Outdoorsy kids don’t mind getting their hands dirty. They’ll play in the mud, study worms, and notice the little fascinating things that are often invisible to us grown-ups. So what do you buy a kid that’s happy to play with dirt? We try to answer that here with our list of the top 100 gifts for outdoorsy kids!
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THE BEST GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
We searched high and low to bring you 100 ideas for gifts for outdoorsy kids and hope you find that perfect item for your wild child! Browse the full list, or click through to the following categories:
BEST EXPLORER GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
Give them the tools they need to take their amazing curiosity to the next level! These are great gifts for outdoorsy kids who love their nature collection and take a million years to get through a hike because they are busy inspecting every rock they can find with a magnifying glass.
Recommended by wildlife naturalists and birders, Living Squad Kids Binoculars look like a toy but come with serious optics. We got these for JJ’s 6th birthday and he brings them on every hike. If you find binocular specs a bit overwhelming, I have a whole post on how to sort through kids’ binoculars options.
Kids like to mimic their parents, and ours see us taking way too many photos all the time! We gave the boys their own digital cameras to document our trips and outings from their own perspectives. It’s also helpful to have them document cool finds while explaining the “leave it better than you found it” principle.
A real compass belongs in every adventurer’s pack. Whether introducing orienteering and geocaching or just wanting them to know how to find their way back home, kids are always excited to have some “real” tools like this in their toolkit.
ROCK TUMBLER KIT
This little rock tumbler kit can quickly turn into an addictive hobby. Rock polishers make it fun and easy to turn rough and dirty rocks into polished gemstones. If you have a little one who likes to collect pretty rocks on your walks, this could be a perfect gift.
I was surprised when JJ got a duck call from a buddy on his 6th birthday, but this kid LOVES it. Now that he understands that he should only use it on the trails, I think it’s a lot of fun too! This is one of those simple little gifts that outdoorsy kids adore.
Do you have a curious kid who’s always wondering how things work? Get them some real scientific tools to encourage them to investigate the world around them. Everything looks pretty cool under a microscope, even something as simple as a drop of water.
Deuter makes fun and simple daypacks for kids. They have a snap enclosure in front so they don’t slide off when kids run, hold plenty of snacks and nature collection objects, and come in some pretty cute designs to boot.
There’s nothing better than a night of family stargazing. Encourage your little ones’ wonder with a telescope to help them get a closer look at the moon and stars. These are also great to bring on your next family camping trip.
NATURE COLLECTION BAGS
Have I mentioned that my kids like to collect things?? These multi-use mesh bags are perfect for collecting shells, seaweed, and other objects on the beach.
When it comes to outdoorsy kids, sometimes simple classic gifts are best. Bug can spend hours outside with a bucket, dirt, and some water. As a bonus, these collapsible buckets make clean-up time and storage easy.
GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS THAT INSPIRE CREATIVE PLAY
There are few things more magical than watching a child create their own little worlds of make-believe. Three-year-old Bug can play with a bucket and some sand and dirt all day, while JJ loves his costumes and forts. The following are gifts for outdoorsy kids that can transform your yard into a child’s wonderland.
Do you have a little one who loves making mud pies? A mud kitchen is a great addition to any outdoor play space. The options for imaginative play are endless.
DETACHABLE HANGING NEST / SWING
This super cool combination of treehouse, nest, and swing will be everyone’s favorite backyard spot. If we had a tree large enough, I’d get it for myself as a book nook!
The boys always appreciate a new pack of sidewalk chalk. This Crayola set comes with glitter, tie-dye, and neon chalk options!
SAND BAKING SET
Use this sand baking set in your mud kitchen or at the beach. Hopefully, this will be one time they don’t ask to lick the spoon!
Keep cool in the backyard while playing for hours with a water table. Water tables make wonderful sensory play prompts for young kids. Ours regularly becomes a mud table because Bug loves mixing things, but luckily they are also easy to clean!
Our costume box is on its last legs from overuse. Many think of dress up as an indoor play activity, but there’s no reason not to bring the costumes outdoors as well. Winged costumes like butterflies and eagles are always fun.
Bring everything you need to build a fort with you wherever you go with the Tote-a-Fort. The set includes washable blankets and several ways to attach and anchor them.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC DIG KIT
Leave it to National Geographic to make these captivating dig kits, where kids can imagine themselves as geologists and paleontologists. The patience required was a bit beyond my boys’ ages (3 and 6), but it’s great for the upper elementary ages.
