With the overwhelming options of toys and gadgets replete with requisite bells and whistles on sale for Christmas, it's sometimes hard to find simple, economical gifts that children will cherish and use through the whole year, once the Christmas season (and the initial excitement of something new) has passed. With this in mind, the team at Nature Play WA have put their heads together and created a list of nature-based gift ideas that would suit any little nature player!
It’s never too early to get the kids interested in messing about in the garden, and gifts that encourage kids to grow their own food, discover the different growing seasons, and learn the responsibility that comes with tending a garden (those weeds never seem to stop growing!) Any plant nursery or gardening store will have a great range of kids’ gardening kits, starting from only a few dollars. You’ll also find kid-sized gloves, tools, and even mini wheelbarrows to really let them feel the part!
Worm farms and composting kits are a great gift for mini gardeners too, showing kids how we can do more with leftovers than just throw them in the bin!
Every little explorer needs a kit to take on their adventures. Starting with a small backpack, you can add any or all of these: a water bottle, binoculars, magnifying glass, notepad and pencil and small plastic tubs for the collection of specimens found when you’re out and about. You might even include a book about local flora and fauna, to inspire future expeditions.
For parents who aren’t faint of heart, you might want to invest in some challenging gifts for your resident daredevil. Turn the side of your house or garage into a climbing wall, with rock wall hold kits. You can buy small rock hold sets right through to fully built-out walls, depending on budget and level of enthusiasm you have for the idea of your child scaling great heights. Pocket knives are a great idea for parents keen to offer their kids a new level of responsibility for their personal possessions, and a gift that’s also a tool that will travel with them as they grow. With the appropriate training and supervision, it’s a great way for kids to learn responsibility and safety. There are some great online reviews of pocket knives for kids which will help you choose the right one for your child.
Got a nature player who’s crafty to boot? Why not decorate a cardboard box and fill it with everything a nature crafter needs? Start with scissors, string, tape and glue, some poster paints and glitter, and then all you need are the treasures you’ll find on your nature walks to create beautiful works of art. Craft supply stores will have all the things you need to get started.
For kids who love the beach or the river, goggles, snorkel and a set of flippers is always a good bet. They’ll spend ages exploring the underwater world, discovering treasures and watching the creatures that inhabit our waterways. A bucket and spade set is also a sure-fire winner for mini architects to use building sandcastles, moats, tunnels and waterways. These can be picked up in toy stores and outdoor gear shops, and won’t break the bank.
Cubby Building Kit
Keen to recreate your Play Out Day masterpiece in your own backyard? Putting together a DIY cubby kit is a great way to inspire creative building (and re-building) of a backyard play space, no matter how big or small. Sourcing branches could be as simple as your own backyard, or speaking with neighbours when it’s coming up to green waste collection. You could also speak with your local council as to whether they give away branches lopped from council trees, or speak with arborists and timber milling companies that sell “bush poles” – branches sawn from larger logs and trees that have already had the foliage removed.