Last year I posted gift ideas for the outdoor family, this year I’m recommending giving the gift of scientific inquiry. So, here are few items we have had (or hope to have) success with:
Don’t tell Ari, but this is actually our big family gift this year. It came in the mail last week, Joe and I tore it open after the kids went to bed just to be sure it was all we hoped it would be. It was. Every day now I think of something I wish we could look at under the microscope. It’s going to be great.
We got an AmScope 10x-60x Stero Microscope. We got a stereo microscope (aka dissecting microscope) so we could look at everything from rocks to plants at a variety of magnifications rather than simply looking at microscope slides of unrecognizable cells (which can also be fun).
Make a small press that can be thrown in your kid’s backpack so they can press flowers, leaves and grasses along the trail. You can also get a small plant guide specific to your area so they can identify their specimens.
We have several different sizes of these carriers and we use them all the time for catching insects, collecting rocks, creating a small wetland habitat or filling full of ‘treasures’. You can even present the cage with an insect or egg case or even a hermit crab already living in it.
I suppose you could get a butterfly net, but aquatic nets are a lot more fun for kids. It’s easier for them to catch stuff. Besides, what kid dosn’t like an activity that involves water? More details on the joys of catching macro-invertebrates here.
Our whole family loves the BBC’s Life DVD’s. It’s faster paced than Planet Earth (less slow panoramic scenic shots), so it does a great job of holding my kids attention. My 6 year old has even started producing and narating his own nature videos because of this series. There are two versions, one narrated by David Attenborough the other by Oprah Winfrey. We went the David Attenborough route, I just couldn’t take the Oprah version seriously.
Also, check out these gift ideas from other outdoor bloggers: