of slowing down, observing what is around us, and being present in our lives moment by moment.

This one comes with a pretty big price tag but how cool would it be to have a new species named after your child or loved one? Typically, the first person to discover the plant or animal gets the honor of naming the species. But for a fee, the general public can name a newfound organism. Two organizations that offer species naming for a donations are Scripps and DLIA.

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Snowy owl, loon, cardinal..pick your child's favorite bird and "adopt" it for your child through Audubon. Each proud parent receives a plush bird that plays a recording of its song when squeezed, as well as an adoption certificate and a personalized letter from Audubon CEO David Yarnold. Bonus: each adoption provides funding for Audubon’s critical science, education, advocacy, and on-the-ground conservation work so you'll be modeling stewardship to your kids.

Got a wolf lover? How about symbolically adopting a wolf for your child to encourage their connection to wildlife and stewardship? With levels starting at $25, the Wolf Conservation Center in New York has a level of support for everyone.

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