Gifts for Young Naturalists

Gifts for Young Naturalists

The holiday season is upon us, which means kids are anxiously awaiting gifts. We’ve put together a list of ideas that will inspire your children to play and explore outside, providing experiences that last a lot longer than the newest trendy toy.

  1. Digital Camera: There are a lot of inexpensive and durable digital cameras on the market now and it’s a great way to get kids to see nature from a new, thoughtful perspective.
  2. Nature and Wildlife Books: These books broaden the world for the reader. They take you on an adventure to new places and introduce new animal and plant species, while evoking imagination, emotion and empathy. Nature and wildlife books, the photographs within them, inspire young people to learn more, see more, and do more. 
  3. Bicycle or balance bike: There’s nothing better than riding a bike, except maybe finding one under the Christmas tree. We recommend shopping at bike, which operates Trips for Kids a non-profit that provides bikes and trips for young people, especially those in needy communities. 
  4. Rock Polisher:Yes, you read that right! Rock polishers are a great way to help your child explore and investigate their surroundings in a new way. It also encourages discussions about geology, science and the environment.
  5. “Adopt” a Sloth: Any animal lover will be thrilled with this thoughtful gift, which includes an adoption certificate, a biography and photograph of your sloth, and a beautiful coffee table book Sloths, Life in the Slow Lane.
  6. Fishing Pole:Fishing is an activity that young and old can enjoy; there are few activities that can keep a 9 year old and a 90 year old both happy!
  7. Binoculars and Field book: This is all it takes to inspire a young bird watcher, and you’re child will be ready for this year’s Christmas Bird Count! A passion for birds facilitates the new hobby of getting out and looking for them; it is an interest that can be nurtured on any clear day.
  8. Mystery Trips: Plan a special event, but keep the destination a secret right up until you arrive. Here are a few ideas to get you started: explore a regional park; visit a nearby landmark; volunteer to walk dogs from a local shelter; tour a local wildlife rescue. Take advantage of where you live; maybe you can go crystal hunting, or watch salmon make their trip upstream to spawn. What makes it fun is the element of surprise and being together.
  9. Outdoor backpack and supplies: This backpack includes several of the items on our list, and it will definitely keep your youngster outside and entertained. 
  10. Roller skates/blades or ice skates: Whether it’s skating on a frozen pond or ice rink, or roller-skating through the park, skates provide tons of outdoor fun – and exercise!
  11. Hiking boots and a Field Guide: Encouraging children to appreciate hiking is a gift in itself. It is a great way to get to know where you live in a new way, exploring new spots and learning what animals inhabit it.
  12. Nature Journal and Colored Pencils: Nature journals are a wonderful way to promote thoughtful observation of the world around us, and it provides a time to practice artistic talents.
  13. Goulashes and Raincoat: Rather than have your children hide inside during the rain, just outfit them appropriately and watch them have a ball jumping in puddles. For youngsters we love these animal print goulashes that are both durable and adorable. For older children, take a look at these paw print goulashes that feature cats and dogs; your proceeds from your purchase of one pair will feed 71 shelter animals! 
  14. Butterfly Habitat: Educational, inexpensive, fun and beautiful! Butterfly habitats allow youngsters to watch the incredible transformation from caterpillar to butterfly. 

  Happy holidays everyone!

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  • Suzi Eszterhas
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