Top Ten Small Gifts for the Outdoorsy and Playful

by Meghan Fitzgerald

For many of us, these are the final days before gift giving, and it’s time to fill the gaps on our shopping lists, make sure we have small gifts on hand, or stuff some kiddos’ stockings.

To help us all make the most of these last moments to shop, we polled our Tinkergarten team, and to follow are their top ten small gifts for the outdoorsy and playful:

Compass—Keep a compass in your pocket. Bring it out whenever you are outdoors, and share how fascinated you are by how it works and what it can teach you. Even though young children won’t fully understand directions, the earth’s magnetic field or even how to use a compass, they will benefit from exposure and will grow curious, building a foundation for a lifetime of navigation to come!

Treasure Box—Giving kids a small box that is designated for tucking away treasures is a joyful and clear invitation to slow down and savor the amazing objects that await out in nature.

Collecting bag—The drive to collect is innate, and small humans benefit on so many levels from collecting. All you need is a small canvas bag. Kids can use it to gather and transport objects. And, it’s easy for you to bring it with you whenever you go outdoors. Find canvas bags online or at a local craft supply store. (Tinkergarten families, you can even iron on your badges!)

Magnifying glass—Tuck a magnifying glass in your collecting bag, and help you and your kids experience nature treasures up close. We love large magnifiers, natural magnifiers, as well as tough and made-to-bring-anywhere options.

Tissues—Fresh winter air inspires bodies and noses to run! A travel pack of tissues is like gold for the outdoorsy parent.

Lip balm—Have lip balm handy. Lips that are protected can enjoy the elements while remaining soft and safe! If you can, pass over petroleum based products for natural options like Burt’s Bees.


Reusable hand warmers—Heat them up before you head out, and tuck them in your bag or pockets. They’re there when you or your kiddos need a boost. Or, tuck them inside wool socks, turning those socks into heated mittens kids can put on if their hands get wet or cold. Try handmade warmers or boilable warmers.

Snowstoppers mittens—We’ve tested them all, and Snowstoppers are really superb at staying on even the most stubborn hands!

Soft wool socks—Use them as intended OR to put on kids if their mittens get wet or just have to come off. Smartwool and Darn Tough are two brands that really deliver, but any soft, wool socks will do!

Washable liquid watercolor paints or food coloring—Use washable liquid watercolors or food coloring (beware staining) to add color to winter play by making frozen treasure or painting the snow.

Experiences can fit in any package, but are huge! Finally, we always love to give gifts of experiences—including gift cards that give the gift of Tinkergarten!

We hope these help you find just the right small gifts—the kind that will get the people you love outdoors to play in 2019! And, we wish you the most wonderful end to 2019 and look forward to learning together in 2020, too!

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