Do you have a rough and tumble son? Me, too. Two of them, in fact. It’s always been hard on this momma to watch them “do what boys do” without cringing.
While I certainly would rather keep them perfectly safe, my husband has convinced me that boys really do need to “be boys” so they can grow up to be men. With that in mind, I’ve watched with an anxious heart on many occasions.
Whittling with sharp knives. BB guns aimed at doves. Slingshots aimed at squirrels. Overnight fishing trips. Fort building with real tools. Frog gigging. Deer hunting. Chopping wood. Backpacking trips. Shooting skeet. Riding horses bare back. Climbing trees. Starting fires.
While some moms may wonder why these things set my momma’s heart on high alert, you have to understand something about me…I don’t have any brothers. I didn’t even have boy cousins that lived nearby. My neighborhood was full of a bunch of girls, too.
So, having two boys who do what boys do AND living on a farm where these things can be done easily and often is a little, um, different than my experiences growing up.
I have to admit, though – my husband was right. These boys thrive on the adventure. They rise to the occasion when extreme responsibility is expected. I really and truly am watching little boys grow into strong men. It’s a very cool process.
With this in mind and the gift giving season approaching, I’ve been thinking a lot about wish lists and what my boys might need. I was particularly thinking about things my 16yo son has had in the past that my 9yo son might want or need as he enters the preteen years.
So far, I’ve come up with a list of twelve things I think every boy should at least have access to over the course of their boyhood. My 9yo has already enjoyed some of these, while others just might make it to his Christmas or birthday list soon.
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12 All Boy Gifts
Pocketknives have been constant companions for my older son (and his big sister!) Living on a farm offers many opportunities for a knife to come in handy, but I would think any child can find lots of uses for their pocketknife. Cutting open all those Amazon boxes of things we order comes to mind! When my children are younger, they prefer an all-in-one knife because of the gadgets.
My boys have loved tents from the time they were old enough to understand that tents equal sleeping outside. (Again, not something this particular momma enjoys – at all.) We have a family-sized tent, but the boys really prefer smaller ones now that they do some overnight hiking.
My boys have had so much fun with bb guns over the years. BB guns can be dangerous. Heck, everything on this list can be dangerous since we’re talking about raising boys into men. We’ve always made sure to take plenty of time to train proper usage before setting our boys loose. As they get older, they much prefer higher powered air soft guns.
My boys first started using real tools alongside their dad. It wasn’t long before they started borrowing dad’s tools to fix things here and there around the house or build their own creation. Since the tools didn’t always make it back to the tool shed where they belonged, we decided a personal tool set would make a great gift.
Model Car to Build
Boys like to dig. We’ve had more holes to China started around here than I can count. Some of the holes were going to be underground pools. Others were going to lead to buried treasure. I’ve even had two fire pits dug in my honor. One of these days my yard might be easy to walk through without breaking an ankle. For now, I buy shovels so my boys can dig.
Who in the world enjoys splitting wood? Apparently, boys do. Given an ax, my boys will try to chop anything from tiny twigs to massive fallen logs. As they get older, they get to help their dad using the chainsaw – but that’s another story. And, I’m not buying them a chainsaw.
I think every boy in the world loves a hammock. If for no other reason than to try tricks on it. Or turn people over onto the ground. We’ve had regular hammocks before, but I think these Eno hammocks look like so much fun – and they travel easily.
Compasses haven’t necessarily been a favorite of my boys, but I’ve found them important considering all the adventures around here.
This is my least favorite on the list. Slingshots are so much fun for boys, but they can also be very dangerous if someone (or something important) is the target. Like the BB guns, we always make sure our boys are highly trained in the proper use before setting them loose!
I bet you didn’t think you’d see a board game on this list, did you? To me, rugged boys also very much need logical smarts to become truly strong men. Chess seems like one of the best-of-the-best games for teaching those logical smarts (if I have to pick just one.)
Books the Build Character
I bet you didn’t expect to see books on the list either! Again, real men aren’t just rugged. Even if you add logical smarts they still need to be rounded out with good character. The 50 books on this list that I put together earlier this year are perfect to keep the attention of rough and tumble boys, while demonstrating awesome character traits at the same time.
Oops, just one more for my sake…
Because I’m still that mom with the anxious heart, neither one of my boys will go far without a phone and portable charger. Ha!
Tell me some things on your list of must-haves for all-boy boys.