14 of the best wildlife gifts for children | BBC Wildlife Magazine

14 of the best wildlife gifts for children | BBC Wildlife Magazine

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Looking to get children into nature, or to further encourage an existing interest? We’ve rounded up some of our favourite wildlife-themed gifts, many of which also encourage the development of a range of skills, such as patience, creativity, learning letters, reading instructions, and planning ahead.

For ideas of wildlife-themed activities to do with children, head to our nature activities for children guide, which includes plenty of projects for children (and their family) to get stuck into.

If you’re looking more reviews, read our guides to wildlife books for children and teenagers, wildlife-themed jigsaw puzzles, gifts for wildlife lovers and nature documentaries.


Deep Sea Creatures, LEGO

LEGO Creator Deep Sea Creatures

LEGO is always good fun, and there’s a wide range of wildlife-themed packs to choose from (we’re a bit starry-eyed by the 1500-piece bricks and animals set). The 3-in-1 Deep Sea Creatures set has 230-pieces enabling you to make a shark with movable body joints, a posable crab and a box of treasure. Plus, you can dissemble them and follow the instructions to make a squid or an angler fish (and for a bonus, there’s also instructions on the LEGO website for a whale), or whatever else you can come up with!

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

Butterfly Wings: A Matching Game, Laurence King.

Butterfly Wings game 1

A box full of 25 delicately detailed butterflies awaits players of this game. The challenge? Each species is featured twice, once with wings open, and once closed – all you need to do is pair them up. Though crimson rose and zebra longwing make life easy, those such as blue morpho and gold-banded forester may prove a little trickier.

Butterfly Wings game 2

While Christine Berrie supplies the wonderful illustrations, Mike Unwin provides information on each species in the accompanying ‘key to the butterflies’, which reveals the correct pairings. You’ll soon be able to tell your dead leaf from your sunset daggerwing.

Other wildlife- and animal-themed matching games are also available from Laurence King: Pair of Birds, Flower, Animal Tracks, Dinosaur Bones, Leaf, Cats & Kittens, Dogs & Puppies.

Reviewed by Angharad Moran, former production editor, BBC Wildlife

World Map Jigsaw Puzzle For Kids, 300 pieces, Elena Essex

Elena Essex world map jigsaw puzzle

An illustrator based in Hove in Sussex, Elena Essex has created a world map jigsaw puzzle featuring animals and landmarks in her 300-piece puzzle for kids (recommended for 7 years plus). A full-size colour poster is included for help in completing the puzzle, and the puzzle box is made of recycled materials.

She has also produced four gorgeous 1000-piece puzzles for teenagers and adults (recommended for 14 years plus).

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

Build Your Own Microscope kits.

BYO Microscope + Packaging

If you’ve resolved to allow fewer plastic toys across your threshold this Christmas, you might be interested in this build-your-own microscope, made from sustainable cardboard. It’s aimed for 8 years plus, and my ten-year-old assembled it on his own one Sunday afternoon, only struggling with the eyepiece, which was somewhat fiddly.

The 54 sections are nice and robust, though the kit didn’t quite live up to its ‘No Glue’ claim, with one or two emergency sticky-tape repairs required.

Nonetheless, the result is a surprisingly sturdy and effective microscope offering 30x magnification. We slotted a phone torch underneath and looked close-up at twigs and wood embers from the fire.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife

Chocolate animals, Cocoa Loco.

Buy now from: Cocoa Loco (£5.49), RSPB (£5.99).

Cocoa loco chocolate robins with box

Made by UK chocolatiers Cocoa Loco, these delicious chocolate treats are made from Fairtrade, organic and palm oil free ingredients. Each 100g box contains milk chocolate (owls), white chocolate (polar bears), milk and white chocolate (penguins), or a mix of white, dark and milk chocolate (robins).

Reviewed by Angharad Moran, former production editor, BBC Wildlife

Dube the Polar Bear felted slippers, Hector & Queen, £24.00-28.00.

Polar bear slippers

These award-winning handmade, felted children’s slippers will keep tiny toes nice and toasty on chilly days. The slippers are crafted by skilled women in a co-operative near Kathmandu. Each pair have soft suede anti-slip soles, and comes in an organic drawstring bag making the perfect gift/keepsake for any event and will be treasured for ever! Sizes range from baby booties to 3–4 years (although we’re wishing they came in adult sizes!).

