As we work our way through holiday gift buying, we’re brainstorming things to get the kids in our lives. The goal is to get them something awesome, and perhaps also get them away from their screens and out-of-doors. Here is the ultimate brainstorming list for outdoor gifts for kids this holiday season and any other time of the year.
Rather than just an extensive list of specific products, we created a list of ideas and themes to help guide you to the perfect gift that’s a unique fit from you to them.
1. Kid Powered Transportation Toys
This might be the most obvious of cool gifts for outdoor kids. How you get from point A to point B is crucial as a kid.
Scooter - There are scooters out there for every age. For the youngest of kids, we prefer a three wheeled scooter with two wheels in the front rather than the back.
Bike - Maybe they need an upgrade? Or their very first bike. Consider balance bikes, bmx bikes, mountain bikes, road bikes and beach cruisers. Tricycles or y-bikes are great for the little ones.
Longboard - The easiest introduction to skateboarding and a fun mode of transportation. We like these.
Skateboard - If you've ever learned to a trick on a skateboard you know how challenging and rewarding it is.
Roller Blades, Roller Skates - For cruising down the sidewalk or around the local park.
Heelys - These puppies came out in 2000 and for 20 years they've been entertaining kids (and adults too).
Plasma Car - Twist, turn and wiggle to make this car go.
Sled - Lots of cool designs out there. We like a simple saucer for most ages. Or for the little ones L.L. Bean has a pretty cool wagon-style.
Scooter Sled - It's exactly what it sounds like. Similar to a snow skate but with a handle to hold on for dear life.
Snow Skate - A skateboard, but for the snow.
2. Add a Motor to It
So they've already got their favorite mode of transportation, now imagine adding a little power. Battery operated toys have come along way as far as power and distance.
Motorized Scooter - They've got the balance down, now take it up a notch.
E-Bike - This is a big ticket item and more of a commitment, but e-bikes are increasing in popularity and decreasing in price.
Electric Longboard - It feels a like like surfing or snowboarding but on asphalt. It would be good to invest in some knee and elbow pads as well.
Hoverboard - Most major retailers carry these now.
Hoverboard attachment that turns your hoverboard into a seated motor scooter.
Electric Ride-On Toy or Power Wheels - They have them in almost any type of vehicle you can think of.
Dirt Bike - For the kids looking to take it up a notch. There are both battery powered and small engine dirt bikes. 49cc's will give a lot of power and a lot more fun. Don't forget the full face helmet.
3. Accessories for things they already love.
If you don't know what to buy a kid who already has everything, try grabbing an accessory or two for their favorite thing.
Bike Accessories - Horn, streamers, lights, a cushy seat cover with a cool design, cargo rack, a basket, pegs, reflective tape, handlebar tape. You could turn this gift into a fun activity to do together.
Electra Bike Baskets - We love these classic designs.
A Cool Helmet - Safety first. Get them a helmet they actually want to wear, there are some awesome ones with dinosaur spikes, their favorite characters, etc.
Trailer or Wagon - They can tow stuff behind their favorite ride-on toy. You could go with something classic like a Radio Flyer Wagon, a small one from Green Toys or a John Deer brand to match the lawn mower. We also found some really epic ones on etsy.
Ramp - Buy a solid plastic one, or build one. Ramps can be super fun kids of all ages. For young kids, consider the ramp goes up with the complementary side for going down as well.
Hockey Stick and Rubber Balls - Do they love to roller blade? Hockey sticks aren't just for ice. Set them up with a roller hockey kit and they'll want to skate all day.
4. Outdoor "Gear" For Hiking & Camping & Survival
Not all gifts need to be toys. Getting awesome gear for hiking and camping are also super cool. Whether you're upgrading something they already have or getting something new all tother, try thinking about your favorite camping accessories and then buy for the kids!
Headlamp - It's getting dark early, a headlamp is fun for camping but also late nights shooting hoops in the back yard, or biking around the neighborhood.
