Adventure gifts – give the gift of adventure
There is no greater gift than the spirit of adventure. It truly is a gift for life. And you can give it in a thousand ways.
There’s a growing body of science which tells us it’s important for kids to regularly get active, outside and in touch with nature. It’s good for their well being, good for their development, helps them appreciate the natural world and provides opportunities to experience and learn about risk.
If you want to encourage someone you know to get out, get active and adventure then here’s some ideas for adventure gifts we think may help nurture that adventurous spirit and develop a richer appreciation of the natural world and our place in it.
52 Gifts that encourage kids to get out & active
15 Little Gifts for Budding Adventurers
An Adventure Book. Books are a simple way to start talking about adventures. With a book you can plant ideas about things to do, introduce adventure activities, find out about amazing places you can go, even start learning a new skill like a language. Here’s a few of our favourite adventure inspiring books for younger kids.
The Boys Book of Adventure is boyish in character but not just for boys. It’s full of activities to ignite the imagination and get kids thinking like adventure heroes. Once they’ve figured out how to deal with the challenges and sticky situations in this book, they’ll likely be keen to test these hard won skills in a few sticky situations of their own making. If they prefer fiction then why not try one of the Bear Grylls Mission Survival series of stories of outdoor heroics. Or point them towards old favourites like Swallows and Amazons, set on an island in England’s Lake District. Or for very little ones, what about Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books: five kids and a dog off out having adventures on their bicycles, like in Five Go Adventuring Again.
A Mountain Whistle. A small but important gift that’s good for more than just annoying people. A mountain whistle is an essential piece of outdoor kit. Get the kids one and teach them how and when to use it to call for help in an emergency. You may regret it around the house, but it could save the day if they end up in trouble outdoors.
Pocket Handwarmer. It’s not always easy to persuade kids out on a cold winter’s day. But if it’s a chance to try out their new hand warmers or feet warmers, well that’s something different! When there’s a chill in the air little things like this can tip the balance between staying in and getting out.
Waterproof Gloves or Socks. Of course it’s not just the cold that can put kids off; wet hands and wet feet aren’t much fun either. But they can be a thing of the past with a pair of magic SealSkinz waterproof gloves or waterproof socks.
Silk Balaclava. These are great for SAS games but also brilliant for outings on cool days or as an underlayer when the thermometer dives. Braver souls could use this silk balaclava for camouflage on a night hike or to keep your head warm while sleeping out.
A Headtorch. Kids love torches, for reading under the covers, lighting a den or exploring the house with the lights out or in a power cut. So, why not equip them properly? Buy them an LED head torch and take them out to test it on a local night hike. Head out on a local trail, perhaps one you know well to start with, and see how unfamiliar even the most familiar places can be on a dark night with only a torch to light the way. They’ll love strapping it on their head and leading the way, like a proper explorer.
A Spork Kit. Small children will love the novelty of this – a cross between a spoon and a fork. You may find they want to eat with it every day. Sporks are great for picnics and camping. For that extra special person, or those with destructive tendencies, you could even go for the ultimate ultra-light, ultra strong Titanium Spork.
A Wee Bike. If you want to go big with a little one, then there is no greater freedom than that of a bike. For those just starting out, how about a Weeride deluxe balance bike, a great way get toddlers starting to learn to ride. Or if they’ve mastered balance and want pedals, brakes and to ride like a grown up, then you won’t get better than an Isla Bike.
18 Gift Ideas for Tweeny Adventurers
More Books. Books are cool at any age. Growing adventurers might enjoy getting crafty with The Stick Book and probably aren’t too big for The Little Book of Whittling. Of course if you give a book like that, they’re going to be asking for something to go with it.
A Swiss Army Knife. Every outdoor boy (and quite a few girls too) dream of owning their very own Swiss Army knife. Everyone knows the orginal Victorinox Swiss Army Knife with its shiny red case engraved with the Swiss flag. With one of these in their pocket kids will be desperate to go out for the day to carve sticks, etch their name on fallen logs, and shave tinder for a fire. And you’ll get to keep yours to yourself.
