The Best Outdoor Gifts for Kids: Birthday and Christmas Gift Ideas for Adventurous Kids

The Best Outdoor Gifts for Kids

Updated October 2021

Kids love toys, but I’m also mindful that many are fun for a short time and end up in the cupboard.  And there is such a thing as too many toys!  So we are often searching for christmas gift ideas, or birthday presents for kids that are also practical.

So we have put together the Ultimate Kids Gifts list that will encourage kids to get outside and enjoy nature as well as be active.  These items should last, be able to be passed down to younger siblings, or passed onto family and friends too.

If you are looking for outdoor Christmas gifts for kids, or specifically for gifts for outdoors kids like ours, then I hope this helps!  Do note that I haven’t specified whether they are presents for girls or gifts for boys, as the outdoors doesn’t discriminate.  All kids can be outdoors kids.

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The Best Outdoor Gift Ideas for Kids: Table of Contents

We hope you enjoy our Gifts for Outdoorsy Kids List, and if there is anything you think we should add, just flick us a message and we can add it in.  Lets help as many parents are possible.
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Outdoor Gifts for the water loving kids



Kids snorkels are a great way to encourage kids to explore into the water.  We are so lucky here in New Zealand to have such wonderful marine life.  Even for those who are learning to swim, a snorkel can help their confidence, especially getting a hang of floating without having to come up for air.

Nathan is currently using a Mirage Kids Snorkel and flipper set (RIP flippers, we lost them) and Kipton has a Cressi Junior set that we bought on Amazon.  I love the Cressi set as there’s a really wide mask which makes it easy to see.  (Husband has an adult Cressi Set and loves it too)  This has been one of the best outdoor gifts for kids, mine just love it!

If you're looking for some great outdoor gifts for kids, try a snorkel

Boogie board

A kids first introduction to riding the waves and a classic kiwi past time, the boogie board.  Boogie Boards are great for all kids, young to old and a good step before they look to try a surfboard.  Also doubles as a good seat on the hot sand.  If you are looking for outdoor gifts for boys like mine, the adventurous type, then this is an easy one.

Do make sure you choose one with a wrist strap!


  • The Warehouse does cheap boards with the kids favourite characters.  Check on the prices and styles here  So simple but these are one of my favourite outdoor Christmas gifts for kids of all ages.
  • Older kids may prefer at Mantra Dart Bodyboard which has a great design to make it easier for kids to catch waves


I’m a big fan of lifelong sports, so surfing is great if you are keen to encourage lifelong active recreation.  Even if you yourself haven’t surfed, you can still help stabilise the board and get them used to feeling the waves.  Package a surfboard with surf lessons and you’ve got a surefire summer gift winner.

Particularly if you are in the South Island of New Zealand (or somewhere else with colder waters) you should consider a wetsuit.  Surfing requires a great deal of patience (waiting for the right wave, falling off multiple times) so keeping warm will help them last the distance.

We haven’t purchased surfboards before, but some good friends of mine have recommended Hyperride as they have a great range across all budgets.  Check them out here Or click below for a great option if you are based in North America

Beach Trolley / Camping Trolley

This could be a great family gift (hey Santa, I’m looking at you) or an awesome outdoor gift for kids.  My kids love pulling along their toys in absolutely anything.  And it actually doubles as something useful.  Super popular in North America, you pile all your beach gear and camping gear in and pull it to the perfect spot.

This Kathmandu Maison Camp Trolley can carry up to 100kg, so could easily fit a few kids in it too. Take a look at at the camp trolley here


Kayaks are awesome as it is something the whole family can do together.  The biggest decision for a kayak is whether to choose a sit on top kayak, inflatable or a traditional kayak with a spray skirt.

A sit on top kayak is good for young kids as it’s very easy for them to sit with you as parents and there is no risk of them being stuck under the water, unable to remove a spray skirt.  A sit on top kayak is good for recreational kayak and short trips.  Take a look at double kayaks here

A traditional kayak with a spray skirt will keep you drier and allow you to carry equipment with you, such a lunch or overnight gear.  They are usually more expensive than a sit on top kayak.

