Here are some gift ideas for wild-loving families, all of which have been tried and tested by Kids of the Wild. These are not reviews, just things we’ve owned and loved and recommend, with links to buy online should you wish. There’s even something for the dog!
For all the family – plan your next wild adventure with this compact little globe featuring animals of the world in their country of origin. Our Animal Globe by Stellanova comes with an educational mini-encyclopedia giving brief facts on each animal to help decide what to spot, where!
Newborns & crawlers – this gorgeous wooden push-along puppy grasper is great for helping little ones learn to crawl. Made from smooth wood it has a moveable head and bell around its neck.
Butterfly Board Game
For ages 3+ – Minimi is a lovely game with heavy-duty board pieces and large wooden die. Match the butterflies in your garden with the colour scheme on the die but watch out for the thieving cat! Great for counting and colour coordination. Ours was from Insect Lore.
Nature Spotter Guide Books
All ages – we have lots of wildlife books ranging from ‘My First’ guides, to sticker books, Usborne guides, the fantastic I-Spy books of my youth (which have made a recent comeback) to marine mammal books and guides for specific countries we’ve visited. Our Seashore guide gets used every year at the beach and the Usborne Big Spotter’s Sticker Book was a bargain buy and is now tatty from over-use!
Age 18+ – my beloved whittling knife was a gift from my sister and is great for meditative campfire relaxation or creating larger items such as bows, arrows and walking stakes. This Craftman’s Knife has an enhanced grip and a strong sheath for safe storage. For an accompanying book on how to whittle with some excellent photo tutorials see my post The Little Book of Whittling.
After our worrisome incident with the sharp stick and the vet, we’re no longer throwing natural sticks for Fidge. This injury-free alternative is very hard-wearing, being Kong branded. Double paws-up from Fidge!
Wildcraft! Board Game
Ages 4 to adult – a cooperative game from the USA to encourage an interest in wildflowers, herbs and their uses. All the Kids of the Wild we know who’ve played Wildcraft! really enjoyed it and were fascinated by plant uses. There are free online resources with the package. All except two of the plants are native to the UK.
All ages – perfect for preserving and recording plants and great for pressed flower craft. This is my old childhood press but there are dozens of flower press styles out there.
River Crossing Game
Ages 8+ (we think 7) – this Thinkfun logic game is for either one person or team collaboration. Includes 40 challenge cards, logs, stumps and an intrepid Explorer. Work out how to move the logs to cross the river without getting the explorer wet.
Lottie and Finn Dolls
All ages – we love Lottie dolls’ realistic body shape and positive role modelling. There’s also a male doll called Finn and some come with educational accessories like Stargazer Lottie Doll‘s telescope and planet cards or Fossil Hunter Lottie’s bag of ammonites and tools. The photo shows how they also inspire creative imagination.
Age 3+ – this has been a constant favourite in our house with the style of play evolving as Caroline gets older. Ours is a second-hand Chad Valley set no longer in production but this wooden farmyard is similar. Building a train track around the farm doubles the fun and opportunity for creative expression.
Wooden Train Set
Age 3+ – did anyone else notice Father Christmas’ train set obsession 4 years ago? Wow, he went mad for Brio on eBay! It was a worthy obsession and we’ve loved the resulting hours of train fun ever since. Ours is (obviously) second-hand but this Brio railway set is a good place to start your collection (and you can always suggest eBay to Santa for any extras you need!).
A smart idea to get wild kids involved when there’s gardening to be done. The kids garden tool set comes with tools and a starter book and the metal wheelbarrow makes little ones feel all grown up to be helping out.
Age 4+ with adult supervision – we have successfully grown two batches of caterpillars with this butterfly kit. The net is reusable and you can order caterpillars online. It is thrilling for youngsters to watch the process and see the butterflies emerge to be released into the wild.
Bug Hunting Kit
Age 3+ – this Bug Safari kit is a basic set for first-time insect spotters, there are probably more robust ones around. The miniature microscope was a separate gift which again is great for little ones.
Waldorf Birthday Ring
All the family – we were introduced to these delightful birthday ring decorations by a friend several years ago and they instantly became a new family tradition. Buy base pieces in garland form as pictured or as plain rings; there’s rainbow coloured and even a blue one for Halloween. Add the wooden decorations each year for an added birthday treat.
Age 4+ – Dobble was introduced to us on a camping trip. It’s compact to travel with and great fun on a rainy day. We have Dobble Kids but there are other versions including animals and adult games too.
Personalised OS Maps
All the family – excellent for anyone who’s just moved house to celebrate their new ‘territory’, as a memory of a special hike or event or simply for those who just love maps. Order from Ordnance Survey online, selecting any UK location as the centre of your map; upload your own cover photo for the finishing touch.
And here are two gifts that Santa hopefully knows are on Kids of the Wild’s Christmas list for this year!
Lego Friends Adventures
Ages 6 – 12 – For Lego-lovers everywhere, these Lego Friends Adventure Camp Rafting and Adventure Camp Tree House sets include climbing walls, canoeing, camping, animals and activities such as archery – for the days you can’t get out to do the real thing. We’re looking forward to a constructive Christmas!
UPDATE 2017 – This was a much-loved present and triggered a year of Lego Friends construction with birthday requests for other sets in the collection! Be prepared to take out a loan….!
Planet Earth DVD Game
All ages – we’ve been recommended this by friends, being lovers of all things Planet Earth, so will report back after Christmas as to what it’s like. If you’ve played before we’d love to hear your thoughts – comment below, without spoilers please!
Hope this gives you a little wild inspiration for the coming Christmas season!
UPDATE 2017 – Another excellent present, played lots by all the family and a great way to learn more about our incredible planet. Ours came in a limited edition tin with a card game version which is great for camper van fun!