ISSUE 46  |  All in the Family

Gift Guide: For the Outdoorsy Kid

November 19, 2014 2:00 PM

BY Izabella Simmons

As a mother of two, I know the value of classic toys designed to burn young energy. Here are six made-to-last options that are nice looking enough to leave out on display. But have no doubt: Children like these even more than parents do. 

Above: The Peg & Awl Olde-Fashioned Tree Swing is made of old-growth pine salvaged from the floor joists of a 19th-century house. The manila rope holding the seat has a 695-pound tension limit and is looped through the seat and secured with a fisherman’s knot with five loops. The swing is available in small, medium, and large, and starts at $200 at Peg and Awl.

Above: This Old-Fashioned Slingshot keeps my six-year-old son entertained for hours. Two rules apply: He can’t aim at anything made of glass or possessing a heartbeat; $24.99 at the Original Tree Swing. 

Above: Prepare to run away with the circus using these Sturdy Stilts handcrafted by the Amish. They’re made of oak with tapered handholds and have three positions that allow room to grow in height and skill level; $58 from Nova Natural.


Above: Kauffman Mercantile’s European-Made Leather Jump Rope of leather and wood is designed to be handed down for generations; $37.95.


Above: The Sailing Ship Kite of bamboo and nylon is made by architect Emily Fischer’s Haptic Lab of Brooklyn in collaboration with Balinese artisans. It comes with kite twine and easy assembly instructions; $40 via Haptic Lab.

Above: Bocce (in the boules sport family) is an outdoor game the whole family can enjoy (in fact, my own clan even likes to play indoors). The Bocce Set by Fredericks & Mae comes with eight hand-painted, solid wood balls and one jack, plus a carrying bag and instruction booklet; $320 from Fredericks & Mae. See the designers’ own Game-Filled House Boat.

Bypass the shopping frenzy: Browse more options in our Toys posts, including: