There are no smartphones, video games, or other ways to sneak screens to kids on this list. What you'll find are our favorite gift ideas for kids who love nature and the outdoors— or whose parents hope to inspire them to be young naturalists.
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! Note that we have purchased (with our own money) each of these items for our own children, which is why we feel good about sharing them with you!
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
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.
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".
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.
Help your child take their birding skills to the next level with this powerful, waterproof spotting scope. Variable 20x to 60x magnification and fully multi-coated 80mm green film objective lens provides a field of view at 82.9-48ft/1000yards. The quality BAK4 Porro prism optics increases light transmission and make your view brighter, clearer and delivers crisp images.
Nature is full of sights, sounds, and textures to fascinate toddlers and engage their growing minds. Encourage them to discover the world around them with this book of hands-on nature activities. From Rainy Day Puddle Stomping to Rock Stacking and Creating a Bird Feeding Station, your little one will practice key skills as they build a love of the great outdoors!
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.
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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