Introduce painting en plein air and give yourself a bit of a break on cleaning up art messes with this outdoor easel. Creative inspiration is everywhere outside.
ROCK PAINTING KIT
Painted rocks made us all smile at the start of the pandemic. We did our best to color found rocks with melted crayon, but the process would have gone much smoother with this kit! Leave a message to make your neighbors smile or just let the kids add their own mark to the yard.
BACKYARD ADVENTURE GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
While we love getting on the road or out to our nearby regional parks, we still spend plenty of outdoor time at home. These gifts for outdoorsy kids can transform your backyard into an exciting adventure. There’s nothing like a climbing gym or an obstacle set to make honing their balance and coordination feel like fun and games.
SLACKLINE AND OBSTACLE COURSE SET
Create your own unique backyard playground with a slackline and obstacle course set. This set includes a slackline that can be attached to trees with 10 different obstacle attachments. Customize your own course based on your child’s age and ability.
Who wouldn’t want their own climbing dome? Our friends are lucky enough to have a backyard big enough for one of these, and when their kiddos aren’t working on their climbing skills, they transform it into their own special fort!
These kid-powered stomp rockets can be launched 200 feet in the air! The boys always enjoy these. There’s also a Stomp Rocket Science Book if your kids want to know the science behind one of their favorite toys.
We love classic toys like these kites from Melissa and Doug! Our neighbors used to run through our cul-de-sac with them in Virginia. We don’t have a lot of tree-less space near our current home, so we take them to a nearby park instead!
ROPE CLIMBER SWING
Did you know that climbing and swinging through the trees can enhance balance, coordination, and imagination? This climbing swing is an easy and fun addition to your backyard trees or playset.
What a way to swing! The swurfer swing allows any child to hop on and soar. If you have kids in different stages, little ones can use it as a traditional swing while older kids can have a more exciting ride.
SKATEBOARD AND RAMP SET
Our friends recently purchased a ramp set for their 10-year-old, and it’s been pretty impressive to watch his skills grow! Skateboards are another fun way to improve agility and coordination skills without even realizing it.
What’s better than a new pair of inline skates? Inline skates with light-up wheels!
Kids everywhere scoot around their neighborhood sidewalks. This razor scooter comes in 8 different colors and will hardly take up any room in the garage.
If you’re looking for something original, bring their favorite playground equipment home with your own backyard zipline. There are so many ways to customize your outdoor play space for endless hours of outdoor fun at home.
BEST CAMPING GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
The following are gifts for the outdoorsy kid who is counting down the days until his or her next campout. Having some real camping tools gives older kids a feeling of ownership and grown-up adventure. Toy camping kits and plush campfires help younger children remember the fun of camping and develop excitement about their next trip.
John and I got a double camping hammock for our wedding, and it’s everyone’s favorite thing to unpack at a camping site. The boys are always wanting a turn to themselves. Having a hammock of their own would be a huge treat!
SWISS ARMY KNIFE
For an outdoorsy kid, receiving a gift like this Swiss Army Multi-Tool is somewhat of a rite of passage. Learning to be responsible with grown of tools is an important part of growing up in the great outdoors.
Before every camping season begins, we do a little gear restocking. The boys were over the moon when they got new camping sleeping bags last spring. New equipment is a great signal for the start of the camping season, which is always exciting in and of itself.
For some reason, headlamps and flashlights never seem to get old as a fun little gift. I think this bear headlamp is hilarious, and will certainly be joining us this camping season!
A little entertainment never hurts a family camping trip. Gifting travel games like this portable cornhole set means fun for everyone at your next campsite.
TOY CAMP SET
A toy camp set is a perfect gift for little ones who love camping or are about to go on their first big campout. Pretend play will help them get ready for their next adventure in the great outdoors.
Walkie-talkies are a great gift for outdoor games with friends or when extending a bit more freedom from home (or the family campsite).
One way to keep your happy camper hydrated is with a fun new water bottle. This little canteen definitely looks ready for a camping trip.
PLUSH CAMPFIRE SET
A plush campfire set is a great gift to help your preschooler get ready for their first camp out or to relive the memories after a great trip. Get ready to make s’mores all year round.
What goes better with camping than fishing?? Buy them their first fishing pole and get ready for a lifetime of memories.
BOOK GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
Once a bookworm, always a bookworm. As a kid, I actually got in trouble for not being able to put Nancy Drew down on the road to Hana, so it’s no surprise that my own kids get a book for pretty much every celebration. Whether for a birthday or the start of a road trip, these book gifts for outdoorsy kids can be special on any occasion.