Inflatable kayaks are perfect if you don’t kayak very often and don’t have the room in your vehicle (ie. a roof rack)  It can be a more cost effective way to kayak.  This ZRAY inflatable double kayak from Torpedo 7 is $299


All our kids have goggles, even my two year old and they just enjoy being in the water more when they aren’t wiping the water out of their eyes every minute.  I highly recommend getting the kids used to them as young as possible, because as soon as they realise they can see and it doesn’t hurt, they become real water babies (For my kids, it was when they just turned 3 that they learned to hold their breath or submerge themselves without drowning themselves – if that helps)

When the kids were really little 1-2, they used these Zoggs Little Ripper Goggles.  I liked them as you can adjust the nosepiece a bit and they aren’t too big on their eye sockets (seals better)

My 6 and 7 year old really like these Zoggs Phantom goggles as they have quite a big “windscreen” so can see more

Life jacket 

Less exciting per se, but a good option if you are getting into outdoor sports or the kids need a new size.  Lifejackets allow you that extra piece of mind.  I actually found, with having 3 young kids to often look after myself, that a lifejacket was great at the lake or even the beach, to help the kids explore a little more and have more freedom. (Not that I wouldn’t leave them of course, but with common sense they could be further than arms reach… and I don’t have three arms)

For young kids, a lifejacket with a “hood” is important, so they just end up lying and floating on their back.  I also prefer lifejackets with a strap between the legs to keep the lifejacket in the right position.

We use the Baltic Sailor Child Lifejacket which was about $99 from Burnsco, or the RFD Mistral Lifejacket is a similar style for $79

Older children who are doing watersports and can swim well may prefer a less bulky option such as the O’Neill Youth Reactor Vest 

RFD Mistral Lifejacket
O'Neill Youth Reactor Vest

Stand Up Paddle board

SUPing or stand up paddleboarding is the new watersport poster child which is surprisingly easy (well in flat water anyway)  A larger board is more stable and our younger kids love going out for a ride.  (Top tip: get them to lie on their stomachs between your legs for more stability for you)

Kids can paddle them, or even surf the waves on them too.  Who needs a long board?

If you are new to the sport, I highly recommend an inflatable paddleboard as you can fold them up and take them anywhere.  Most come as a package including a pump, paddle and bag.  SUPs are also great family present ideas, perhaps an outdoor activity gift from Santa himself to all of you?

Take a look at these great paddleboard gifts for kids options below

Bestway Hydroforce Inflatable SUP
Aquatone Wave All Round Paddleboards are great outdoor gift ideas for kids

Sand Castle Toys

Always a winner to keep kids happy, young or old.  Also great if you visit the snow as snow castles are also very popular.  Fun outdoor gifts for children of all ages.

Try classic sandpit toys like and spades, or more unique things like these animal sand moulds or novelty castles like the Taj Mahal (We have this and I love it) 

These would make great outdoor gifts for babies who are sitting and can start to be involved in sensory play.  Trust me, they just love bashing over a sand castle.

Animal Sand Moulds
Taj Mahal Sand Moulds

Water Guns

We love the Zuru brand.  They make the best outdoor water toys for kids.  They are a New Zealand owned company, well priced and they shoot extremely well with great pressure.  We highly recommend!  These are great birthday present ideas for friends too and fit well in the budget.

View prices of Zuru Water Guns on Amazon here

Click here for NZ links: Small water guns just $10 and larger styles $15

Water Balloons 

The Zuru self tying water balloons are a godsend for any parent who has been roped into a water balloon fight.  More time spent playing and less time ferociously tying balloons for kids to throw.  Any absolute game changer.  They’ve been the perfect outdoor gifts for 5 year old boys like my Kipton.  He’s had such a ball and I could just relax (okay, I was hiding)

Buy in the USA: Zuru Water Balloons

Buy in New Zealand:  Find these Zuru water balloons here

Zuru Waterguns make a great outdoor gift for boys and girls
Self sealing water balloons (omg so clever)

Water Slides

Need I say much more?  Aren’t they just the best outdoor fun for kids.  We love ones that are straight and fast, bells and whistles not necessary. Christmas ideas for kids – tick! These make awesome presents for kids in the summertime and I know you will sneak a wee slide too.  If you’re wanting some outdoor toys for kids that will always be a hit, then choose a Zuru slide.

