The key to getting kids outdoors is making it fun! That’s not easy when you are competing against video games, iPads, smart phones and 4k TV, but with the right attitude and some help from gift ideas that encourage outdoor play, it is totally doable.

Let’s take a look at the top 10 gift ideas to encourage outdoor play!

Top 10 Gift Ideas to Encourage Outdoor Play

1. Bicycle

When I was a kid it was all about the bike! We would ride everywhere and couldn’t wait to get out of school and ride somewhere. It is great exercise and also promotes responsibility and freedom which every kid need a little bit of. Remember to keep bikes size and age appropriate and encourage your kids to ride daily.

2. Binoculars

Binoculars are such a cool gift for kids because they associate them more with adults. Binoculars are great for bird and wildlife watching and they can also come in handy when playing outdoor games. When the kids are small stick to binoculars that are under $25, but once they get to be around 12 or so you should make an effort to get them “real” binoculars to keep them interested and to show them that you think they can handle the responsibility. Visit for a fantastic guide to choosing binoculars.

3. Fishing Gear

Fishing and kids go hand in hand. There is no more pure outdoor fun than taking a kid fishing and your son or daughter will be thrilled to have their own rod, reel and tackle box. Not to mention that it will be a great excuse for you to spend the day developing your relationship with the next generation of outdoorsman and women.

4. Gardening Gear

I remember my first garden from when I was a kid. My grandfather and I cultivated the soil and planted vegetable and I would water the garden everyday and check for growth. After a couple of weeks I kinda got bored and stopped checking the garden. A few weeks later my Grandfather came to me and said, “You haven’t been to the garden in a while, maybe you should check it and make sure everything is ok”. I went to check the garden and there, before my eyes was this huge, beautiful watermelon! I couldn’t believe it! I was so excited! I didn’t find out until years later that Gramp had bought the watermelon and put it in the garden to rekindle my love of gardening. It worked!

5. Magnifying Glass

This is a great gift for the smaller kids! Take the time to help them find cool things to examine. Make sure that it is a quality magnifying glass with a big, glass lens!

6. Camera

Taking pictures in the outdoors is exciting for kids because they feel like they can then bring it inside with them. While you can buy a camera for your kids, I have found that an old smartphone works great for this. It really seems to connect with kids that phones are a valuable outdoor tool and not just technology that you use inside.

7. Microscopes

A microscope is a very cool gift to encourage outdoor play. The number of things that you can look closer at is endless. This gift is obviously for the slightly older kids, although young kids can have fun with sufficient adult supervision.

8. Flashlights

Flashlights sound simple enough, but they can be an awesome gift for nighttime adventures outdoors. Think nighttime walks in the woods or even night crawling. Night crawling is a great activity for kids of all ages. What is night crawling? It is the act of finding large earthworms as they crawl out of the ground and on to the surface at night. It works best in the summertime after a rain. You just sneak along with a flashlight and grab the nightcrawlers before they can get back in their hole.

9. Metal Detectors

This a great gift for older kids that don’t have a lot of outdoor ambitions, but love to explore! There is nothing as exciting as digging up something of value after your metal detector goes off. They are a little expensive, but a great tool for getting our kids out from in front of their screens and out into the fresh air.

10. Sandbox

A sandbox is a great place for young kids to dig and play. One can be constructed fairly easily and inexpensively from simple lumber and filled with sand. My kids spent hours playing with trucks and shovels in their sandbox when they were young.


There you have it, 10 awesome gift ideas that encourage outdoor play. These gifts will have your kids playing outdoors for hours and fostering a love of the great outdoors!