A Local Map and Map Cover. Some will tell you paper maps are old fashioned, but they’re still a great way to study and explore the local environment. You can look at them together, write on them, fold them anyway you want and they never run out of power. A large scale 1:25000 or 1:10000 map of your local area shows all kinds of detail and is a great way to spot things you can go and explore, and for practicing navigation. And with a good waterproof map cover you can get out and about whatever the weather, knowing that even if you get wet, your map won’t. Of course if you’re going trad wito use a map you’ll need something else.
A Compass. Maybe this sounds a bit old fashioned in the days of Sat Nav, Google Maps and handheld GPS, but do your kids know how to take a bearing or navigate if the GPS batteries run out? Do they know their East from West or how to figure out where they are using only map and compass? Get them a calibrated compass and they can use it to learn the skills of navigation. With time and practice they’ll be able to find their way safely around even in the dark, without need for expensive electronic aids. These skills save getting lost and in the extreme save lives. If they need some help learning, what about a little book on navigation or something more serious on mountain navigation skills.
Wind Up Torch/Radio. If they’re going to take a gadget out with them, why not make it an eco-friendly, useful one? Our kids love tuning into the radio in the tent. And when they’ve finished winding up each other up over which station to listen to they love fighting over who is going to wind up the torch/radio, so perhaps one each might be the answer.
Firelighter. Campfires are great fun but you don’t have to go camping to have one. And you don’t need matches to start one. Get your kids a Bear Grylls firelighter and they can learn about and practice another great survival skill, starting fires, under appropriate supervision! Why not have a camp fire in the garden, roast marshmallows, bake potatoes, sing a song or two and enjoy a little camp camaraderie in your own back yard.
Hydration System. Show me a kid that doesn’t want to be cool. So why not tap into that. Being hydrated when out and about is important, especially if you’re exercising. Survival expert Bear Grylls says you can only survive a matter of days without water. But who’s going to carry it? Hydration packs are a ‘cool’ way you can get kids to carry their own water. And if they carry their own it gives them a bit more responsibility and independence and means less for you to lug.
Necktube/Headscarf. Of course being cool is really about looking cool and these Buff necktubes come in all kinds of colours and designs, so there’s bound to be one that’s in. They’re not just fashionable and fun, but multifunctional too with a dozen different types and uses, limited only by your imagination. And with regular, windproof, UV, hooded, merino wool and designer options you’re sure to find something to suit even the fussiest of tweenagers.
First Aid Kit or Book. Do your kids know what to do when they have an accident? Do they know how to treat cuts, stings and grazes? Do they know basic first aid and how to get help? With a small first aid kit they can take some basic supplies with them on their adventures and learn how to clean and treat any cuts and grazes they pick up. Most first aid kits come with some basic instructions on how to deal with particular emergencies which can be useful for learning about first aid basics. If they want to learn more you could even add in a Young People’s First Aid book. For younger kids you can get rhyming first aid books or novelty plasters. Our daughter loves princess plasters and especially loves treating dolly’s cuts and grazes in the dolly hospital.
Survival Kit. Bear Grylls is a name well known to many kids not just as the Chief Scout but also for his reputation as a survival expert. He’s not a bad role model for kids interested in the outdoors and can teach us all a thing or two about survival. This little Survival Kit’s mantra is: Stay prepared. Stay alive. Enough said. If you want to live, you need this.
19 Bigger Ideas for Bigger Adventurers
Classic Books of Inspiration. Bigger kids can take on bigger ideas so if you’re looking to give a book why not feed them some inspiration with stories of what’s possible. How about classic Quest for Adventure stories. Or if they’re more 21st century what about the man who cycled the world or the woman who sailed around it.
Magazine Subscriptions. These can make an excellent gift, providing regular injections of inspiration. What about a subscription to National Geographic? The main magazine is a great education for older teens or there’s National Geographic Kids for younger ones (6-14) and even National Geographic Little Kids for tots (3-6). Never to young to learn about geography.