In the USA: Click here for the latest prices on the Zuru waterslide

In New Zealand: Try out this Zuru 5m waterslide

Beach Towels

Giant Novelty Towels

I’m a big fan of large towels that are big enough to sit on and you can wrap yourself up in when you are freezing.  Try something a little different with these giant novelty towels such as the Giant Cupcake here   Quirky Christmas gift ideas for kids – tick!

Pretty Beach Towels

I am not ashamed to say that I love pretty things.  If you are going to spend your hard earned money, it better look pretty.

I love these Bambury Round printed beach towels as well as the less expensive poncho style beach towels that are beautiful too.

Bambury Round Printed Towels
Large Cupcake Novelty Towel: Unique outdoor gift ideas for kids
Bambury Poncho Beach Towels

Gifts for Outdoor Kids who love Nature

Not all outdoorsy presents need to be adrenalin pumping. For some Christmas gift ideas that are a little more tame and requiring much less adult supervision, try some of these gifts for outdoor lovers.

  • Wheelbarrow: a practical outdoor garden gift, but the kids love wheeling these around.
  • Gardening gloves and kids gardening tools 
  • Scrapbook for collecting treasures: there are so many outdoor ideas for kids to add here (flowers, leaves, national park tickets, photos of family hikes, rubbed drawings etc)
  • Bum bag for collecting treasures.  We have the cutest ones from Walker Family Goods (and the adult ones have so many pockets)
  • Bug ID kit (cool gifts for boys and girls who are keen on exploring.  Makes for a good scavenger hunt too)
  • Binoculars (great gifts for outdoor enthusiasts) 
  • Fishing set: fun outdoor kids gifts and for fishing mad parents too who would love a mini me
  • Bird watching book
  • Magnifying glass (a good Christmas stocking stuffer for only $3)
  • Tackle box
Anything that gets children outdoors in nature will make excellent gifts for outdoor kids
Binoculars are great gifts for outdoor kids

Gifts for the gadget kids

Action camera

Underwater cameras or action cams are awesome for kids.  They are often incredibly robust and kids love photos and videos of themselves.  We love our GoPro as it is so forgiving, of both dropping it, as well as getting everyone in the frame!  It is very much a point and shoot style camera that any beginner can pick up, as well as do some epic things with.  It’s a great way to get kids reinvigorated about old sports they used to love.  They will be itching to dust off that bike, or go for a snorkel to capture some awesome footage.

They also have the GoPro app that is user friendly and will help the kids make incredible videos with the touch of a button. (literally choose the videos they like and it will automatically make a video)  Check out the deals on GoPro’s here.  The new GoPro Hero 10 Black has amazing stabilisation and horizon leveling that will help the kids keep the view upright.  We love the front screen too, so their selfie game will actually have everything they want in the photo or video.

But you definitely don’t have to go for the top of the line option. For a cheaper option try out the Kaiser Bass X300 for just over $100 or Everis Action Camera for $69


Great outdoor Christmas gifts for kids to encourage them to get out and explore, and document it too


There is no better way of encouraging a tech savvy kid to get outdoors than to buy them a drone to fly.  Not only can they get creative taking photos and videos, they will get a different perspective of the outdoors.  Just think, your next family photo or video could be by drone.

