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Give the Gift of Outdoor Experiences!

Wondering how to help kids celebrate the special people in their life this holiday season? This year, give loved ones the gift of experiences together in nature! Giving kids and grown-ups the chance to play and spend time in nature together is a super way to gift all of the health and wellness benefits of time outdoors, spark joy, and create playful family memories together. In this activity we share ideas for how kids can turn an ordinary jar into an outdoor gift for a special person in their lives that keeps on giving long after the winter holidays.

This activity is featured in our December Activity Calendar. If you do not yet have your free copy of the calendar, get it here.

The Guide

Gather your materials: 

Grab a jar or other container with a lid and a pen or marker. Cut a piece of paper into small strips.

Make an Outdoor Adventures Jar! 

Show kids your jar or container and ask, "Do you know what this is?" Take answers, then let them know it is no ordinary jar...it is an Outdoor Adventures Jar.  This is a special holder for all of the ways we can spend time outside together as a family.” Let kids know that the person they gift this jar to can choose ideas from this jar every time they want to play together outside. Wonder together who might enjoy a jar filled with ways to play outside with your child (e.g. parent, sibling, friend, family member, other special grown-up). 

Offer a few art materials (e.g.  paper, markers or crayons, tape, objects from nature) and invite kids to decorate the jar for their special person. What colors and shapes might they like?

Brainstorm and fill the jar: 

Talk with kids to brainstorm outdoor activities you could do with their special person to make them happy.  You can print, cut out and include these ready-to-roll ideas (with QR codes to special directions or without).



Or, write ideas down on any slips of paper and fill your jar with them. Here are some to start with:

You can also brainstorm with kids what they love and appreciate most about their special person. Write your compliments and appreciations down on your slips of paper and add them to the jar. The gift recipient can enjoy reading them whenever they need a little boost of joy.

Gift your Outdoor Adventures Jar: 

Present your child’s special person with your Outdoor Adventures Jar. Explain that it is filled with ways that you can spend time outdoors together.  When they are ready to redeem their gifts, they can choose one of the outdoor activities or pull a surprise idea out of the jar.

Why is this activity great for kids?

Thinking about another person and what they would enjoy is a super way to help kids get hooked on kindness, the joy of giving and boost empathy. When you incorporate nature and outdoor play into gift giving and celebrations you’re letting kids know that the natural world, and connecting with it, is important—so important it is associated with the things and people you cherish most. 

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