Top 10 Gift Ideas to Inspire Kids to Play Outdoors


Do you want your kids to play outdoors more but struggle to get them off the screens and out the door?  Yes?  Me too!


The holidays are the perfect time to reflect and re-align our lives with our deepest values.  If you value outdoor play, here are some fun ideas for gift giving this holiday season, to help your kids get outdoors and active. (Note: none of these are affiliate links, since I don’t even know how to set that up. 😃  These are just products I like and am recommending.  I get no remuneration if you click on any of these links…but I would love to hear your feedback about any of the items if you do end up trying them out!) 


10 Holiday Gifts for Kids to Inspire Outdoor Play


Give them a gift you can feel good about.

1. A huge refrigerator box- put it out on the porch or in the backyard and let the pretend play begin!  Best of all- this one is usually FREE.  (Although as an accessory with this gift, you should have a box cutter or exacto knife on-hand for the adults to help when doors or windows need to be cut!)

2. This Huggle Pod swing provides a calming small space for children to relax.  Great for kids who need a place of their own to calm down or be in a quiet space.

3. Sticklets are an awesome gift for kids who like to build!  They allow children to connect sticks together to build structures or forts without the need for twine or rope to tie the sticks together.  I haven’t used these yet but am just dying to try them out!  See them in action here:


4. The Bungee Bounce swing gives kids a healthy dose of vestibular input, and younger kids can ride it with a friend.  Children also get some proprioceptive (or deep pressure/heavy work) input when pushing against the ground with their feet to make the swing bounce.

5. The Rope Climber swing is always a favorite in our outdoor occupational therapy groups with kids.  Children can sit on the disk at the bottom or climb up the smaller “steps” along the rope.  This swing allows children to build core strength while holding on and lifting their legs while in a seated position.  Children also work on motor planning and upper body strength when climbing up the swing.

6. The Round and Round swing is great for children who are a little unstable on traditional swings.  It provides a wide base of support for the child to sit, with ropes to hold onto for stability.  When your child is comfortable in sitting, have them try kneeling or standing on the swing.  

7. The Zoom ball is a favorite therapy toy of occupational therapists around the globe.  We love it because it requires a child to carefully time their motor movements, and requires them to use both hands together.  AND it is SUPER fun for kids and adults! 


8. Wheels!  Any wheeled item that your child doesn’t have yet is a good bet for getting them outdoors and active.  Think: scooters, bikes, skateboards, roller skates, roller blades (remember those?!), or a unicycle (only for the very advanced!).  Other options: a new helmet, a bike bell, or a bike or scooter basket so they can carry stuff while wheeling around.

9. A good powerful flashlight.  Headlamps are especially fun for children to use since they allow them to be hands-free in the dark outdoors.

10. A real pair of compact binoculars.  There is something magical about seeing wildlife up close through a pair of good powerful binoculars.  

I hope this list has inspired you to get an outdoor play gift for your child this holiday season!  What are YOUR favorite gifts for outdoor play? 


Laura Figueroa