While kids may want us to believe that the best gifts come with flashing lights and a power cord, we know the truth: Time outside is better than anything with a battery (except for, say, a spiffy headlamp). This holiday season, encourage your favorite child to soak in the sunshine or sashay through the snowflakes with any of the 14 items on this list. Each gift is parent approved—and we’re fairly certain Mother Nature likes ’em, too.
Best Kids' Bike
Cannondale Quick 24 Kids' Bike - Acid Red
Bike frame material Aluminum
Wheel size in.
Number of gears 7
What kid wouldn’t want a shiny red bike? Younger riders who are ready for handbrakes and shifting will love how the gearing on the Cannondale Quick 24 makes it easier to charge up hills and find speed on the flats. That, plus a lightweight aluminum frame, stable handling and 24-inch multi-surface tires make this our pick for cyclists ages 7–12.
Best Kids' Boots
Kamik Snowfall P Snow Boots - Kids'
Upper material Nylon
Ankle height 9.5 in.
Insulation Removable 8mm Zylex
Kids with warm feet are much happier than kids with cold feet. Thankfully, the waterproof Kamik Snowfall boots should allow children to tromp to school, craft magnificent snow forts and roll wicked snowballs without feeling a hint of chill. The secret is 8 mm of recycled polyester insulation wrapped in a rubber shell that helps these boots achieve a comfort rating down to -40°F. The Snowfalls also boast a hok-and-loop closure and bungee lacing system that are pretty easy for younger children to navigate.
Best Kids' Gloves
REI Co-op Timber Mountain Gloves - Kids'
Glove type Full finger
Best Kids' Helmet
Bern Nino 2.0 Mips Bike Helmet - Kids'
Helmet construction In-mold
Shell material Polycarbonate
Head circumference 20.5–21.85 in. (size Small), 21.85–23.2 in. (size Medium)
Here’s a gift that will make any parent smile: safety. This low-profile helmet from Bern comes equipped with MIPS—a sliding layer inside that helps protect against rotational force and brain injury during impact. It has
one million 13 vents to fight against overheating and a no-fuss size adjustment to dial in fit. It comes with a removable visor that’s perfect for riding in milder weather, but if you pop it out, your kid can wear a stocking cap underneath for warmer ears.
Best Kids' Backpack
REI Co-op Tarn 40 Pack - Kids'
Frame type Internal frame
Gear capacity 40 liters
Fits torso length 12–16 in.
Weight 2 lbs. 10 oz.
At some point, your child will start carrying their own weight. When that day blessedly arrives, consider the REI Co-op Tarn 40 for the job. The main packbag can swallow a sleep system, layers, water bottles and even a stuffed friend who may want to join the adventure, while a toplid pouch and stuff-it pocket help kids stay organized. It has a padded hipbelt and back panel that are adjustable like technical adults’ packs, plus it’s made with a durable recycled ripstop nylon that will shrug off moisture.
Best Card Game
Recommended for ages 7 and up
Number of players 2–10
A classic game of Mattel UNO can be a perfect outdoor activity on wind-free days once your kiddo knows their numbers and colors. If you’ve got little ones, opt for teams to start building number sense and strategic thinking. $10
Need more inspiration? Check out our Best Gifts for Less Than $50, Best Gifts for Runners, Best Gifts for Outdoorsy Dogs (and Their Humans), Best Gifts for Campers, Best Gifts for Skiers, Best Gifts for Hikers and Best Gifts for Snowboarders.