Sunday, 4 December 2016

Top 5 Nature Gifts for Kids this Holiday Season

A southern hemisphere Christmas coincides with the start of the summer school holidays, so it's the ideal opportunity to give gifts that encourage children out into nature.

Here are my top 5 nature gift tips for kiwi kids.

1. Something to read and something to do. Pair a nature book with an exploration aid - binoculars, magnifying glass, waterproof notebook or bird whistle.
Team 'At the Beach' with a waterproof notebook

2. Create a nature explorer kit. Repurpose a box, container  or bag for a simple kit. Add magnifying glass, a jar or see through plastic container (for observing finds before putting them back), tape measure or ruler, notebook. For older children who might be venturing further afield, consider a tramping kit such as: compass, local topographical map, whistle and torch. Or a beach kit such as: snorkel and mask, flippers, marine guide.

'At the Beach' and 'Under the Bush' come with ID cards
ideal to make up part of the nature explorer kit
3. Give a day's outing to a sanctuary, wildlife park, aquarium or reserve. Or for older children give an opportunity to learn a new outdoor skill, such as kayaking, rafting or a high ropes course.
Tiritiri Matangi is accessible by ferry from Auckland,
a gift voucher for the trip makes a great present
4. Sign them up to a nature club or activity. Some are free to join, others have a fee but go on giving all year round with magazines and local activities. Kiwi Conservation Club, Young Birders NZ, Kiwi Guardians, Kiwi Rangers. Orienteering or geocaching might also interest older children.
Young Birders New Zealand - free to join
and get the Fledglings magazine
5. A piece of equipment to help them enjoy the outdoors.  For the little ones who don't have phones (with cameras), point and shoot digital cameras can be picked up second hand relatively cheaply. Someone you know might even have one sitting unused in a drawer somewhere. Older children can be enticed outdoors with Go-Pro cameras or underwater cameras. If you (or the children you are getting gifts for) are going camping, tramping or to a bach - life jackets, sleeping bags, torches, jackets, and so on, make good gifts.

Rafting and camping along the Clarence River
life jackets were provided, waterproof cameras came in handy!

And, once they have their gifts, spend some time with kids in nature, that's the biggest and best gift you can give.