The stress of holiday shopping increases tenfold when you're on the search for kids' gifts. They have to be cool and fun and spark the imagination and maybe also teach something–phew! The ACTIVEkids Holiday Gift Guide is your no-stress source for the very best gifts for older kids. We've done the work to save you time and energy and earn you major cool-parent points, too. Gift hunting for littler ones as well? Check out our gift guide for younger kids.
Sized and fit for kids under 5 feet tall, the Nanowave 40 sleeping bag is a quality bag that's perfect for warm weather campouts. If there's a backpacking trip in your future, this sleeping bag is lightweight enough for a kid to carry and compressible enough to pack up easily when not in use.
2. Monopoly: National Parks Edition ($39.95)
Turn family game nights into a jaunt through the national parks without leaving the living room. Featuring over 60 of the most scenic and historic sites in the country, this edition of Monopoly will help the whole family learn more about America's natural treasures and gather ideas about upcoming family adventures, too.
3. Gibbon ClassicLine Slackline ($67.49)
If you haven't heard of slacklining, it's a bit like tight rope. Encourage kids to get outdoors while working on their stamina and balance with a ClassicLine Red Gibbon Slackline. Perfect for beginners, this slackline is easy to set up and durable, too.
4. Geocaching Starter Kit ($34.99)
Turn your next hike into a treasure hunt with this geocaching kit. For kids new to geocaching, this starter kit provides a geocaching guide, pens and tracking tags and is sure to have your kid begging to head outside and start searching for hidden surprises.
Does your family love the outdoors but the idea of planning a family vacation to a national park is incredibly overwhelming? This guide to the country's 59 national parks is perfect for outdoors-loving families. It not only provides details for every park, but it also gives suggested road trip itineraries for hitting multiple in a state or region, along with the best sites, hikes and things to do. Plus, advice on how to get there and where to stay when you arrive make this guide the only one you'll need.
6. Helix DNA Discovery Kit ($49.99)
Helix's unique DNA Discovery Kit uses just a little bit of spit to provide a world of information about who you are, where your family came from and even what your kids might grow up to be. While the starter kit is for adults 18 and older, using the kit is fun for the whole family, allowing you to explore your family's ancestry insights and learn more about your heritage with your kids. The kit will give you basic insights into your family's ancestry and wellness, as well as a $20 gift card to open up even more about personal genomics, from tests for food sensitivity to what type of athletic abilities you may have. Anyone will be fascinated by this gift.
7. MorfBoard Skate & Scoot Combo Set ($89.99)
If your kids can't decide if a skateboard or a scooter is more fun, the MorfBoard is an easy gift this holiday season. A simple click and the board transforms from a scooter to skateboard, and back again. Additional attachments allow it to be used as a balance board and bounce board.
8. Kiwi Co Hands-On Science and Art Projects ($16.95 per month and up)
With seven crates to choose from based on age and activity, Kiwi Co is sure to delight kids of all ages through STEM and art projects. Each month, Kiwi Co delivers the materials for multiple projects, along with a parent guide, an age-appropriate magazine and links to online tutorials. You can choose a crate that helps the little ones explore color and texture, or crates that focus on play, science and art as kids age. As a subscription service, this is the gift that keeps on giving with unique crates each month.
9. Mystic Fire ($11.99 per 25-pack)
Turn the campfire into a lightshow! Toss a pack of Mystic Fire into an indoor or outdoor fireplace, fire pit or campfire, and watch the flames turn into a kaleidoscope of colors. The brilliant shades last more than an hour, and the sealed pouch keeps participants safe. Be sure an adult is present to toss the pack into the fire while kids sit back, relax and enjoy the colorful results.
10. Fitbit Ace ($99.95)
The Fitbit Ace is kid-sized, waterproof and designed to encourage activity. Families can set goals, view activity and perform challenges together. Unlike adult models, it doesn't let kids monitor weight or calories burned, instead encouraging families to be active and have fun together. The Ace tracks activity and sleep, includes celebrations and badges for goals reached, provides reminders to move, is showerproof, includes 10 fun clock faces and can run up to five days on one battery charge.
11. Wise Owl Outfitters Kids Hammock ($19.99)
Let your tween relax in style with a stylish miniature hammock. With durable hanging ropes, heavy-duty carabiners and a carrying case included in this nylon hammock pack you'll be all set to hang it up as soon as your kids unwrap this gift. These lightweight and compact hammocks are easy to bring along on outdoor adventures or leave up in the backyard for hanging out anytime. With a 100 percent satisfaction guarantee and three bright color options, you can't go wrong with this gift.
12. Glow-in-the-Dark Baseball & Bat ($19.95)
Do your kids keep going long after the sun sets? Reenergize backyard games with this glow-in-the-dark baseball set that'll be a hit after dark. Kids will love using these pieces to keep the game going with the added challenge of playing under the moon. Add these rubber glow-in-the-dark bases to take things to the next level. More of a football family? Try this.
13. Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp ($15)
Most kids love adventuring after dark, whether it's an after-hours tromp around the neighborhood or a weekend of camping under the stars. Give your nighttime adventurer an illuminating gift this holiday season with the Princeton Tec Bot Headlamp made especially for kids. This 30-lumen headlamp comes in two fun color choices, is lightweight, burns for nine hours at a time and is water resistant.
14. Field & Stream Pie Iron ($9.99)
Does your kid love dining around the campfire? If so, add a kick to your campfire meals with this fun and simple pie iron. The cast iron pie iron turns kids' favorite foods (think grilled cheese, quesadillas, personal pizzas and s'mores) into outdoorsy meals in just minutes. Plus, the long wooden handle makes it easy for them to toast their own campfire creations.
15. Little Passports Science Expeditions ($18.95 per month and up)
Subscription boxes are sure-fire gift wins for grown-ups, and now kids can get in on the action with a healthy dose of learning thrown in. The award-winning Little Passports Science Expeditions delivers hands-on science experiments and STEM activities each month, complete with a storage case, lab notebook, achievement badges and more. It's a gift that keeps on giving, plus this one pays lifelong dividends in science, technology, engineering and math.
16. Hydro Flask 21 oz. Sport Cap Water Bottle ($35.95)
The Hydro Flask will be your kid's new favorite take-everywhere accessory. The stainless steel bottle keep liquids colder (or hotter) longer, plus its durable for even the toughest scenarios and comes with a lifetime warranty. The material is BPA-free, and the sport cap makes the contents easily accessible. Pick from six vivid colors.
17. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 35 ($90)
Help your active kid kick it up a notch this year with the Nike Zoom Pegasus 35. These running shoes are perfect for young athletes who are always ready for a game of pick-up basketball or a quick round of kickball during lunch. They're comfortable, cushy and durable. Plus, they come in seven bright colorways, so there's sure to be a pattern your kid will love day after day.
18. The North Face Pivoter Backpack ($79)
Built for the outdoors, this backpack from The North Face will get your kids through school, after-school activities, soccer practice and weekend camping trips with ease. It features a laptop sleeve, multiple compartments and super-comfortable straps that won't dig-in no matter how many schoolbooks (or pairs of shoes or balls or who-knows-what) are piled inside.