Each sale helps to support Tusk, a wildlife charity working with local people and organisations across Africa.

Reviewed by Angharad Moran, former production editor, BBC Wildlife

Squirrel Rush, by Krzysztof Matusik. Tailor Games.

Age 6+, 2-6 players, 15-30 minutes playing time.

Squirrel Rush 1

Squirrel Rush is a tile placement game that casts you as competitive squirrels, trying to collect as many nuts as possible before winter arrives. The game is simple to set up and quick to play but gets tactical as you choose the best path through the glade for the maximum haul of acorns.

Squirrel Rush 2

It’s a fun family game, the wooden squirrel player pieces are satisfyingly tactile, and the cards feature adorable illustrations of red squirrels in action. Consider adding a copy to your cache if you’re a fan of logic puzzles, need a ‘filler’ between more involved games, or you’re catering for shorter attention spans.

Reviewed by Ella Davies, nature writer

Ocean Bingo, Laurence King, £19.99.

Ocean bingo

Hurrah! A board game with no ridiculously complicated rules that drain all joy from the arena before anyone has so much as spun a spinner. This – the latest in a series of wildlife-themed Bingo sets – is perfect for restless kids and rainy days, and requires precious little by way of instruction.

All you have to so is select a game card; cover your 25 (out of 64) sea creatures with yellow discs as they are called; and the first to finish shouts The Word. It’s a great way for children to get to know some of our amazing ocean species, from red lionfish to leatherback sea turtles.

Other wildlife- and animal-themed bingo games are also available from Laurence King: Bird, Bug, Monkey, Australia’s Deadly Animals, Cat, Dog, for £19.99, and for younger children: Poo, Jungle, and Dinosaur, for £16.99.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife

Personalised water shark bottle, amylucydesigns

Personalised shark water bottle

This adorable reusable metal water bottle will be loved by kids, and better yet – it can be personalised with their name! It comes with a choice of two lids. Other wildlife-themed personalised water bottles for children include a lion, a fox and a crocodile.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

The Lost Words, Thames and Kosmos, ages 8+, £13.99.

The Lost Words pack

Based on the bestselling book by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris, this is a relatively straightforward card game, the object of which is to be the first to pair the cards in your hand with those on the table.

The Lost Words - otter

There’s an edge to proceedings, as certain cards allow you to mess with your opponents – draw a magpie, for example, and you can steal a completed pair. One hand took about 30 minutes, and it was something of a delight to play with such beautiful illustrations of the natural world, and to hear 10- and 12-year-old boys talking about brambles, wrens, otters and larks.

Reviewed by Sarah McPherson, features editor, BBC Wildlife

Amazing Insects Glow in the Dark 100-piece jigsaw puzzle

Amazing Insects Glow in the Dark jigsaw puzzle

Aimed at children (and adults) aged five plus, this fabulous jigsaw puzzle is made up of 100 pieces (made from recycled materials) and features a range of colourful insects including beetles, grasshoppers and butterflies.

However, there’s an additional fun twist to this particular jigsaw puzzle! Turn off the lights and you’ll discover that this puzzle actually glows in the dark! Bound to enthral any young naturalist, this is a lovely way to connect children with nature. Other wildlife-themed puzzles in this glow-in-the-dark series from Mudpuppy include Frogs & Lizards, In The Forest, Rainforest, Under The Sea and Dinosaur.

Reviewed by Megan Shersby, editorial and digital co-ordinator, BBC Wildlife

Custom Wildlife Name Print, Tiffany Francis-Baker

Custom wildlife name print

Artist, illustrator and poet Tiffany Frances-Baker produces beautiful custom prints that are perfect for nurseries or children’s bedrooms. Each letter is inspired by British animals, so whether you choose your child’s name, a favourite word, or the whole alphabet, they’re ideal for learning about nature as well as learning letters.

Reviewed by Aoife Glass, digital strategist, BBC Wildlife

Window bird feeder, RSPB.

Birdfeeder

See robins, tits, sparrows and other garden birds up close with this ingenious suction-cup feeder, which has a detachable tray for easy cleaning and refilling.

Reviewed by the BBC Wildlife team 

Wildlife charity membership

A lot of wildlife charities now offer family or kids-only memberships, which can come with a variety of options such as magazines aimed at different age groups, welcome packs, pine badges or cuddle toys.


Main image: Small child carrying Christmas gifts. © Halfpoint Images/Getty