5 Great Gifts for Active and Curious Kids

November 22, 2016
Great Gifts for Kids
MOTTNew experiences make great gifts for kids.

As the holidays quickly approach, many of us are shopping around for presents for the kids in our lives. Books are always my first choice as gifts, but I also like to give unusual games, activities, and experiences. These five picks are at the top of my gift-giving list.

L.L. Bean Outdoor School
For the kid who doesn’t need a material gift, why not give them the gift of learning a new skill or introducing them to a new sport. L.L. Bean offers a wide range of activities, from snowshoeing to cross-country skiing, with instruction from expert guides and most of the gear needed. Private lessons and other experiences, like group nighttime ski tours, are also offered. Various clinics, like winter camping, how to read a compass, and animal tracking also are fun family activities to do together.

Phunkshun Wear
Being properly dressed in winter is key for kids and when you can keep them warm and help the environment, that’s a win-win. Phunkshun Wear creates neck warmers, balaclavas, and scarves in a variety of warmth levels and a range of colors, patterns, and graphics. The fabric is made of recycled plastic water bottles, with each piece of apparel using about 10 water bottles.

Outdoor Math: Fun Activities for Every Season
This book encourages kids to get outside, where they can have fun interacting with the natural world while learning math concepts. There are 22 outdoor activities, organized by seasons, for kids to tackle. The activities have simple-to-follow instructions and are accompanied by illustrations that give clear visual demonstrations. Kids are encouraged to use natural materials, like pinecones, rocks, seashells, and other easily found items in the outdoors, for the games and activities.

Outdoor Science Lab for Kids: 52 Family-Friendly Experiments for the Yard, Garden, Playground, and Park
A great companion to the Outdoor Math book is this science-focused one, which has a wide variety of simple and inexpensive experiments kids and families can do together. Kids can learn about physics, chemistry, biology, and nature, all in their own backyards. Chapters include Captivating Creatures, Driveway Physics, Picnic Table Chemistry, Playground Physics, among others. Many of the experiments are safe enough for toddlers and challenging enough for older kids, so families can enjoy the projects together.

Knot So Fast
Perfect for a stocking stuffer or for a road trip, the Knot So Fast card game is a multiplayer knot-tying race game. Players earn points by being first to correctly tie the knot shown on each card. The game introduces a wide variety of knots, requiring players to think with their hands and use spatial skills. The rules are simple, but a few clever twists makes a level playing field for beginners and experts to play together.

AMC also offers a variety of outdoor programs designed with families in mind.  See a complete schedule.

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Kim Foley MacKinnon

Along with Ethan Hipple, Kim Foley MacKinnon writes AMC’s Great Kids, Great Outdoors blog. She is a Boston-based editor, journalist, and travel writer whose work has appeared in the Boston Globe, AAA Horizons, Travel + Leisure, and USA Today, among other publications. Kim has been writing about what to do and where to go in New England since her teenager was a toddler. Her latest book for AMC is Outdoors with Kids Boston.