We came across a saying that we love when it comes to gifting for kids.
Something they want,
Something they need,
Something to wear and
Something to read.
🌲 🏔 🎁
Whatever your holiday traditions are, when it comes to gifting for pre-teens, it can be hard to find the “right” thing. For us in Canada, we are planning on spending a lot of time outdoors, so we’ve put together some of our favourites for our adventurous kiddos. This year more than ever, whatever you choose – try to buy local. We gathered as many local vendors and Made in Canada companies for this list. For us at Wild |Life we will be hand packing your adventure kits from Calgary, AB! Don’t forget to shop early this year too.
For Outdoor Play
No. 1 Wild | Life Adventure Kits 🇨🇦
THE #1 GIFT FOR ADVENTUROUS KIDS. Each unique adventure kit features 10+ hours of skill-building activities, games, and crafts. November – February each kit will come with an additional “Winter Supplement” activity card. You’ll have access to a digital download of all the winter supplements. Never hear “I’m bored” again. This year, give the gift of adventure. Order before Dec. 13 to get it in-time for Christmas. Hand packed for you from Calgary, AB.
No. 2 Stick – Let’s
Have you heard about Stick-lets? Kids can build a mega fort with just sticks and a set of Stick-let connectors. These flexible, safe, silicone connectors can be twisted, stretched, and otherwise manipulated to accommodate almost any kind of construction—forts, toys, animal habitats, geometric shapes, and much more (depending on the size of the sticks). They are manufactured in North America and ship to Canada and have a few Canadian distributors. We collaborated with Stick-Let’s in the Wild | Life Kit No. 4 Take Cover where you’ll also find a discount code.
No. 3 NAUTICAL Inflatable Paddle Board
Performs great in all water conditions and is suitable for all skill levels. The 32″ of width provides extra stability while still maintaining a narrow design to glide through the water with reduced drag. NAUTICAL is best for beginners and riders of all shapes and size. Love the convenient carry-all backpack it comes with. Free shipping in Canada - yeah!
No. 4 Jump Rope 🇨🇦
We know a jump rope isn’t novel, but you may be surprised at how much action this classic toy gets. The beautiful 8-foot-long handmade jump rope from Montreal-based Des Enfantillages is crafted from sustainable cherrywood, with funky handle designs.
No. 5 Blade Barber 🇨🇦
For the "Rink Rat" or outdoor ice enthusiast...introducing the world’s best, fits in your pocket, saves the day, hand-held skate sharpener. Proudly design and made in Canada, you can order these beauties right off their site bladebarber.ca
No. 6 Olive Skateboards + Snowboards 🇨🇦
Canadian to the core, made in Alberta, Canada. Theses skateboards and snowboards have custom illustrations and are made in Canada from materials sourced in North America.
No. 7 Nature Print Paper Kits
Nature Print Paper is unique cyanotype paper that allows you to unleash your imagination with solar printing. It is a family-run business, is manufactured in North America and ships to Canada. We collaborated with Nature Print Paper in the Wild | Life Kit No. 9 Rain or Shine.
No. 8 LandSharkz Kids Geocaching Kit 🇨🇦
From Victoria, BC the LandSharkz shop ships Canada-wide all things geocaching. Not going to lie, for sure putting a geocache kit on my Christmas List. A real-life treasure hunt? Move over Pokémon Go.
No. 9 TubePro™ Snow Tubes 🇨🇦
Tube Pro™ snow tubes are designed to last. They have a rugged plastic bottom that RIP down any snow-covered hill. They are honestly so fun for kids (and adults that act like kids). While they are not inexpensive, the quality is second to none.
No. 10 Wooden Bow & Arrow 🇨🇦
From Squamish, BC Modern Imagination Co makes custom Wooden Bow and Arrow Sets with 2 sizes for kids of different ages. Shoot targets, through hoops – making the targets and games is half the fun and shooting arrows teaches dexterity and patience.
No. 11 Reusable Water Balloons 🇨🇦
Love having a water balloon fight with your kids to cool down in the summer, but hate having to pick up all the broken pieces? This is the solution for you! These hand-made re-usable water ballons are crocheted in Ottawa, ON by Cozy Comfy Living. There is an option to customize colors – hello, TEAMS!
Bringing The Outdoors In
No. 12 Wooden Mountains & Rainbows 🇨🇦
Hand painted in Calgary, AB, these wood mountains and rainbows will bring the outdoors in and are perfect for kid’s rooms or home desks. Cinder & Sage is a Calgary, AB Shop that carries local Canadian artist and makers. We love their Kids lunch kits too!
No. 13 Justine Ma Adventure Décor 🇨🇦
From custom wooden signs that inspire adventure and exploration to fun enamel pins to add to your collection. Justin Ma Design & Hand Lettering is custom made in Edmonton, AB and offers unique design and décor items for everyone on your list.