Also… how fun are they to fly (Do make sure of course you fly them in approved areas.  There are very specific laws on this)

If you are looking for a top of the line camera drone, then you can’t go past the Mavic drone range.  The Mavic Air 2 has great capabilities and the longest flight time of the Mavic drones at 34 minutes.  Cinematic quality for the budding photographer or videographer.  You can find more about the Mavic Air 2 here.  You may also consider a DJI Mavic Mini for a more introductory version of this top brand.  Check the prices of the Mavic Mini here

You could also look at a cheaper alternative with the Kaiser Bass Sphire Mini Selfie Drone which comes in under $100.  It has some great features such as waving your hand to take a selfie and a follow cam that moves as you do.  At only palm size, its a great gift.  Kaiser Bass has a great range of action cameras too.  Click here to find out more about the Kaiser Bass drone

DJI Mavic Air 2
DJI Mavic Mini
Kaiser Bass Sphire Mini Selfie Drone



If you are looking for your child’s first camera, know that it is likely to get a bit of a hammering, but that is good because you want them to take it everywhere. The Panasonic FT30 Tough Camera has some great kid friendly features.  Here’s a quick snapshot
  • Waterproof to 8m
  • Shockproof to 1.5m
  • Freezeproof to -10
  • 16MP and 8x zoom
Panasonic Waterproof Shockproof Camera

Fitness tracker/Smart Watch

Now I am not one at all to say that any kids really need to count their steps and to be honest, I purchased one for my 7 year old because it was a reasonably priced watch that he could wear underwater (we lost the last one on the side of a river)  We bought a Garmin VivoFit Jr watch and these are the things I really love about it.  He told me it was the best birthday present (he likes to be organised, first born!)
  • It is fully waterproof
  • They don’t have to charge it often like an adults smartwatch (battery lasts a year)
  • It has easy timers for 2, 5, 10, 15, 20, 30 minutes as well as a stopwatch
  • You can set timers from the app for chores or activities.  We have one set for the school bus and one to come in/home for a shower, so is awesome for set reminders.  You just have to sync the watch with your own phone.
  • You can monitor their sleep which is quite interesting. (who knew my kid actually woke before 6am?)
  • To check out the Garmin watch we bought, take a look here.  The FitBit Ace is also popular for kids too
Garmin VivoFit Jr 3 comes in a range of different Disney designs and standard colour

The FitBit Ace is another popular kids fitness tracker. Bringing technology and outdoors together, these can be perfect outdoor gifts for kids.

Ipad or tablet

We road trip a lot and I have to say, I love having a tablet on hand so the kids can chill out and watch movies.  The kids are great at entertaining themselves, but it’s such a treat for them to choose whatever they’d like to watch.  I also tend to drive some epic stretches so this definitely helps. We love our Apple Ipad Air for these times of need!

I’ve learned to chill out a bit with screen time as we’ve only just started doing this, but it’s definitely handy.  Not exactly an outdoor adventure gift, but there are some great apps that the kids love using outside such as Starwalk 2 (for seeing the constellations) and PlanetNet which helps you to identify plants by taking a photo.  We also know that if you are an outdoorsy family like us, you probably travel to awesome spots too and a bit of downtime can be helpful. 


  • Top of the Line: We have a Ipad and love it.  Just make sure you choose one with enough space for everything you need.  Downloaded movies and programmes can take up quite a lot of space.  Click here for prices
  • Mid range tablet: The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite is a good rival to the Ipad at a midrange price.  It has a stylus and a headphone jack (which is becoming less common now with bluetooth headphones on the rise, so make sure you note this if you have normal headphones like we do, or the kids share an ear) Explore this tablet, its features and prices here
  • Budget tablet for kids:  I can understand if you don’t want to trust the kids with an expensive table, so pick up a Lenovo 7 inch tablet for cheap here
Apple Ipad Air
Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite
Lenovo Tab M7 7 inch Tablet


Telescopes are amazing guys! Not just for the geeky kid within us all.  When was the last time you looked up at a star or the milky way? And the look on the kids faces when they understand that space is actually real… ooh so good! A great outdoor Christmas kid that is a little different 

Check out the price of telescopes here  These are great outdoor gifts ideas for boys and girls alike.

Gifts for the active outdoor kids

Hiking gifts for kids

Hiking bag

A hiking bag has been great to get my kids to “buy in” to hiking.  Hiking bags are great because they often come with lots of pockets, whistles and all sorts of clips and my kids love this sort of thing.  I’ve started by just getting them to carry water, then their own lunch and a jacket and it really helps to build up their strength and just get used to it.