Sleeping bag - Maybe they've been using Dad's old hand-me-down. It's a special treat to have something thats new and uniquely yours, even if it is just for sleeping.
Sleeping bag suit - Have you seen these? They're super fun for hanging out around a campfire and staying warm.
Tent - You could get them a tent for camping, or a tent for playing pretend camping indoors - more like a fort.
Backpack for hiking - A cool backpack to carry their gear.
Fanny Pack - The 80s have made a comeback. Get them a cool fanny pack and stash it with some goodies. A flashlight, water bottle and snacks, perhaps?
Camelback - There's something super cool about drinking your water hands free. Great for hiking, bike rides, exploring the neighborhood, really whatever!
Binoculars - Every little explorer needs a good pair of binoculars.
Pocket Knife - There are appropriate pocket knives for just about every age and they're super cool. Kids feel empowered when they're given the responsibility of something a little dangerous.
Multitool - Maybe even better than a pocket knife, a multi tool to help them work on all their toys and gadgets and change batteries all by themselves.
Knot Tying Kit - Help them learn to tie all kinds of knots.
Fishing Pole - Or should we say, ice-fishing pole?
5. Trending Outdoor Toys
Trends come and go, here are some 2020 favorites. Some of which have been "trending" for years.
Slack-Line - They make special slack lines especially for kids. It's basically a normal slack line but with an extra hand line for added support.
Ninja Warrior Slack Line - Take their slack line up a notch with a full-blown ninja warrior obstacle course.
Stomp Rocket - There are regular stomp rockets, dueling stomp rockets, glow in the dark rockets.
Ride On Digger - It's a digger toy for the sand, dirt or snow.
Roller Coaster - The Toy Roller Coaster from Step 2 has been around for quite awhile but it's gaining popularity again with its anniversary addition.
Mud Kitchen - Buy one, or take it on as a DIY project.
Pindaloo - A single player, throw and catch game that will have them perfecting their eye-hand coordination
6. More Classic Outdoor Toys and Games
These simple toys might remind you of your own childhood, and there's nothing wrong with that. Classic toys that stick around for generations are the best kinds of toys.
Hula hoop - Grab a kid sized hula hoop in their favorite color, or one that glows in the dark!
Sidewalk Chalk - Great if you're just looking to get them a little something. And it's fun to do with them!
Slide - For younger kids, a simple slide is awesome. For older kids, think bigger. How cool would it be to have a slide from the back deck into the yard!?
Swing - There are so many swing varieties out there. You can get a swurfer swing thats shaped like a concave skateboard. A classic wooden swing, a swing that doubles as a hanging tent or fort, a huge net swing.
Metal Tonka or Cat Truck - We can't help but be obsessed with vintage metal tonka trucks, but they've even got a new line of trucks made of steel and they're almost as awesome.
Have you seen the tiny ones? Cat has a cool set of small metal construction vehicles.
Green Toys Toy Trucks - While we're naming brands, the Green Toys toy trucks, cars, airplanes, etc, are really durable, fun and made from post-consumer materials.
Balance Beam - You can find these to buy or build one yourself! Great for your aspiring gymnast and outdoor explorer alike.
Picnic Table - Kid sized picnic tables are a great way to take indoor activities, out of doors. Even if they're just doing homework, it's fun having a dedicated outdoor table just for the kids.
Pogo Stick - Pogo sticks have come a long way. They have simple foam and bungie ones for the youngest of kids, or high-jumping acrobatic models for the more daring older kids.
Giant ( or Regular ) Frisbee - It's not just about traditional frisbees anymore, they've gotten lighter and larger even the youngest of kids can make a giant frisbee soar.
Trac Ball - A classic back yard game.
Catch and Toss Game - Remember those velcro hand pads with the fuzzy ball?? They're still fun!
8. Bring out Their Inner Scientist
If experimenting is their thing, or you want them to take STEM learning outdoors, these are some fun ideas. Spark their interest in science and technology with tools and DIY kits.
Telescope - A great gift for the little star-gazer in your life.
Microscope - Find cool specimens outdoors and get a closer looks. There are microscopes for all ages.
