‘Tis the season for people everywhere to start thinking about what to buy those special (and not-so-special) someones on their list. Everywhere you look you’ll be bombarded with annoying advertisements for “the hottest” gifts around.
I usually try to encourage people to give gifts of their time or talent because everyone seems to have plenty of stuff junking up the space around them. Additionally, experiences (especially shared experiences) actually make people happier than things do. But it’s more difficult to put together a gift of time, and it’s a process. You can’t just wrap up an experience and hand it over. You still have to follow through, and people are busy. It can get complicated.
So if you want to keep things simple and wrap something up, here are some ideas that I consider the next best things. They are gifts of experiences or gifts that encourage people to create experiences. At minimum these gifts will get people moving, talking, or away from their screens! Here are my best gift ideas to inspire people to get active:
NOTE: Some of the links in this post contain affiliate links, which means if you click on these links and make a purchase, Garden Shack Farm will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you. We only recommend items we love, and we appreciate your support in this way!
Best Gift Ideas To Inspire People To Get Active – For Families or Recipients of Any Age:
TICKETS TO A CONCERT, SPORTING EVENT, PLAY, OR SHOW
Do they have a favorite musician or band who is on tour? Is there a concert hall or theater nearby? Are they baseball fans? Maybe you don’t know what kind of music they enjoy, but who doesn’t enjoy going out and listening to music? Tickets to a concert, play, game, or even a local comedy night could introduce them to a new favorite pastime.
YEARLY PASS TO A PARK, ZOO, OR MUSEUM
Now is the time of year many places are offering discounts on yearly passes. A pass would be a wonderful thing to give if your recipients live near an amusement park, water park, botanical garden, zoo, or museum they enjoy. State parks usually offer a yearly pass, which would encourage frequent hikes, picnics, fishing, boating, and other outdoor recreation. The America the Beautiful passes are available for $80 per year for each family (free for current military members and dependents) and get people in to hundreds of national parks and historic sites around the country. In most cases, if you make 3 or 4 visits, it is worth the cost.
FAMILY BUCKET LIST
This book is a great tool to encourage them to get in touch with what they really want to do with the time they’ve got here on Earth!
A tent can’t be used sitting inside watching TV, so this should inspire them to get out in the fresh air somewhere (even if it’s their backyard) and make some memories! This one is easy to set up and sleeps 4 people. A bonus is the kids will usually want to set it up out back to use it as a fort, giving parents some quiet time!
Can they sing? It doesn’t matter! That is what makes karaoke fun. People stand up, pick some good music, and let everyone laugh until it’s their turn! This machine works with your device and even has a “sound like a chipmunk” mode!
TETHERBALL OR SWINGBALL
This is a personal family (and friends) favorite around here. Very little athletic ability is required to have a lot of fun attempting to win this game. Swingball uses a tennis ball and Tetherball uses a soft, larger ball.
BIRD HOUSE KIT
This is the perfect time of year to receive a bird house kit. Putting the bird house together is an activity that can be done in any weather, and the birds would love to have it move-in ready for the spring! A bird identification book would be a great complement to this so any residents or visitors could be easily identified.
Coats, jackets, and snowsuits may not seem like inspirational gifts, but who is going outside in the winter without them? If you’re comfortable and warm, you are much more likely to head outdoors. I hate being cold, and I think I was in my 30s before I finally realized that any weather can be enjoyable if you’re dressed appropriately!
LESSONS OR CLASSES
People of any age might love to receive swim lessons, yoga classes, dance instruction, admittance to surf camp, or horseback riding lessons. Think about their interests and see what is available in their area. You are never too young or too old to learn something new.
FOOSBALL OR PING PONG TABLE
These are great ways to get everyone up and moving. We played foosball during one vacation and had so much fun competing against each other we had to get one for our house. These take up space, so that encourages frequent usage (or else provides somewhere to pile stuff)! This ping pong table is sturdy and easy to set up quickly so the games can begin!