Kipton (6) has the Osprey Jet 18 (an 18L pack) which is the perfect size and he could really fill it if he had to (although we don’t yet).  I like that it has an emergency whistle, and a chest clip and hip belt.  This helps to spread the weight on their hips rather than shoulders, is more comfortable and helps it fit better.  I bought the Osprey Jet 18 on Amazon and had it shipped to New Zealand.  This has been one of the most useful kids gift ideas, and I actually fit it too if I have to carry it. 

Recommendations for hiking bags for kids: one of the best gifts for outdoor kids

  • Osprey Jet 18 
  • In New Zealand: Kathmandu Sprocket: An 11L bag with a hydration bladder, hip and chest clip
  • We have also found small adult day bags to work for our kids too such as the Osprey Hikelight.  Womens bags are often for smaller frames, so they can also be good outdoor gifts for teens too.  
Osprey Jet 18 Kids Hiking Pack: The perfect outdoor gifts for kids who love to hike. Great motivation when kids have their own special bag. Great outdoor christmas gifts for kids

Osprey Tempest Womens 30L Hiking Pack. An extra small size will have a frame that is suitable for children, if you’re finding it hard to get your hands on a kids specific hiking pack

Day Bags or Overnight tramping packs for kids


Kids 5 – 10 years old

If you have kids in the 5-10 year old bracket, a good size hiking pack that can actually fit a decent amount of gear in it, is a 20-30L pack.  Do be aware that you do not want to overload your kids.  It will slow them down immensely and may ruin the hiking experience.

Good kids packs can be difficult to get hold of.  I love the Osprey brand, but they are often out of stock in kids sizes here in New Zealand.  But I’ve found a good workaround.

Check out the Osprey Tempest 30 in Womens size extra small.  The frame is small and has all the great features you need.  It was a really good fit for my 8 year old who is around 135cm tall and it wasn’t too bad a fit for my 125cm tall 6 year old.

We have the Osprey Jet 18 for my 6 year old which is a great sized day bag and he has carried this overnight while I carry the main gear.

Hiking boots

I highly recommend a pair of hiking boots if you like to tramp or hike in a offroad type setting.  We find that our kids love to walk more if there are rivers to cross and rocks to climb, rather than a boring flat walk.  Hiking boots keep their ankles safe, have excellent grip and some are even waterproof.

We were gifted some Northside boots for the kids.  One thing I like about them as that they go down to a kids size 11 (called toddler size) which can be hard to find.  (My kids were this size about age 4)  They are also waterproof and not all kids boots are.  The kids think they are really comfy and like them, so thats a tick from us

Nathan has also had a pair of Kathmandu boots which he liked too.  They weren’t waterproof, but to be fair, we never tested them through a river, but definitely keep your feet from getting muddy and wet in damp grass.

Recommendations for hiking boots

Northside Snohomish Boots
Kathmandu Messey Kids Boots

Hydration Bladder/Backpack

My kids absolutely love drinking out of a water bladder.  I actually have to get them to stop otherwise we have to stop for that many toilet breaks in places there just aren’t toilets.  So if you need to encourage your kids to drink, then its a must. A practical gift for outdoorsy children that will get used time and time again.

The boys have some that will fit into their hiking bag, and lots of hiking backpacks have spaces for them.  Kipton also has a specific Camelbak style bag that contains just the bladder and a small pocket with an emergency blanket in it.  Such a cool way for younger ones (who want to be cool and carry something) to have a bag that doesn’t add too much weight.

Recommendations for water bladders and backpacks

  • Camelbak water backpack 1.5L
  • Kipton had a kids one from Macpac, but they’re currently out of stock.  Keep an eye out to see if they come back
  • We have this Kathmandu 2L bladder and it’s been great so far. Perfect you already have a hiking bag with space for a water bladder (sometimes they’re not included)
Kathmandu Water Bladders make great outdoor kids gifts
Camelbak Hydration Backpack


A great navigation tool and a cool skill to have.  This is something I totally need to learn.  A compass and a contour map have totally got me beat.  For one of the more unique Christmas present ideas for kids which is sure to keep them busy, click on the link below.

