A field bag or backpack filled with hiking gear and essentials is a great way to encourage your kids to head outdoors for a nature walk, because what kid doesn't love a bag of gadgets!
Do your children have field bags? As devout ramblers in our local urban part, we've had fun filling our field bags with fun supplies and gear. My boys LOVE having a field bag of goodies to tote along with them outdoors. It makes them feel very important and official even though they may not be backpacking or camping in the "real" woods!
My mother delighted the boys by making them each a small canvas field bag. The boys personalized the bages with buttons and badges. For Christmas stocking stuffers we purchased simple gadgets that any urban park explorer would be proud to tote along on a hike.
MORE: Of course, we ALWAYS gear up for a nature walk by reading these picture books to inspire a love of nature!
The kids love their field bags so much and a fully stocked field bag makes an excellent gift for any kid! (Note: This post contains affiliate links that earn commission from qualifying purchases.)
Before we get into the essential supplies, let's talk about THE BAG. For serious hikers, we recommend a backpack. The disadvantage to a backpack is that kids have to keep taking it off in order to access the goods.
However, these small backpacks from CamelBak, which are designed for easy access, are a great alternative to a crossbody bag like we use. Plus they have the cool feature of your kids being able to drink from a straw without opening their bag!
Fun Field Bag Gear and Gadgets
The following is a list of our favorite nature walk and hiking gear and gadgets for kids.
A headlamp like this one is essential! Truth be told, we don't go on many night walks. Primarily, these are used indoors to great delight, and every kid should have one!
4. Water bottle
No question, Klean Kanteen and Hydro Flask make the best water bottles! They are made from stainless steel, with no plastic lining. My kids' field bags are too small for water bottles. I'm considering getting them each a shoulder sling, but so far I've been toting the water bottles along in my own backpack.
My son has graduated to a pair of Nikon Trailblazers. My advice for buying binoculars if you are inexperienced (like I was) is to go to a specialty store and have your child try them out. The sales clerk can also give your child tips for how to use them. If you have very young children who are going to use the binoculars more for pretend play then toy binoculars like these are fine.
6. Bird log
If you have an enthusiastic birder, or a child who loves to observe animals, a bird Log to record essential important sightings! This spiral bound notebook has been a fun addition to our birding walks. It's easy to write in and gives prompts to kids for what kind of information is important to record.
7. Butterfly net
Granted, this bug net doesn't exactly fit in the bag, but it sure is fun to bring along. However, I recommend teaching your kids about catch and release! You'll want to educate them about how not to harm protected species.
8. Audubon bird call
Bird calls are a little controversial, but if you use them sparingly they are a great addition to your child's nature walk gear. Audubon also as a bird call app, and their article on how to use it ethically also applies to the fun wooden bird call they make. I recommend the physical bird call over the app, because I prefer not to have to whip out my phone in the middle of a peaceful nature walk.
9. All-in-one compass tool
We like this combination whistle-compass-thermometer thingy-majig. It's not fancy, but it's very inexpensive and it satisfies the kids' need to look like official hikers!
- Hand-me-down digital camera
- Pen or pencil to record sightings in the bird log
- Every serious birder has his own Sibley Bird Guide!
- An assortment of local trail maps. You can usually pick these up at a tourist center or information booth.
I realize some of these field bag supplies for kids may not be precisely essential for a walk in the park with mom. However, having it all sure makes a nature walk more fun. Plus, I've often found when the kids are ready to head home before I am, that a little peek in the bag is often just the right distraction to keep them interested in the great outdoors.