Magnifying Glass - A fun on-the-go way to explore the natural environment. From bugs to funky tree bark, a magnifying glass gets the curiousity flowing.
Take it a step further and make them a full blown explorer kit! Pack a backpack with a magnifying glass, flash light, tweezers, scissors, a jar, binoculars, anything you can think of to help them get exploring!
Make your Side Walk Chalk Kit - There are a ton of cool science based kits that encourage kids to make their own version of something. We came across one for sidewalk chalk and thought it was pretty cool.
Rock Tumbler/ Polisher - A great way to encourage kids to get outside and collect rocks. They'll be amazing at how some of the roughest stones look awesome after some time tumbling.
7. Toys that make work feel like play
If you've got a little mini-me that copies your every move. Consider buying them something that's a smaller version of what you use outdoors. A wheelbarrow is a super fun way to get them out side "working" with leaves and dirt. Maybe you'll even get the yard cleaned up a bit.
Wheelbarrow - There are kid sized metal wheelbarrows and they are awesome for the little ones with eager, helping hands.
Garden Tools - A set of garden tools is great for just playing in the dirt, or starting a garden of their own! Plus, you can use them in the sand and snow too. This shovel is a nice place to start.
Toy Lawn Mower - For the little ones who want to be just like mom and dad. A toy lawn mower will have them outside and getting exercise.
8. Play into Their Favorite Team Sports
Again, if you're not sure what to buy a kid who seems to have it all, considering playing off of things they already love. If they're super into baseball, get legit rubber bases, or a pitching machine to help them fine-tune their skills.
Rubber Bases for Baseball - They've got everything else base-ball, grab a set of rubber bases and make the backyard field more official. Great for kickball too!
A T-Ball Stand - A great way to get the little ones outside and learning to hit
Pitching Machine - Help them stay entertained and practice their skills with an automated pitching machine.
Basketball - Maybe theirs needs an upgrade.
Football - Classic, nerf, glow in the dark.
Basketball Hoop - They have sizes for all ages. (Plus, some that are cool for indoors as well!)
Pitch Back - For the kid that loves playing catch, a pitch back is a great challenging way for a solo game of toss.
Baseball Mit - A classic backyard staple.
Glow in the Dark Balls - Whatever their favorite ball-sport, there's likely a glow in the dark version. With shorter days and darker evenings, its a great way to extend the play day.
Lacrosse Stick - Have multiple kids? A few lacrosse sticks can be a lot of fun for the backyard.
9. Big Ticket Backyard Gifts
These gifts are a bit more of a commitment but fun for the whole family. We've got to say, kid-sized versions of these things are fun.. but what's even more fun is when the big kids can play too. A mini-trampoline could be a great idea, but a big trampoline means Dad gets to jump too.
Trampoline - Anyone who grew up with a trampoline has great stories to tell of fun times jumping around and learning to flip. Plus! Trampolines are a super fun place to sleep out-of-doors.
Outdoor Climbing Wall - A simple Google search of outdoor climbing walls for kids, and you'll have lots of options to buy, add to a playset, or build yourself. Don't have time before Christmas? Just get the hand holds and make it an activity to do together.
Zip Line - Have two solid trees? If you're the handy type, you might be able to just make a trip to the hardware store and whip something up. For the average joe, there are lots of zip line kits to choose from. Our suggestion, get one that has a weight capacity so that the adults can enjoy too! This should get your wheels turning.
Bouncy Castle - They aren't just for the local fair anymore. Bouncy castles have become much more accessible and there are tons of sizes and styles to choose from.
Play House - Etsy, as well as home goods stores have great playhouse kits. You could buy one or build it yourself!
Tree House - Every kid needs a tree house or a nearby friend with a tree house.
Climber Toy - Industrial climbing toys aren't just for local parks, there are some really awesome home-based options.
10. Dress the Part
With changing weather and different climates, sometimes the only way to play all day is with the right clothing. Maybe they need a cape to be their favorite super-hero, or waders for all day fishing excursions.