Find a good quality compass here: A great gift idea for the adventurer kid! 

Hiking Poles


Kids just love being like their parents.  Whenever I choose to tramp with hiking poles, I always lose them to the kids.  So if you want to get your kids enthused about hiking, then in our house, new gear always works.

I find that most poles will compact down to a size that is suitable for kids too, so you can choose a pair you like and share.  We often only use one pole each.  One for stability and then a hand for balance.  Its also means we have 2 sets between the 4 of us.

Camping Gifts for Kids


Sleeping bag

I’m going to be a little controversial by saying that we don’t buy kids sleeping bags.  I really didn’t want to spend a decent amount of money on a sleeping bag that they would grow out of.  So my theory was to buy an adults bag, and if we needed the warmth, I would just use a jacket to tie off the bottom half of the bag to keep the warmth in (does that make sense?)

If you are car camping, then there is less issue with size and weight, however if you are tramping into a hut for example, then you want the sleeping bag to be as small and as light as possible.  And with that, comes a higher price tag.  The lighter and warmer the bag, the more expensive it is unfortunately.

Kids Sleeping Bags

 If you have your heart set on a childs sleeping bag, you could try one of these ones

Adult Sleeping Bags

  • I have 2 x Sea to Summit Sleeping Bags. We really like them and they have compression bags to help them pack down small.  Its important for us to have them pack small since we often hike to backcountry huts and need to carry gear for the whole family.
  • We also considered this North Face Sleeping Bag too which looked good.  The Kathmandu and Macpac ones didn’t compress as much as I wanted, so they were too bulky for a hiking bag when I was carrying more than one (I carry the kids gear) 
Kathmandu Pipsqueak Sleeping Bag
Deuter Starlight Kids Sleeping Bag
North Face Adult sized sleeping bag

Lantern or Head torch

Our kids just love to have their own things.  Their own head torch for camping, or reading under their covers, or just in case in their hiking bag.  They are always finding a reason to play in the dark.

For kids, a strap over the top of the head like this head torch can help keep it in place, better than a straight forehead strap.

We have found these to be great Christmas presents for kids and they fit perfectly into the Christmas stocking.  Honestly the best camping gifts for kids.


You don’t have to be a huge lover of camping to have a camp out.  There are many times the kids have slept in the backyard and had a ball.  A sturdy two person Torpedo 7 tent is ideal for the every now and then camper.  They are great outdoor tents for kids who want their own space, separate to adults.  Can also be a great outdoor gift for teenagers.

If you are looking for a family tent for some serious outdoor holidays, we recommend the Zempire Brand.  We have an AERO TXL PRO which has 4 separate bedrooms and is fully inflatable.  Easy to put up with just one person and no more fiddly tent poles.  You can buy this range on the Zempire website or from your local Hunting and Fishing Store.

Zempire TXL Pro Inflatable tent
Torpedo 7 2 person tent

Ropes, pulleys, carabiners, tarp (think bivvy making and beyond) 

These are like the art supplies of the outdoor world.  The tools to be creative.  The things the kids do with ropes… they are such flexible and fun outdoor toys for kids.  It’s one of the more unique kids gifts for Christmas, but we think open ended toys like these really encourage imagination in the outdoors.


Walkie talkies

Our kids love chatting to each other at the treehouse, but they are also useful for camping and travel.  Trust the kids to wander back to the tent while you are in the kitchen, or head down to the toilet by themselves when they’ve got a walkie talkie in hand.

If you are specifically after kids walkie talkies, then V-tech walkie talkies have a 200m range and some cute features like voice changers and messaging.  I prefer the adult ones as they are often clearer and have a much better range.  I used Uniden walkie talkies for work and they have a range of 3km in line of sight.

My kids think these are the best outdoor gifts for kids.

Uniden Walkie Talkies with 3km range
VTech Kids Walkie Talkie

Waterproof Cards

There is nothing worse than soggy, bendy cards.  Try these Kathmandu waterproof cards.  A great christmas present idea for your stocking stuffer.