No. 14 DIY Outdoor Décor Punch Needle Kit 🇨🇦
Trees, mountains, and rainbows galore! For the crafty ones, Made Laine Studio has created these DIY kits are made of 100% Canadian wool yarn and punch needles to create pillows or wall hangings. The DIY kits come with everything you need. Recommended for Kids 8+
No. 15 Nature Books 🇨🇦
Books can be some of the best gifts for kids. They can inspire outdoor adventures or teach outdoor skills. This Wildlife series by Canadian Author Deborah Hodge are great for a first research project. Also love her book West Coast Wild. For more books ideas check out the Born To Be Adventurous post 20+ Books for Outdoor Kids and Must Read Nature Books for Kids of All Ages from Backwoods Mama.
For older kids, a local photograper Gavin T Boutet, has documented some of Canada's highest and most remarkable places to poop in the Rocky Mountatins. Poo With a View showcases unique outhouses and the breathtaking views that surround them.
Everyone loves ghost stories but this book by Barbara Smith of true ghost stories is only for kids! Whether you're huddled under the covers with a flashlight, camping out with your family or having a sleep-over with your friends you'll get a shiver out of these spooky stories. Skip the amazon cart and check for this book at local bookstores or outdoor shops!
What did you dream of when you were young? When community conservation scientist Donna Sheppard was a little girl, she dreamed of Africa and her dreams came true! Share the story Donna Had A Dream if you have a budding scientist, animal lover or curious adventurer in your home, this book will engage, delight and inspire!
No. 16 Glow Kiddo Glow 🇨🇦
These colourful and whimsical affirmation cards are for the young and young at heart. Each affirmation is clear, simple, and speaks to children of all ages, making it easy to discuss feelings and promote confidence and security in kids. They ship from Pickering, ON.
What To Wear
No. 17 Simply Merino 🇨🇦
This family-run business manufactures their 100% Merino Wool products in Vancouver, Canada. The colors and designs are simple and beautiful. Merino wool is a renewable fibre and hypo-allergenic, moisture wicking, soft, durable and machine washable – a must. They have amazing thermal underlayers for every adventure kid as well as comfy pyjamas and clothes.
No. 18 Friday Sock Co. 🇨🇦
Friday Kid Socks come three to a pair! That’s right folks. Three super fun mismatched matching socks! So... if you lose one, no sweat. If you grow another foot, you’re in luck. Three socks equal one pair of awesomeness. We love the Tents, Tree, and Bear Camping Socks but they have tons of designs to choose from. Designed and shipped from Calgary, AB.
No. 19 Local Laundry Apparel 🇨🇦
These youth Canada crewnecks are soft and cozy for your young adventurers. When you buy a piece of Made in Canada clothing you are voting with your heart and wallet to support Canadian manufacturing, Canadian jobs and a diversified Canadian Economy.
No. 20 Hatley Pajamas 🇨🇦
New jammies and matching jammies was always a holiday tradition for us. My Aunt used to hand-sew ours but if you lack the needle and thread talent, Hatley is a Canadian company that has been around since the 1980s and the quality of their fabrics and designs will stand the test of fort building, pillow fights and more.
No. 21 Wild | Life Hoodies 🇨🇦
I have to add our own swag to the list! Perfect for campfires or as an extra winter layer, this cozy hoodie feels like snuggling a litter of fox cubs. This heather blue hoodie has been hand screen-printed in Calgary, AB with a custom tri-colour logo. Built for the outdoors, the hem is embellished with a Wild | Life tag that reads "TAKE ME OUTSIDE" when flipped up. Available in youth XS-XL.
No. 22 Tofino Towels 🇨🇦
Designed in British Columbia, they use sustainable beautiful fabrics and I love their kids towels and beach ponchos. They also currently donate 1% of their profits to the Strawberry Isle Marine Research Society.
PLUS: Best Small Gift Ideas
- Appt 6 Lip Balms (Rootbeer, Bubble Gum, and Orange Creamsicle) 🇨🇦
- S’more Supreme Shake DIY Butter Slime 🇨🇦
- Little Dreamers Playdough 🇨🇦
- Santa Farts Bath Bombs fromBathbomb Chick 🇨🇦
- Crayon Rocks all-Natural Soy Wax Crayons
- Sidewalk chalk from Canadian Toy Shop Mastermind Toys 🇨🇦
- Bubbles from Canadian Toy Shop Mastermind Toys 🇨🇦
- Hot Chocolate Bombs from Master Chocolate 🇨🇦
Don’t forget – the best things in life, aren’t things. Don’t stress too much about gifts, one special item goes a long way and it’s what you do with it that creates memories. Your kids will appreciate hand-made gifts or coupons for “Pancake Breakfast” or “Get Out of Homework Free”. If you’re scaling back presents this year, make a scavenger hunt for kids to prolong the fun and excitement of gift opening. Have a safe and adventurous Holiday!
P.S. If we have missed something amazing, you’d like us to add to the gift guide, shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and include a description, link and photo if possible. We’d love to share as many Canadian-made ideas as possible. Or tag us with photos of your favourite holiday gifts for adventurous kids! @thewildlifeca