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  • Writer's pictureChris O'Byrne

Gifts to Get 'em Outside


We celebrate Christmas by giving presents to the little ones in our lives. But to those of us who enjoy the outdoors, the problems with plastic and electronic toys are self-evident. And recently the U.S. Congress reiterated that cell phone use effects our youth negatively. While it is challenging to create that happy giftwrap-bursting moment without purchasing some plastic toy or electronic device, we can give gifts to get ‘em out side. Check out these offerings for Christmas 2023.

The Zebco company leads the way this year with two products.

The Splash Floating Combo is a fishing outfit aimed at preschool kids who are just beginning to form their belief in what’s cool. The rod is sized and flexed to help little ones, who are just developing their coordination, get the bait out to where the fish are bigger than them. The push button reel is pre-spooled and time tested. You probably had one when you were their age. $14.99

And the Wilder combo uses a no tangle reel loaded with 6lb Zebco Cajun line. 4 feet 3 inches tall, the Wilder is proportioned for kids ages 6 to 9. The action will allow your growing anglers to cast a little farther out, and control the bigger fish they will want to catch. And when they do catch that monster in the pond, the reel has an anti-reverse setting. $29.99.

For an out of the box idea, look into a Penaud Helicopter. This flying machine is powered by rubber bands and little hands. The manual nature of the toy, and the unseen forces it uses boosts imagination and prompts kids to discovery. The positive effects were proven dramatically by the story of the Wright Brothers receiving one (just one) for a Christmas gift when they were young.

Since we are looking at zero tech toys, let’s remember brain teaser puzzles. Ultra-modern teenagers, abandon the insulation of cell phones to “look at the engineering side” while they untangle classic metal puzzles. Approximately $9.00

Books still hold magic powers, too. Hooray For Fish!, by Lucy Cousins is sure to help you bond with your children. The book-length poem is fun and helps to promote reading and bonding. The interactive choruses will have your little one’s joining in page after page. The large text and appropriate quantity of words will allow for success, and joy in reading. A team picture at the end of the book will help you to invent learning games. $17.99

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