General outdoor gift ideas for kids

These general outdoorsy items don’t need any explaining, so take a look at the list and see if there is anything to add to your birthday gift list, Xmas present ideas list and christmas stocking stuffer.


A great indoor and outdoor gifts for toddlers is a Kinderboard.  We have just bought one of these for Emilia and we love how its such a good open ended play toy.  It can be a balance board, a place to lie, a step stool, a race track for cars, a slide and more.

They can be used at all ages and can hold up to 485 pounds so even adults can use it too.

Find out the prices of a Kinderboard here

Gifts for sporty kids

Snow Gear

If your kids love the snow, how about an upgrade in ski or snowboard gear or some fun accessories?  In cold parts of the South Island, ski jackets and pants are a regular outfit so they can play outside without freezing their bums off so we always have a set.  Shop for snow gear here

Or how about a new set of goggles, gloves or thermal clothing?  We absolutely live in merino and thermal clothing in the winter.  We highly recommend

  • Dimples Merino for babies
  • Kathmandu Thermals for adults and kids – they run great sales regularly
  • Therm Outdoor are a great New Zealand brand who have awesome ski gear and outdoorsy jackets.  We love this gear on our kids and highly recommend them. The kids love their rainjackets and puffers that have funky designs when they are wet.
  • Icebreaker have some of the best merino I have tried, and I can’t do without their hiking socks.
The softest merino for babies - Dimples Merino
Kathmandu Thermals and Merino

Best Bikes for Kids

Bikes make great outdoor gifts for boys and girls.   In fact, Kipton learnt to use a balance bike when he was just 15 months old and has been a gun ever since.  If you have young toddlers, I highly recommend the Runna Mini Bike.  It’s the only balance bike I have found that is small enough to take 1-2 year olds, with my kids progressing to a more standard sized balance bike at 2.5 years old or so.  It is actually a trike to bike conversion, so they can start on a trike at 1 and move to the balance bike at 18months-2 years old.  Seriously so good, but wooden so don’t leave it out in the rain (can you guess we may have done that)

Top Tip:  If your kids ride a balance bike, they won’t even need training wheels.  Once they learn to pedal, they already have the balance as it’s the same on the balance bike.  Seriously took both of my kids 10 minutes to learn to ride a pedal bike.  Both were just over 3.5 years old.

Our kids used their first one speed pedal bike at about 3½ years old (a 16 inch) before progressing to a 6 speed at 5 years old. (20 inch) Bikes have the been the best gift, present, surprise the kids have been given and they use them so often that I don’t mind having to upgrade (why do they grow so fast!!)

Where to buy a bike

Trade me, Ebay or second hand: We have managed to pick up a number of decent bikes for $40 on Trademe.  Generally well looked after, or just need a new handlebar grip or something like that.  (Do make sure you see it in person and give it a ride before handing over the cash)


Shopping from the USA

Balance Bike Recommendation:  Strider Bikes are great quality, last up to around 5 years old if you need them too.  Click here to the latest prices on a Strider Bike

Shopping from New Zealand

Trike Recommendations: I highly recommend the Runna Mini Bike.

Balance Bike Recommendations:  The Madd range of balance bikes are great.  I highly recommend metal bikes over wooden bikes if you are likely to leave them outside in the rain (yes, that is me)  Madd also do good scooters as well  A few of my friends have these ones.

Bike Recommendations:  If you are looking for a new bike, we can recommend the Trek bikes.  Ashley bought one for himself for a reasonable price.  I will link which one we bought him and there are similar kids versions too.  Bikes make great gifts for kids and they usually last through however many you have.Bieks make

New Zealand: Runna Mini Trike /Balance Bike convert


A new helmet always helps to reinvigorate their love of biking.  The brand I prefer for the kids is Bell (from Torpedo 7)  I find they always get a nice fit around the head and never look wobbly.  Check out the prices of the Bell helmets here

If you are after a novelty helmet, the Warehouse have Frozen and Spiderman helmets, perfect for the little ones.  See their range here

Bell Helmets
Frozen and Other Character Helmets

Shotgun seat or bike seat for younger kids

Oh my lord, my toddler loves biking with me!  I mean my only warning with buying an awesome seat like the Shotgun seat is that you will never get them off it.  A Kids Ride Shotgun seat is a child bike seat mountain in front of the adult rider, meaning they no longer have to stare at your back all ride.  I love that it’s easy to chat to them, and they can have their own handlebars. 

