Monday, November 10, 2014

Gift Ideas for Encouraging Nature Study

I don't know about your kids, but my boys love anything related to nature study and outdoor adventures, and I'm always looking for new tools and ideas to keep this love alive.  When looking for gift ideas, I try to look for both educational and entertaining, and I also want to consider their natural learning styles.  My boys love hands-on and interactive, but I wanted to come up with some gift ideas that take all interests (reading, art, etc) into consideration, so here are a variety of ideas that will hopefully ignite an interest in nature study, or continue to fuel their passion!

Gift Ideas for Encouraging Nature Study in Kids
This post contains affiliate links.

The Nature Connection: An Outdoor Workbook for Kids, Families, and Classrooms
This book is a collection of ideas for prompting observation, study and journaling of everyday things that we might overlook or take for granted.  You can write in the book, but you can also access the journal pages for free on the website.

For your mini-Edison who loves experimenting (my 7 year old) consider this book with nature-themed activities!

If you have a kiddo that likes to collect and inspect little creatures (my 5 year old!) this all-in-one tool should work!  It includes a headlamp, speciman jars, a scooper and tweezers.

Geoworld Bug's World 6 Real Insects
Speaking of your little entomologist, these real insects or Insect X-Ray and Picture Cards are sure to be a hit!

Have fun with birding or studying animals from afar with a pair of binoculars that are ideal for beginners.

Acrylic Soft Grip Magnifier
All explorers need a decent magnifying glass for studying bugs, plants, rocks and other fun finds.

Lighted Pocket Microscope
Also try a portable microscope for examining their smallest finds, and there's no need to carry specimens home with you!

Suunto A-10 Compass
If your kids enjoy hiking, camping or other outdoor "adventures" be sure to teach them navigational skills!

Gardening Projects for Kids: Fantastic ideas for making things, growing plants and flowers, and attracting wildlife to the garden, with 60 practical projects and 500 photographs
This isn't just a gardening book with plants to grow and harvest.  There are ideas for nesting boxes, a grass-head man and other creative projects to pique an interest in gardening and nature.  Great for the hands-on learner!

Flower Press Kit
Pressing flowers is great activity to combine nature study with scrapbooking, card making, and nature journals.  Perfect for the kid who loves crafting!

ROCK ON! Geology Game & Rock Collection
For your budding geologist this is a game and a beginner rock collection all in one!

PowerSeeker Telescope
Consider a telescope for nighttime entertainment!  This could be for siblings or a family gift as well.  Grab an astronomy book for kids to learn as much as possible!

Canon PowerShot ELPH135 Digital Camera
If your kiddo is mature enough, consider a digital camera to allow them to begin some nature photography.  Fun for hikes, camping or regular nature study!  Taking pictures is a great way to capture items that are too large to be collected or that won't sit still (birds, squirrels, etc) to sketch into a nature journal.

Nature Journal Supplies
You can start with a Sketch Pad and Colored Pencils and other simple supplies, but nature journals are a great way to encourage your kids to really notice details, and maybe improve their artistic skills as well.  This is also a great way to kids who may not be as enthusiastic about the outdoors to to appreciate nature more, particularly if they love art.

Finally, some ideas for bookworms of varying ages!  Books cannot replace nature study, but a good living book can teach a few facts and even inspire some outdoor adventures!

James Herriot's Treasury for Children by James Herriot
The Burgess Bird Book for Children and others by Thornton Burgess
Minn of the Mississippi and others by Holling C. Holling
Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
Blue Sky Bluebird and others by Rick Chrustowski
Poppy by Avi
The Year At Maple Hill Farm by Alice and Martin Provensen
Poetry for Young People: Robert Frost {arranged by season, making them ideal for nature study accompaniment}


Memberships make a great family gift that lasts all year long, and if you have some great indoor facilities nearby, they can be a nice way to study nature even during harsh winters.  Just take your nature journal supplies and have fun!  A few ideas:
Nature Center or Wildlife Preserve
Botanical Gardens
Natural History Museum

The Schoolhouse Review Crew has compiled a variety of gift guides, so if you need some inspiration, be sure to check them out!

©2011-2014 Mom’s Heart.  All rights reserved.  All text, photographs, artwork, and other content may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form without the written consent of the author.


  1. Great ideas! My girls would love that flower press. We like nature studies as long as there are no gross bugs or snakes involved. ;)

    1. I don't do snakes either, but luckily we don't really get them near the house. Bugs however...well, I often find my 5 year old son digging for, examining and even holding bugs!