THE BACKPACK EXPLORER SERIES
JJ absolutely adores the Backpack Explorer series and brings one on almost every hike and walk. They come with nature-themed activities and badges that you can earn for each nature encounter. On the Nature Trail has made any boredom with our hikes disappear. We brought Bird Watch with us to a falconry experience, and the owner wanted a copy! Bug has asked for Beach Walk for his next birthday.
STICK BOOK: LOADS OF THINGS YOU CAN MAKE OR DO WITH A STICK
The name says it all with this one! Can you think of 70 things to make or do with a stick? From wild weaving to a DIY sundial, this book is designed to inspire creativity and open up the world of imagination.
50 THINGS TO DO BEFORE YOU’RE 11 3/4: AN OUTDOOR ADVENTURE HANDBOOK
This fun-filled guide is full of ideas to help kids discover the great outdoors and connect with nature. This pocket-size book is the bound-form of the National Trust’s PDF and includes plenty of space to double as a nature journal. A perfect gift for outdoorsy kids that are turning double digits.
THE BACKYARD BUG BOOK FOR KIDS
The Backyard Bug Book for Kids has an easy-to-follow story for preschoolers and also has insect facts and activities. It makes for a wonderful preschool unit anchor for little ones who like to search for insect friends in the backyard.
Listen, Listen is one of my favorite stories to read the boys about the changing seasons. I love its use of onomatopoeia to bring the seasons to life through sound. The boys love the “find it” pages at the end.
OVER AND UNDER THE POND
Over and Under the Pond offers an engaging and educational look at the ecosystem of a local pond. The easy-to-follow story is great for younger elementary age, but older nature lovers love it too! This book is part of a series that includes some other favorites: Up in the Garden, Down in the Dirt, and Over and Under the Snow.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC JUNIOR RANGER ACTIVITY BOOK
The Junior Ranger Activity Book uses games, trivia, jokes, fun facts, and more to help children discover all 59 National Parks. A great gift for any outdoorsy kid who loves their Junior Ranger badges!
FOLLOW THAT MAP!
It’s never too early to teach your outdoorsy little one how to follow a map. Follow That Map uses an engaging search and find approach to teach mapping skills to inspire children to explore both every day and far away places.
GARDENING LAB FOR KIDS: 52 FUN EXPERIMENTS TO LEARN, GROW, HARVEST, MAKE, PLAY, AND ENJOY YOUR GARDEN
My boys took to gardening faster than I did. I love that this book is full of kid-friendly ideas for making the garden their own. The 52 experiments are set into weekly lessons that introduce topics from botany and ecology to the seasons and cooking.
THE KEEPER OF WILD WORDS
This is a sweet story about a grandmother and granddaughter exploring and cherishing the natural world together. I love the idea of a quest to save important words by saving the things they represent in the world.
GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS WHO GARDEN
JJ has become quite the gardener this year! Our home garden is still a bit hit or miss, but he loves to help at the community garden. Especially when helping means using real gardening tools. And both boys could easily water all day long. The following are gifts for outdoorsy kids who love to get their hands dirty outside in the garden.
GARDEN TOOLS SET
Get your little gardener their own set of tools! I like that this set comes with gloves and a sun hat. They’ll be a pro in no time.
EVEN MORE GARDEN TOOLS
If they already have a basic garden toolset, expand their collection with this set that includes a rake, hoe, spade, and leaf rake.
POLLINATOR GARDEN GROWING KIT
The clever packaging on this honey bee habitat kit makes it perfect for gift giving. This honey bee habitat features wildflower seeds, starter soil, growing instructions, and a bee gardening booklet.
COMPOST STUDY KIT
We bought this little compost container when we decided to try composting in our backyard garden. The different compartments with magnified lenses are perfect for kid-friendly experiments and help them understand the amount of time it takes different objects to break down.
HYDROPONICS KIT & GARDENING JOURNAL
The concept of growing a garden without dirt is head-scratching, to say the least! The whole family can benefit from learning about the science behind hydroponics. Discover how root systems work and help them grow their own plants using nothing but seeds and water with this hydroponics kit.
SPROUT AND GROW WINDOW
Budding botanists will love watching their plants grow with this transparent planter that allows you to see what’s happening beneath the soil. This kit includes everything you need to get started, including easy-to-grow bean and pea seeds, enriched soil, instructions and activities, and a journal to help keep track of it all.
PRESSED FLOWER ART
What to do with those flowers that are starting to fade? Consider preserving the blooms that your little one worked so hard to cultivate with this flower press. Turn your favorite flowers into cards, bookmarks, trinket boxes, and more.