It has definitely encouraged us to ride more and it’s so easy and even my 5 year old still loves it!  A great bridge before they are big enough to go on long rides themselves, or for older preschoolers who don’t quite have the legs to keep up.

I’m not sure whether this outdoor gift idea is for the parent or the child, but whoever you gift it to, the experience you’re having together is just awesome! (I mean, I’m not even a big biker but I love hanging with my little ones on these)

Grab a Shotgun Seat from an awesome kiwi company here (New Zealand does make the most incredibly unique outdoor gifts for kids)

Ashley and Kipton from Backyard Travel Family ride with their Kids Ride Shotgun mountain bike seat through Brooke Dawson Park, Hanmer Springs
Kids love riding on a Shotgun Seat - perfect for 2-5 year olds; the best outdoor gifts for toddlers and preschoolers
Kipton from Backyard Travel Family laughs and looks back at Dad on his shotgun seat in Hanmer Forest
Have that close connection and chat as they sit right in front of you. These make great outdoor gifts for boys and girls


Kids love scooters!  If you have toddlers, one with two wheels on the front for stability are great.  Wee 2 year old Emilia has this scooter from Torpedo 7 and picked up riding it in the shop while I was mountain bike shopping.  I had no plans of coming home with a scooter, but did anyway. Great gift ideas for outdoorsy girls like my Emilia.

For kids 7+ to adults, aMicroscooter is a great quality brand.  We bought Nathan one for his 8th birthday and its extremely well made and secure.  We bought him the Speed scooter that is suitable for 8-adult.  The only thing I have found is that the clearance underneath is very low, meaning it scrapes on the bottom sometimes when the surface is uneven.  I would be inclined to pick a “stunt, tricks” scooter from this brand if I chose again.  Still they are the best outdoor toys for big kids and I would buy from this brand again.

A Torpedo 7 Kids Scooter makes a fun gift for outdoorsy children
Micro Scooter


I always wanted a trampoline as a kid and never had one, so clearly I was compensating when I bought my 1 year old one for his birthday.  But 7 years down the track it is still going strong and now all three kids play on it daily.  One of the most fun outdoor activities for kids that will last you for years and years.

We have a Springfree trampoline designed right here in New Zealand and touted as the safest trampoline on earth.  I love it, and can’t say enough good things about it.  It is expensive compared to cheaper models but I really rate them.  We have had ours since 2013 and its still going strong.  Seriously, there are the safest and best trampoline in the World.

If you are in New Zealand and are looking for cheaper options, you could also try the Active Intent Trampolines (a budget option) or Superfly trampolines (also NZ designed) for a midrange option.  Trampolines are cool outdoor gifts no matter what age your kids are.  You’ll be onto a solid winner if you choose these outdoor gifts for girls and boys.

If you’re looking for kids outdoor gift ideas, then you won’t be disappointed with a Springfree Trampoline

NZ: Active Intent Trampoline
NZ: Superfly Trampoline


These are some of the best Birthday and Christmas present ideas for outdoor kids and outdoor families. We know that kids present ideas can be tough, but don’t forget that the best outdoor gifts are the ones that they are going to use, so follow their interests.  

We would love to know what else you would add to your present ideas list, so come and chat with us over on Facebook and Instagram.  Share with us your best Christmas gifts for boys and girls Christmas present ideas.


Isn’t there just a crazy amount of outdoor stuff for kids.  Before you go, we just remind you about our Disclosure: Backyard Travel Family is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to



Founder of Backyard Travel Family

Jen is a super organiser when it comes to travel. Having travelled extensively in Europe and Africa, has lived in London and the USA and holidayed in many parts of Asia, she is not a newbie to the travel space

Jen has three young children, 8 and under and travels around New Zealand with them.

Backyard Travel Family New Zealand. Lets share these articles and spread the love
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