Slacklining Kit. Slacklining is a simple and addictive outdoor pastime. A slackline kit contains everything you need to set up a simple low level tightrope. The kits include strong but soft webbing that can be slung between trees and kits include trunk protectors. Small and light, they are a great addition to a day or rucksack and provide everything needed to get started with this simple, safe and addictive outdoor pastime. Once set up young and old can have a go at walking the line, also know as staying on-line. Which means you’ll soon be shouting encouragement at your kids to stay online!
Pop Up Tent. Now you don’t need to go camping to go camping. But you do need a tent. These pop-up tents are not just in fashion, they’re practical too and often not too big for indoor use! Why not turn your living room into a campsite for a night, have your own mini festival, throw in some duvets and pillows and have all the comforts of home and the excitement of sleeping in a tent. No need for pegs or guy ropes. Or pop it up in the yard and camp in the garden. Or pop it in the car or on your bike and go camp ‘for real’. Kids love camping, and it’s especially exciting if they can do it in their own tent. And these ones really are a cinch to put up.
Day Sack or Rucksack. If they are going camping it’s probably about time they shouldered some of the load don’t you think? Older kids can carry their own gear – waterproofs, clothes, drinks and food – while little ones should at least be able to carry their own toys or snacks. A small day sack is a great multi-purpose gift, useful for everyday activities like going swimming or to play sport as well as carrying gear on an outdoor adventure. If you want to encourage journeys a little further afield, then why not go big and get a full size ruck sack.
Survival Bag. More than just a giant plastic bag (although that’s what it is), a simple survival bag is big enough to get inside in an emergency to help keep you dry and warm until help arrives. They’re also pretty good for keeping your bum or your gear dry on a very wet day. Bigger kids could even use them for a night sleeping out under the stars, with an appropriate sleeping bag. If you want something to help survive more extreme conditions (and are willing to spend a little more) what about a blizzard survival bag. Or if you want something to help shelter the family if conditions get bad, or just for a more exciting lunch stop, what about a group shelter?
Bivi Bag or Sleeping Bag. If you want to go one better than a survival bag, then what about a proper waterproof breathable bivi bag, designed for sleeping out without need for a tent. With one of these in your rucksack and an appropriate sleeping bag, rated for the conditions, you’re all equipped for a night of luxury under a million stars. Add in a copy of the Book of the Bivi and it’s probably all the nudge you need to give older kids to get them out roughing it for a night or two.
An Adventure Kit. If your kids are a bit reluctant to get outside you might find an adventure kit gives them the equipment and incentive to get a few mates together and organise something themselves. Battlebox put together some great adventure kits containing everything you need to get out for a particular type of adventure. You can pick from their range of ready made kits (den building, campfire, ambush or survival kits and more) or you can build your own custom kit, selecting just the ingredients you think you need for that perfect adventure. We tried out one of their Extreme Ambush kits and disappeared in the woods wearing ghillie suits. Brilliant fun.
Bushcraft and Survival Skills. If you’re going to take or send your kids off camping then you may want to help them develop skills that will help them be safe, survive and live off their wits. After all they’re going to need such skills when they leave home. Most kids get a real kick from learning bushcraft and survival skills and many of the skills are easy to learn and fun to practice. A good fieldbook on bushcraft skills can be a good way to inspire kids to try and learn some bushcraft. Masters like Ray Mears and Ben McNutt have written comprehensive essential bushcraft guides that illustrate skills from around the world. If you want to take it further people like Ben and Ray run survival and bushcraft workshops that run for a day, a weekend or more. Ben once showed us how to make fire without matches and believe me it’s inspiring and empowering stuff. Some courses cater specifically for families enabling you to learn together. Some run special Teens Bushcraft or Survival skills course helping teenagers learn to fend for themselves.
Have you any favourite ideas for adventure gifts? We’d love to hear them. Leave a comment and let us know.