It’s hard sometimes finding the balance between buying kids something that will encourage them to spend time in nature – and reflects well on you as a parent or family friend – and that which they will be over the moon to receive. We’ve scoured the internet to create this list of fantastic kids gifts that do both. Whether you’re looking for a larger present to ask Father Christmas to deliver, or some excellent stocking fillers, here is the BBC Countryfile Magazine pick of the best presents for nature-loving kids in 2021 to help you tick off the last of your shopping list.
Still got some adults to buy for? You might like to check out our list of Best eco friendly gifts for Christmas 2021, 35 best gift ideas for outdoor adventurers and nature lovers and Best gifts for walkers: 15 top presents for hikers.
Best gifts for nature-loving boys and girls
The Den Kit Company Forest Den Kit
There are two types of den: the one you build in your bedroom to read your favourite book under on a rainy day, and the one that serves as your spy headquarters for your adventures in the great outdoors. This fantastic den-building kit contains everything a child needs to create the latter: his or her very own shelter among the trees, with a tarpaulin, tent pegs, wooden mallet and groundsheet. The kit is perfect for encouraging children to get creative in the great outdoors, engaging problem-solving skills and a sense of achievement. It comes with a beautifully illustrated identification and fact sheet, to help expand knowledge of our native, living heritage. There’s also a trowel and a helpful guide to growing your own sapling.
This family clothing brand is well loved for its cheerful, bright designs and sustainable manufacturing techniques, whether that means using organic cotton or recycled plastic on its outerwear. Frugi pyjamas remain firm favourites with parents and children, and this year sees a delightful range of unisex sleepwear – including the Jamie Jim Jams (left in picture) and Port Isaac pyjamas, both in a range of sizes from 12-month-olds up to age 10.
- Buy now from Frugi (RRP from £26)
Wiltshire Wildlife Trust Cardboard Bugs kits
These adorable folding cardboard bugs from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust make an excellent stocking filler for budding naturalists. With simple, easy-to-fold designs, they’re a great introduction to the more complicated origami sets on the market – and what’s more, a child can actually do them without your supervision. Wins all round.
- Buy now from Wiltshire Wildlife Trust (RRP £8)
Celestron StarSense Explorer LT 70AZ refractor telescope
As recommended by our sister title, The Sky at Night, this is a brilliant beginner’s telescope for the whole family to have a go with. At around the £99 mark, it’s at the lowest end of what you should pay for an entry-level telescope, offering some fantastic extra features including a smartphone dock that allows you to locate objects via the StarSense app.
RSPB Puffin Binoculars
This fun-looking pair of binoculars make a great entry point for budding ornithologists and nature spotters. They come in a range of colours, including this delightful pink – perfect for fashion-conscious tweens and young adults. They’re lightweight on young necks, too.
They come complete with a case and strap, bird ID guide and free pin badge.
- Buy now from RSPB (RRP from £60)
You may also like:
- The best British bird identification books to buy
- The best kids’ binoculars for young explorers
- Best mid-range binoculars for birdwatching
The Ordnance Survey Kids’ Adventure Book
Sat nav is all very well, but on a walk in the countryside there’s no beating OS Maps, either on paper or via the app. Start kids off early in this bumper kids’ book of outdoor adventures, which teaches kids vital orienteering skills and provides colourful inspiration by the bucketload. Created by the experts at Ordnance Survey, it includes skills such as understanding a map, using a compass, planning a trip and what to do in an emergency. There are suggestions for places to go, and plenty of top tips and fun facts. Map skills are put to the test in a series of ‘map challenges’ created by puzzle master Dr Gareth Moore to test observation skills and map reading.
This is the perfect book for any kid who loves the outdoors, recommended for ages 8 to 12.
National Trust Make your Own Woodland Bracelet kit
This sweet little jewellery-making kit is great for younger children. Thread on the little wooden owls, leaves and beads to make a natural set of chunky woodland friends to take with you. Comes complete with charming little tin.
- Buy now from National Trust (RRP from £6)
Primus Pippi Vacuum flask
Packing for a family walk can often feel like packing for a holiday. Spare kids clothes, first aid kit, spare loo roll, waste bags, snacks for the family, thermos of tea for the grown-ups, milk, cups, spoons… Save on effort and give children some autonomy with their own little flask for hot chocolate, warm blackcurrant squash or milky decaf tea – whatever your family preference is. They’ll love having their own special drink, preserved at just the right temperature, and in a vivid Pippi Longstocking flask. A great investment for those outdoor adventures together.
Tender leaf toys My botanical press
A wonderful way for kids to engage and enjoy the great outdoors, this gender-neutral botanical press could have them making nature pictures all through their childhood. Whether it’s beautiful wild flowers, fern leaves, or colourful grasses, boys and girls can have fun collecting and preserving botanical items from the natural world.
- Buy now from Kidly (RRP from £18)
Kids Hedgehog and Beaver Christmas Hoodies
Printed on demand in a renewable-energy-powered factory, these adorable hoodies from the Wildlife Trusts will keep nature fans for the whole of winter. They’re printed on organic cotton, super snuggly and you’ll be supporting nature by buying them.
- Buy now from the Wildlife Trusts (RRP from £24)
Spotty Otter Forest Leader fleece-lined wellies
As featured in our Best Kids Wellies feature, these sturdy, fleece-lined wellies stand the test of time when it comes to waterproofing, durability and comfort for kids. They come in a range of bright colours, complete with a drawstring rain guard to keep puddle-splash and torrential downpours firmly locked out. These boots are so warm, our tester wore them as slippers for the first week before christening them outside.
Moon Picnic A Dozen Eggs
These delightful wooden eggs from Californian brand Moon Picnic make a gorgeous sensory toy for very little people. Based on common farm bird eggs, including chicken, turkey, duck, goose and other wild bird eggs, they’re perfect for little hands to hold, roll, count, sort by sizes and observe the lovely colours and speckles. Use them to introduce the idea of the life cycles of birds – and indeed creative ideas – while fostering an interest in nature and wildlife.
- Buy now from Kidly (RRP £54)