14 Christmas Gifts for the Budding Naturalist

FreePhoto.com Image by Simon Howden

Shopping for the nature lover is easy. Gifts to help the nature lover, especially a budding one, can be simple and inexpensive. Gifts like these don’t usually require batteries or cables. The object of the game is to keep is simple. This is about connecting to nature rather than gadgets and kids need to be trained to value gadgets. They can also be trained to value life over things.

For the wee ones, 18 mos to 3 yrs you want to encourage observation but they aren’t yet ready to handle a lot of tools. For these guys I’d keep it really simple:

  • A Magnifying bug box that you can put small things in to allow the wee ones see them up close (while reducing the chances of it ending up in their mouths).
  • Books that focus on natural processes like The Very Hungry Caterpillar or Oh My, Oh My, A Butterfly
  • But mostly the best gift you can give these guys is time outdoors so that they can explore and wonder

For kids 3 to 6 you can start them on their own journalling kit.

  • Plain paper and some crayons or colored pencils so that they can start drawing what they see
  • Magnifying bug boxes or magnifying glasses
  • Bird feeder(s) with seed that they can fill and watch what comes
  • Flowers to plant that attract wildlife
  • Time with them to explore

From 6 up it is really a matter of the child’s interest and experience

  • A more sophisticated journal along with pencils for drawing or note taking
  • Beginners field guides (Peterson First Guides have some great starter books.)
  • Magnifying glasses and collection jars (clean plastic jars like jelly and mayonnaise jars are a good starter)
  • A pocket digital camera
  • Beginners binoculars (start with something light and easy to use like small fixed focus binos)
  • Time with them to explore

With the exception of the Peterson books, I haven’t included links here because I haven’t experimented with any of the products that I looked at so I don’t want to imply either affiliation with or endorsement of a product. I have no affiliation with the Peterson Guides I just know that they are, for most people, easy to use and quite popular.

The key thing is, keep it simple and focus on the interest of the child. As the focus narrows, narrow your choices. If exploration starts young, it usually lasts a lifetime and that’s the best gift of all.

Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Leave a Reply

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>