Waders - Have a fisherman? Or even just a kid who really really loves puddle-jumping?
Uinta Beanie - These beanies are a best-seller for a reason. They're cozy, stylish, warm, and super soft.
Rain Suit - Help them play outside in even more types of weather.
Cape - Help them harness their inner superhero.
Barefoot Shoes - Do the love being barefoot? Get the next best thing.
Knee & Elbow Pads - Ya know, safety first.
11. Dare we say, weapons.
We aren't here to argue whether or not kids should have toy weapons. We like to leave those things up to parents. But if you are ok with a little, target practice, consider these cool ideas.
Sling Shot - A classic wood sling shot or a fancy one with better accuracy and a wrist strap, either are fun.
Nerf Gun- We were overwhelmed by all the options.
Laser Tag- Laser tag has come a long way, its a fun game that can be played outside or in! - if mom and dad allow.
12. Family Games
The best kind of outdoor activities is the ones you can do together. These fun family games are a mix of old classics and new trends. This gift could be good for the kids or the whole family.
Can Jam - The frisbee toss game for two teams of two.
Spike Ball - A fairly new game with rules just like volleyball, its super fun for a variety of ages.
Horse Shoes - Horse shoes sets haven't changed much from when they were actual horseshoes.
Bocce Ball - For darker evenings there is bocce ball with LED lights for playing late into the night.
Ladder Ball - Another fun one for eye hand coordination.
Birdie Golf - It's a golf game but the balls look like the birds from bad mitten, and probably a lot safer than whacking golf balls in the neighborhood.
The only thing better than things, are experiences. Consider things you could do with the kids in your life. The memories of experiences often last far-longer than material things.
National Parks Pass - This is a great gift for the whole family and is good for one year of entry into any U.S. National Parks.
This Etsy Backyard Activity Kit - This activity kit includes 60 random activities that kids can do in the backyard. It's got a lot of great reviews and is great for ages 3-10.
Pass to a Local Attraction - Look up local attractions like, put-put greens, amusement parks, ski hills etc.
We weren't sure exactly how to categorize these other fun ideas. When it comes to gift-giving for kids, sometimes it's about thinking outside of the box. Check out these other cool ideas that will get (and keep) kids outdoors.
Spot Light - A big backyard or driveway spot light could be an awesome gift. Maybe their basketball court need lit-up in the night, or the trampoline could use some late-night lighting.
Camera - A camera is a great tool for kids to capture things they discover outdoors. It's also fun for taking photos of cool "tricks" or learning to edit movies.
Magazine Subscription - There are some cool outdoor centered magazine subscriptions for kids. Like, National Geographic Kids, Boys Life, Brainspace, Sports Illustrated Kids.
Tumbling Mat - A great way to encourage kids to move and tumble freely.
Bait Net - Not just a great fishing accessory but a fun way to catch flying bugs or scope things out of water.
Tunnel - A pop-up tunnel is a great toddler gift, and a fun addition to their back yard fort.
Walkie Talkies - Every kid on a "mission" needs a good set of walkie talkies.
Sticklets for Fort Building- These small rubber devices and used to help connecting sticks for building forts!
Fitness Tracker - The Garmin Vivo Kit Jr allows parents to help kids manage chores, set goals, and even play fun games.
Rope Climber - A rope climber can be a fun addition to a treehouse or super fun just tied up in a tree. Here's one we like.
Rope and Pully - This is a go-to gift for a kid that as everything. A rope and pully is a fun way to get them learning about physics and it's also just a super cool way to get snacks up to the treehouse. Find these things at your local hardware store.
Gear Ties - These reusable rubber twist ties are advertised primarily as a utility tool for all kinds of every day uses. We've found they're super fun for creative kids for thing like helping one toy truck tow another, or strap a toy to their bike.
We hope this gets your wheels turning for what to gift this Holiday season. Buying for active, outdoor kids, is a lot of fun. If you've got ideas to add to this list, let us know! Email firstname.lastname@example.org.