Watering plants is Bug’s favorite garden activity by far! I love this watering can from one of our favorite brands, Green Toys. It’s made from 100% recycled plastic milk jugs.
BEE HOUSE BUILDING KIT
Keep your garden pollinator-friendly with this bee house kit. Teach your outdoorsy kids to care for and appreciate bees while having fun with this creative project.
BUILD A BIRD BUNGALOW
Making your own birdhouse is a fun activity that can live in your garden for years to come. We moved several times on our way to our current home and brought our little painted birdhouse with us to each stop along the way. It’s become a symbol of home, and the kids love watching the birds in our garden.
CLOTHING & ACCESSORY GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
The right graphic t-shirt or accessory are gifts that are both practical and fun. Oaki’s rain suits mean a green light to a day of playing in the mud, and my boys loved getting some super cool sunglasses at the start of our road trip to Death Valley. The promise of staying comfortable in the great outdoors makes these items great gifts for outdoorsy kids.
For some reason, our family always gives socks at Christmas. I’m not sure if it’s just us, or if others have a similar tradition, but a fun pair of socks makes a great accessory gift. Get a comfortable pair of hiking socks to keep their feet happy on the trails.
Beanies come in so many fun colors and patterns that you are sure to find the perfect one to gift. JJ certainly has a collection of dinosaur hats that he loves.
OAKI RAIN AND TRAIL SUIT
Give the gift of mud puddle fun! Oaki Rain Suits are beloved by parents of outdoorsy kids, allowing them to stay warm and dry while they have the time of their lives on a rainy day.
Rain Boots are necessary gear for rainy day play. Brands like Oaki make high-quality boots in all kinds of colors and patterns. They are sure to be well-loved by outdoorsy kids everywhere.
On the flip side, a great pair of water sandals can be a child’s favorite pair of summer shoes. Think splashing in creeks, streams, and lakeside all summer long. Brands like Keen make great waterproof hiking sandals to suit all personalities, like these glittery purple Moxies! See our guide to hiking shoes, boots, and sandals for more suggestions.
One of our favorite road trip helpers is getting the boys a little surprise that they can open every 50 miles. Sunglasses are a big hit when setting the tone for a fun trip somewhere warm and sunny.
Another gift idea for kicking off a trip to somewhere warm and sunny are these sun hats by Sunday Afternoons. They are great for keeping kids cool and protected on a hot day and come in lots of colors and styles.
JJ picked this one for the list. This safari vest is technically a costume, but it has enough pockets to be both fun and useful while camping or on a long hike.
While not every kid will want to get clothes for a gift, it’s always fun to come across the perfect graphic t-shirt to fit their personality (or even if you’re overly theme-y like me).
My boys were each given a pair of fingerless gloves last fall, and they received a ton of love all winter long! I love pairs like these that have a mitten cover to keep fingertips warm when you don’t need to use them.
GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS WHO LOVE ANIMALS
Thanks to the Wild Kratts, our boys are in love with wildlife. From a honeybee to a peregrine falcon, there are few creatures that they are not excited to imagine encountering in the wild. Consider one of the following gifts for outdoorsy kids who love animals, and continue building their appreciation for their favorite furry (or feathery or scaly) friends.
Bugnoculars are such a great idea for examining backyard insects and worms! The container has 3X magnification eyepieces and additional 2X magnification lenses on the sides. A great tool for exploring the world and keeping kids curious.
SYMBOLIC ANIMAL ADOPTION
Introduce conservation and support the World Wildlife Fund’s global efforts to protect wild animals and their habitats with a symbolic animal adoption. Your gift comes with a 9″ plush of your selected species, an adoption certificate, a species card, and a photo.
WILD REPUBLIC PLUSH STUFFIES
Anyone else out there have a kid who wanted a stuffed squid for Christmas?? Thank goodness for the Wild Republic, which makes stuffed animals that go far beyond the traditional teddy bear. From Audubon birds to stuffed snakes, you’re sure to find your child’s favorite among the menagerie.
Budding entomologists will spend hours observing ants at work in ant habitats they create themselves.
GUEESS IN 10 GAME
JJ got this animal trivia game for his 6th birthday, and the boys are hooked. You can play it anytime and anywhere. We love that it’s a great way to pass the time on the road.
NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC LEGO SET
We’re loving these LEGO Friends sets designed in support of National Geographic Explorers who work to protect endangered species.
