Great Outdoors Gift Ideas For Kids

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There’s an epidemic sweeping the world in today’s technologically enhanced world. And it is affecting our children at an alarming rate.

Kids just do not get outdoors anymore. The Nature Conservancy and other organizations have produced studies that show that all of us, and especially children, are drastically reducing the amount of time spent with outside activities in favor of television, movies, Net surfing and video games.

A Kaiser Family Foundation study said that children spend 6.5 hours of quality time daily with electronic equipment. Another study put children aged 6 to 11 in front of the TV or a computer screen 30 hours a week on average.

While some time with electronic gadgets isn’t so bad, consider this: if children do not make a connection with nature at an early age, they may never do so. And that is a frightening fact that can have major implications for our environment as the younger set grows into adulthood.

There is no denying that a Wii, PlayStation or cool cell phone will certainly be drooled over gifts this Christmas, but it might be a good idea to balance those desires with gifts designed to get children introduced to the outdoors. Here are a few ideas to jump start that thinking:

Something with wheels. A new bike, rollerblades, scooter, skateboard, wheeled shoes. The outdoors doesn’t have to be the deep woods or a quiet pasture. Cruising down the sidewalk or up the road is a good start.

Binoculars. A good set is not very expensive and opens up a new world outside.

Telescope. Also fairly inexpensive for a starter set and one look at the surface of the Moon, the rings of Saturn or Jupiter’s moons may just be enough to get them interested for a long time to come.

Fishing rod and some tackle. Fishing gear comes in all different sizes, even kid-sized. Throw in some tackle, lures and a box to hold it all and you could introduce those children to a lifelong passion.

Kites. Name your price range and you are likely to find a kite to match. Remember how much fun it was to catch a breeze running and feel the tug of the wind on your string? What child could resist?

Night vision goggles. Believe it or not, they are available for under fifty bucks at some large department stores and they let kids see up to fifty feet in total darkness. How awesome is that?

A sled. It won’t take much snow to make a sled go. They come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and there are few kids on the planet who wouldn’t jump at the chance to fly down a hill on a sled.

Inexpensive digital camera. Some of the lower megapixel models have gotten very affordable as higher end models saturate the market. It’s an electronic device, but one that can be used outside to capture all kinds of bugs, birds, or maybe you sledding down a hill. All right, so they will have to upload the pictures to MySpace or Facebook later on, but at least they spent time outside taking the shots.

A canteen. Hiking, biking or just walking to a friend’s house can work up a thirst and it’s good to stay hydrated.

Backpack. Great for stuffing a take along lunch, snacks and gear for a long hike outdoors.

Net and a bug jar. For the younger ones, but a great way for kids to find out about bugs and stuff.

So put down the remote, turn off the computer, step away from the couch and get outdoors. Explore. Breathe. Relax. And feel good about introducing children to nature and to their own backyards.

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Source by Robert J. Korpella