The Outside Parents’ Gift Guide
From stocking stuffers to giving back, here's what we're getting our kids this season
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Looking for a last-minute gift this holiday season? We’ve got seven outdoorsy ideas for kids.
Sno-Storm Vipernex Sled ($56)
For years, we got by on cheap plastic sleds that we bought at the hardware store. They were good for a few runs, but they’d always crack before the season was over. This year we decided to invest in something a little sturdier: a two-seater Sno-Storm Vipernex foam sled with molded handles and a super-slick bottom. We’ve already been having fun with it. Sledding is such a great activity with kids, because there’s almost always a hill close to your home, walking the sled back uphill is great exercise, and you can do it as long—or as little,—as you want.
—Jacob Baynham, contributor
Motorola T100 2-Way Radios ($35)
Pure old-school fun here. Kids love playing with walkie-talkies on camping trips. Plus, there’s the safety factor of easily staying in touch with your budding explorer, whether they’re down the street or skipping ahead on the hiking trail.
—Sam Moulton, vice president, director of marketing
Chocolate and Cashmere Beret ($105)
I’m getting my daughter Pippa a cashmere beret at the local store Chocolate and Cashmere because it’s the warmest and most stylish piece of nontechnical gear this year. Great for walks to school, après ski, and the jaunt from car to climbing gym. It’s also low profile enough to fit under a bike helmet for riding to school.
—Katie Arnold, contributor
Leatherman Leap Kids’ Multitool ($40)
First things first: knives are tools, not toys. And experts generally agree it’s best to start teaching kids how to use knives with fixed blades in the kitchen. When they’re ready, get them a kid-specific multitool like Leatherman’s Leap , which is made for smaller hands and has a removable knife if they’re not quite yet ready to have their own blade. It will give them confidence to do all sorts of tasks—and help you with your helicopter-parent tendencies.
Stabilicers Cleats ($18)
A useful gift is snow cleats that fit kids boots. My son, Theo, and I got out for a hike the other day on a steep snowy slope, and he couldn’t stay on his feet. I had to hold onto his jacket and drag him most of the way down the mountain. Thankfully, Stabilicers sells extra-small cleats. Giving kids the confidence to not slip on slippery slopes or slick icy paths sounds like a great way to spend more family time outside this winter. I hope it will also get Theo excited about the fun you can have on snowy mountains when you’re not falling on your face.
Volunteer Time (Free)
This isn’t a traditional gift, but a gift it surely is: volunteering our time at the Santa Fe Humane Society. If you’ve got an animal-loving tween at home like I do but getting a pet isn't in the cards right now, here’s your solution. Like most shelters, our local humane society relies on volunteers to do the real hard job of loving on kittens, cats, puppies, dogs, and even rabbits. After short orientation classes that prepare you for a variety of behaviors and health precautions, you’re set free to play with and exercise all kinds of adorable creatures in an effort to bring out their friendly side, which makes them better candidates for adoption. Truly, this is the only thing my kid wants this year, and if it were possible to volunteer nine to five every day of her winter break, we’d be there.
—Tasha Zemke, copy editor
Specialized Riprock Mountain Bike ($465)
The biggest problem with kid-size bikes is that many of them are really heavy. The Riprock (available in both 20- and 24-inch sizes) is one of the lighter-weight kids’ bikes around, making it much easier to handle—especially as they start riding more technical terrain and bigger hills. The other reason it’s great: the 2.8-inch midfat tires, which make for better traction and also make the bike more stable and easier to ride.