WILD KRATT COSTUMES
Wild Kratts fans can now dress up for their next creature adventure with these costume creature power suits. Place their favorite creature power discs in the center of the vest and get ready to activate their imaginations.
ANIMAL DRAWING BOOK
As any nature journaler will tell you, one of the best ways to get to know an animal’s characteristics is to study them for a drawing. Observational drawing forces you to focus on the details and makes those details memorable. Get them started on this lifelong skill with a drawing book that teaches kids how to sketch basic animal shapes. The faster you can do this, the faster you can move on to those all-important details.
ABOUT BUGS KIT
PLUSH TREEHOUSE WITH WOODLAND CREATURES
A great gift for preschoolers, this soft and sturdy tree carrier holds 5 cuddly woodland animal friends. The boys got this as a gift from Grandma during our first Yosemite visit and have treasured it ever since.
FUN AND GAMES GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS
Sometimes kids just need to get outside and play. These games and sports make great gifts for outdoorsy kids and will keep them outside with friends for hours. They also are good ideas for an active family game night.
FLYBAR POGO BALL
The Flybar Pogo Ball combines a balance board with a pogo stick, and jump ball. Stop them from bouncing off the living room walls with this crazy jumper. Replacement bounce balls will be shipped free of charge, so the fun never ends.
CAPTURE THE FLAG, GLOW IN THE DARK
Put down the phone and head outside with this game that makes players run, hide, and chase each other to win. Glow in the Dark Capture the Flag can be played anywhere with space to run.
BEAN BAG BUCKETZ
Bean Bag Bucketz is one of those simple but addicting games that’s fun for the whole family. Simply throw the bean bags and ping pong balls into the buckets and score points!
HOVER SOCCER BALL
This hover ball glides over hard surfaces like a patio floor. With multi-color LED lights, the game can continue into the evening hours.
Spikeball is a great game for the backyard, park, or beach. It’s simple but fun, especially for older kids who enjoy competition.
This kid-friendly game of Giant Jenga stacks up to over 4 feet high! It’s fun for the whole family to play and watch.
FIND AND SEEK SCAVENGER HUNT
Another easy but addictive game, you can keep Ladder Ball set up in the yard or easily bring it to your next vacation rental or campsite.
A GOOD OLD FRISBEE SET
There are tons of innovative games kids can play these days, but the good old frisbee still holds its own. If you have kids who enjoy heading to the park or beach to play, they’ll no doubt love to pick up this classic game.
GIANT BUBBLE WAND
I can’t end a list of gifts for outdoorsy kids without at least one bubble toy. Giant bubble wands are fun for all ages, not just the little ones. Though they’ll love it too, of course!
BEST GIFTS FOR OUTDOORSY KIDS WHO LOVE THE WATER
With summer on the horizon, I have a hard time thinking of anything but gifts for the pool or the lake. There are simply endless options out there to make time on or in the water exciting. Whether an accessory gift like a new pair of goggles to celebrate the start of summer fun or a big-ticket item like your own island hopper, imagining how these water gifts for outdoorsy kids will be used is half the fun.
After many summers of floating along with mom and dad, it could be time to get them their own kayak. Open and designed for easy carrying, this lightweight kayak makes an ideal first watercraft.
For outdoorsy kids who enjoy spending a lot of time on the river, this catch and release net features a soft, clear net that’s gentle on fish and won’t tangle, rot, or mildew. The design is meant to virtually disappear underwater.
For a water baby that loves to spend time in lakes and the ocean, give them a snorkel set. These discovery tools will open up the world under the water’s surface.
Nothing better than water play on a hot summer day! These squirt toys will keep the kids running and laughing all summer long.
POOL OR LAKE FLOAT
There are so many fun pool and lake floats to choose from these days! I know my kiddos would love to open up one of these dinosaur floats to kick off summer fun.
The VanTop Junior is a great action camera for outdoorsy kids. Take it underwater or mount it on a helmet to capture all of their favorite outdoor memories.
INFLATABLE WATER SLIDE
I love how slip and slides have graduated onto full-on inflatable water slides. This 15-foot long inflatable shark slide is sure to be a big hit with outdoorsy kids.
Swim rings are so much fun while also helping to improve important swimming skills. These have adjustable air chambers which change underwater depth and are collapsible for easy storage.
STAND UP PADDLE BOARD
This inflatable stand-up paddleboard is designed for kids. It has the stability beginners need and triple bottom panel fins for better speed and easier handling and steering.
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a lake or other large swim area, this Lake Island Hopper is the gift that keeps giving. Surprise the kiddos with hours of summer fun and enjoy countless lakeside memories.