Gift ideas for kids

Gift ideas for adventurous kids

A kid who’d rather be on two wheels than two feet. A toddler discovering snow for the first time. A teen who lives for fresh pow and spends hours in the terrain park.

Got one of these adventurous kids on your holiday shopping list? Give the gift of good times outside. Here are a few gift ideas for kids who’d rather be skiing, hiking, biking, running or exploring than hanging out inside.

1. A new bike

Start them young with this pedal-less push bike that they’ll be zipping along on in no time. Also known as a balance bike, this option is best for ages 2–5.

Is your little ripper ready for a bigger ride? The Ghost Powerkid 12” Bicycle comes with training wheels to get them started, and they’re easy to remove when it’s time to graduate to two-wheeled glory. For bigger kids ready to hit the trails, check out the MEC Dash Bicycle – it’s a durable pick that’ll survive all sorts of adventures to be passed on to younger siblings.

2. Fun waterproof mitts

Warm fingers mean happy kids. These waterproof animal mitts feature all sorts of creatures, and the big opening makes it easy for parents to slip them onto little hands.

Want more fun mitts? Check out the Happy Mitts, too.

3. A cozy hat

Keep their ears warm on chilly walks to school or snowshoe excursions. The fun colour and design make this animal toque super kid-friendly. Plus, it’s lined with fleece that’s soft against little faces.

If they’re not into animal hats, try a classic pom-pom toque or a windproof, insulated trapper hat.

4. A rain jacket so they can play outside longer

Extend their puddle-jumping sessions with a fleece-lined waterproof-breathable jacket – or, for the smaller set, the legendary MEC Newt Suit. With these protective outer layers, kids can explore the outdoors no matter what the weather is doing.

5. Indoor bocce

When the weather outside is frightful, try a game of indoor bocce. These soft bocce balls won’t dent your walls or floor – and they can double as juggling balls. Bonus: they float, so they’re great for beach bocce, too.

6. A durable helmet

Protect that noggin. Inspired by skate-style, this Smith kids’ helmet does double-duty for snowsports and cycling, and if they like the way it looks, they’re more likely to want to wear it. Fuzzy removable earpads and a self-adjusting elastic make it super comfortable.

7. Fun snacks

Unusual treats make great stocking stuffers. This futuristic dehydrated cheese is salty and delicious, and it’s fun to eat. Shopping for a kid with a sweet tooth? Try this freeze-dried ice cream sandwich.

8. A new backpack

Kids' backpacks

Let them shoulder part of the load on day hikes and overnight trips with a kid-sized hiking pack. Padded shoulder straps and a well-ventilated back keep things comfortable on family wanders in the woods and trips to camp.

Or get them geared up for mountain biking season with a sleek hydration pack made to fit smaller bodies. It holds 1L of water, plus a jacket and other small essentials they’ll need for a day on the trails.

9. A kid-sized ukulele

Get ready for singalongs around the campfire or cabin. This lightweight ukulele is great for travel and comes with a manual to get them started.

10. Awesome socks

Kids socks

Bright, fun ski socks or hiking socks make any day better. Even the tiniest family members can get in on the fun with this Smartwool sock 2-pack. Plus, these socks are all made with merino wool to keep small toes warm.

11. Cozy base layers

Kids base layers

Give them a solid foundation for ski days and camping trips with lightweight, moisture-wicking base layers. These MEC long johns have flat seams to prevent chafing, and an anti-odour treatment for an extra wear or two before it’s time for a wash.

12. Their first puffy suit

Toaster suits and down stroller bag

Keep tiny passengers warm and cozy in their stroller or bike trailer. The Ride Warm Stroller Bag is an ideal gift for new parents who want to bring their babies along on winter adventures. 650-fill-power duck down is so toasty, you’ll wish it came in adult sizes.

If you’re shopping for a more active kid, try the MEC Toaster Suit or Toaster Bunting Suit. Redesigned for 2018, these waterproof, insulated one-piece suits are now tougher than ever to stand up to the demands of serious snow play.

13. A comfy carrier

OK, so this might be more of a gift for active parents. But the MEC Happytrails Child Carrier Backpack has been getting families out into the woods together for more than 18 years. Check out some of its 150 reviews:

  • “I love this backpack. Since I picked it up earlier this year, we’ve gone on 20+ hikes with it all over Southern Alberta and Yukon. We’ve even gone backcountry camping with it.” – Melissa
  • “This backpack is the ONLY carrier my 6-month-old son likes to be in! He hates the stroller, never liked those carriers that snug the baby right up to you, but LOVES being in the backpack! Best purchase I’ve made for my son.” – Valberta

“We were given this as a gift by my dad a year ago. It’s been phenomenal – both my wife (5’6, 115lb) and I (6’2 230lb) wear it and can easily conquer good treks with it on our backs. Super comfortable to wear, easy to maneuver with and most importantly comfortable for our son. He often falls asleep in it while we’re hiking along if he’s not checking out the sights and sounds!” – Josh

14. Fog-free goggles

These youth goggles are designed to cut down on fogging to help kids keep shredding on the hill all day. Bright prints make sure they stand out in the lift line, and moisture-wicking fleece is soft against their faces.

15. Winter boots

Kids boots

Warm winter boots will keep small feet happy, even when the temperatures dip way down – these Kamik boots are rated to -32°C! The grippy soles on these Sorel boots will keep kids upright on slippery sidewalks, and they’re made of vulcanized rubber that stays flexible in the cold.

Shopping for an active toddler? The MEC Toaster Booties are a cozy, insulated option with skidproof soles and great reviews.

16. Bright bike lights

Bike lights

Keep them visible when night falls early with fun bike lights. The MEC Super Turtle Front and Rear Lights are the next evolution of the Turtle Lights we’ve been selling for years, and they’re now even brighter.

Or make every ride into a bike disco with these multicoloured spoke lights. Kids can choose a steady colour before they start pedalling, or flash through the whole rainbow as they ride.

17. Sweet skis

Kids ski gear

Do they always head straight to the terrain park? The Head Souphead SLR II will keep young shredders smiling all season long as they try out new tricks on the rails and in the pipe.

If they roam all over the hill in search of first tracks, try the Rossignol Trixie. This agile all-mountain ride has an extended sidecut for extra grip and easy handling.

18. A new favourite activity

Give them the climbing bug early, and who knows where it could take them? This climbing wall kit lets build your own mini bouldering cave at home. As the kids get stronger and more confident, you can rearrange the holds to create new routes and challenges.

19. A golden ticket to adventure

OK, it’s actually orange. But a Parks Canada Discovery Pass gives the whole family unlimited access to more than 80 national parks, historic sites and marine conservation areas for the entire year.

Look for whales off the Mingan Archipelago in Quebec, hike alongside turquoise waters on Bruce Peninsula, or swim in breathtakingly cold alpine lakes in Banff. Who knows how many family legends this pass could spark?

A big, double-fun thank you to MEC staffer Zena for bringing her adventurous twins to be the stars of our kids’ photos – they were awesome!

Looking for more ideas for giving the gift of spending time outside as a family? Check out MEC Ambassador Bruce Kirkby’s IOU: 7 priceless gifts for kids.

SEE MORE GIFT IDEAS

Heather van der Hoop
Heather van der Hoop

Editor, science nerd, runner and skier who loves rugged trails and glacier-fed lakes. May or may not own a quiver of MEC Rad Pants.