Green Gifts that Get Kids Outside

There are so many wonderful holiday traditions!  From building snow shelters, to hunting for that perfect (or not-so-perfect) Christmas tree, to snuggling inside with some hot chocolate and watching movies, to making tamales with family, the winter is truly a magical time of year.  Along with those wonderful traditions, often comes the stress, financial burden, and environmental impact of gift giving. This year, we are sharing some eco-friendly gift ideas that also support our mission of getting kids outside and connecting kids with nature.  Check out our list! 


  • Check out the Gear Fix for gift ideas like kids’ snowshoes, skis, winter boots, or sleeping bags that will fuel future outdoor adventures both near and far. The Gear Fix is also a regular supporter of Children’s Forest partners and programs – they are a great part of our community!
  • Sigh…we love children’s books!  Luckily, you can find amazing used books both online (try Better World Books, Powell’s, or Thiftbooks) and at local bookstores.  Here are some titles that we love:

Fatima’s Great Outdoors by Abreen Tariq

Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner

We Are Water Protectors by Carole Lindstrom

Ten Ways to Hear the Snow by Cathy Camper

Ruby’s Birds by Mya Thompson 

Call Me Tree/Llámame Árbol by Maya Christina Gonzalez 

A Way With Wild Things by Larissa Theule

  • Gift an experience with ideas like a family membership to High Desert Museum or Sunriver Nature Center and Observatory.  SNCO is also offering private family experiences in response to COVID-19, including a Private Star Party and an Owl Meet & Greet.
  • Experience gifts can also be free or low cost!  Give your kids a coupon for a fun family outing, like an outdoor fire with s’mores or a winter tea (or hot chocolate) party at a park.
  • Sledding is one of the most joyous activities there is.  Look for used sleds, or sleds made out of recycled materials like this one.
  • Whether you are camping or in the backyard, kids love hammocks!  They can swing, read books, look at the tree tops, and invent all sorts of games with hammocks.  Check out Kammok or Nakie, which both sell outdoor hammocks made out of recycled materials.
  • Sometimes there is nothing better than the simple joy of jump roping or hula hooping.  The Green Toys Jump Rope is made with 100% recycled materials.  Check out Spinsterz, our local hoop shop who provides durable hula hoops and lifetime free repairs.
  • Provide some habitat for birds and bugs with a bird house kit or a bug hotel kit.  Here are some store bought options (bird house, bug hotel), but you can always make your own with recycled or repurposed materials (see this blog about making bird feeders with your family).  
  • Want to support your little one’s curiosity about nature?  Gift them My Nature Journal, created by the Children’s Forest staff.  The journal has 21 self-guided activities focused on exploring your senses, getting oriented, learning about nature, and art and reflection.

We’d love to hear about your green gift ideas that support getting kids outside!  Happy holidays!