Play Outside: Family Gift Ideas for a Pandemic Holiday Season - 510 Families

Play Outside: Family Gift Ideas for a Pandemic Holiday Season

At this point, we all know that 2021 may still hold some surprises in store (what will Inauguration look like? What month will the vaccine be available to my household? Will in-person school be available for K-12?).

What we do know is that we’ll probably spend a lot of time outside if we want to be with friends, and a lot of time inside will be dominated by attempts to get our kids engaged in cooperative activities.

This post is sponsored by Rising Wild, a new Adventure & Fitness program that involves an app, storytelling, & monthly mail to inspire kids to get outside & move!

Today we’re sharing some ideas for family gifts. These are things you might present to your whole household, or if you have generous grandparents in your life, suggest them as holiday gifts.

Ideas for Family Holiday Gifts

Rising Wild

Developed by the creators of Kids Obstacle Challenge, this bundle of goodies is designed for kids ages 4-14, but all members of the family can participate. Rising Wild involves an app (iOS & Android), activity cards, and seasonal packages mailed to subscribers, designed to motivate and get kids outside and moving.

family exercising together

Rising Wild activities include Events and Challenges. The Events take longer to complete (45 minutes or more), occur once or twice a month, and are available to the whole Rising Wild community at the same time (typically Thursday-Sunday). The Challenges take less time to complete (10-15 minutes for fitness challenges or 30 minutes+ for adventure challenges) and are constantly occurring in the app, with 15-20 new challenges unlocking in your app each month.

kids doing yoga
The Events & Challenges are designed to get kids and families moving their bodies and exploring outdoors, but many of the Challenges can be completed indoors if weather is not cooperating.

More family gift ideas

family gift ideas for outdoor winter

Super warm blankets

For socially-distanced visits, we put blankets out so that guests can put them on their laps on our backyard seating. I find that my kids are kind of obsessed with being cozy, so an uber soft blanket for every family member would go over quite well. My daughter and many of her friends got Comfy wearable blankets last year and I think every member of the family could benefit from one of those right now, too.

Sherpa-Lined Boots

Similar to blankets, these make forced family fun walks more tolerable. And if anyone slows your family down with their shoe-putting on skills, slip-on boots are your friend. Bearpaw brand boots are affordable and found at Dick’s Sporting Goods. UGGs are at Sports Basement for your shop local convenience, but cost 3x the Bearpaw brand. My kids wore their Bearpaws + PJs as their winter break uniform for many years.

Outdoor Heater

These propane heaters are surprisingly effective and definitely needed if you want to keep a visit going after the sun goes down. Note: the heater with a full propane tank in the base is pretty heavy. Make sure an able-bodied person in your house is willing to deal with placing it where it will go.

backyard heat lamp
Gathering ’round the heat lamp for storytelling.

Handwarmers + Headlamps

Need to cajole everyone out on a walk in the dark? The combo of a Hot Hands in their hoodie pocket and a personal headlamp will empower them to lead the way.

Inflatable Hot Tub

True story: this was my family’s pandemic splurge and it was worth it. It is incredibly firm and more comfortable than a fiberglass hot tub. It was super easy to set up — we placed it on a patch of grass we were willing to let die — and it heats up to 104 degrees. The cons? You have to maintain it. The tub and water requires a couple minutes of care every other day, so if you think you might simply ignore it for a week at a time, you might find it unusable when you go to get in. (Pro tip: Use an Amazon price tracker for a big splurge. We bought at a low price and saved a lot.)

Fire-pit for Patio or Yard

Burning firewood is frowned upon in Berkeley due to the environmental impact, so your choices are a gas firepit or using these cool clean-burning pellets in a firepit designed for wood or pellets. We absolutely love having a fire-pit as a centerpiece of outdoor gatherings and it really keeps the kids socially distanced when they sit around the fire in camp chairs. Which leads me to my next recommendation.

S’mores Kit

Special telescoping sticks for roasting marshmallows paired with a bag of marshmallows, graham crackers, and chocolate are an affordable gift for any firepit-using family.

Family Games

Thanks again to Rising Wild for sponsoring this gift guide. We have had a lot of fun making scavenger hunts for each other during the pandemic (here’s one for your toddler or preschooler) and can’t wait to check out the challenges they have in the program. (Use code BLACKFRIDAY to save on your a purchase from Rising Wild.)

rising wild activities ad

See also 15 Experience Gift Ideas for East Bay Families

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