Unless you’re in a really big house, you will need to use these outside or at least to look outside! A recipient of binoculars will be inspired to go out and look at beautiful things. At minimum, he or she will get off the couch and check out what the neighbors are doing!
If your recipients are allowed to have a fire pit in their backyard, they should! There is something very calming and mood-enhancing about a fire. The best stories are told around a fire, and kids of all ages love relaxing by a fire, especially if marshmallows are involved.
REMOTE-CONTROLLED CAR OR BOAT
Something controlled remotely may not seem to be a gift that encourages action, but we aren’t talking about a TV here. You need to follow these things around and it promotes good hand/eye coordination. My husband got our son a remote-controlled boat a few years ago. After watching them use it together, I’m not sure who has more fun with it.
Best Gift Ideas To Inspire People To Get Active – Specifically for Kids:
HOMEMADE GIFT CARD
Create a special gift card for one-on-one time with you or their friends. For example, you could give “your choice of dinner and a movie with Dad,” “girls’ day out with Grandma,” “slumber party with your 3 best friends,” or any activity that would be a special treat for the child.
There’s good reason these plastic rings have been popular for over 60 years.
Are there kids (or people?) who don’t like bubbles? If you’re looking to give something more exciting than a bottle, try a bubble machine: less blowing, more popping!
These things are hours of kid-powered fun!
Flying a kite has to be the most fun you can have on a windy day.
Kids of all ages feel important running around with their friends disclosing secret locations and letting their imaginations run wild. Walkie talkies are also good for parents to keep in touch with kids playing without the need of a cell phone. Roger that, over and out!
Being not only allowed but encouraged to make graffiti causes the artists inside to quickly emerge to create masterpieces! A set like this is great because they will go through it.
BUCKET AND SAND TOYS
Even if they won’t get to the beach for at least another 6 months, these can be used in the sandbox, the dirt pile, or even the bathtub! This set has a handy bag to make carrying and clean up easy.
It sounds too simple, but kids love anything that lights up in the dark. This is the perfect time of year to light up the long hours of darkness. How about a net with a light attached? It’s ideal for catching critters at night.
A fishing pole and some gear could lead to a lifetime love of the outdoors. Better yet, take a kid fishing!
BIKE AND HELMET
Is there a better way to let kids be kids?
MICROSCOPE OR MAGNIFYING GLASS
Bring out the scientist inside by enabling a child to see what can’t be seen with the naked eye. Here is a little explorer’s kit that includes everything a child needs to start their scientific adventure!
FAIRY GARDEN KIT
Not all kids want to grow spinach (like my crazy girl does) but a habitat for fairies sounds very enticing! Let them get their hands dirty and learn the basics of gardening while imagining a peaceful world.
TEE BALL SET
A tee ball set is another childhood staple, perfect for developing hand-eye coordination and building self-confidence.
A swing and surfboard in one? Yes, please!
ATLAS OR GLOBE
This may not seem to fit on this list, but looking at a map, seeing how large the world is, can be very inspirational to travelers-to-be. An atlas with pictures and geographic information helps children understand the world around them and helps them to decide where they would like to go in life, both literally and figuratively. Another option would be a subscription to a magazine such as National Geographic Kids. My daughter loves receiving these each month!
EVERY KID IN A PARK
This is the same America the Beautiful pass mentioned at the beginning of this article, but it is FREE to all 4th graders and their families for the year. I highly recommend taking advantage of this if you have a 4th grade student!
Still undecided on a gift?
Here are a few more of my best gift ideas that anyone who enjoys being active outside could use:
Gift-giving can be a chore, but a good gift given can be appreciated for a lifetime. Try not to stress out about what to give anyone. After all, you’ll have another chance to give something better next year!
Am I forgetting any good ideas? Help everyone out and let us know! What is the best gift you ever got? Was it “stuff” or was it the gift of an experience?