A Charitable RNLI GiftGuide

There are plenty of gift guides being written at this time of year, and I’ve had the plan of writing this particular one for a while now, since I discovered that the RNLI have an excellent online shop. This way, you can get some fabulous gifts for young and old, for Christmas or any other occassion, while supporting an amazing charity at the same time!


Why the RNLI?

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is a charity which we’ve come into contact with quite a few times since our move back to the UK (from Sweden) almost two years ago. As you probably know if you’ve read a few of my other posts, water is something that Penguin has a great love for in many ways, as do I. We love boats, swimming and baths, as well as watching various kinds of water features, and Penguin also really enjoys watching videos of waterslides on YouTube. A fascination with water is not uncommon in persons with autism, and I’ve written a little bit about it before in this post about The Wonders of Water (link opens in new window).

As we all know, enjoying all the fun that water can offer also comes with risks, and the RNLI does a wonderful job in educating about these risks and how to minimise them, as well as rescuing people in need at sea, all around the coasts of Britain. We have visited a few of their lifeboat stations in our region, seen some quite impressive displays, and learnt about the work they do.


The Mary Stanford Disaster

There’s also a very touching piece of local history for us regarding the RNLI, which I was reminded about again last week, as it happened 90 years ago: On the 15 November 1928, 17 men of the RNLI went out on the Mary Stanford lifeboat, from Rye Harbour, early in the morning. They’d been called out to rescue the crew of a vessel who’d had an emergency near Dungeness, and the weather conditions were terrible. Not long after they’d set off from Rye Harbour, a message came in that the crew they’d gone out to save had already been rescued by another ship. The attempts to get that message through to the men on the Mary Stanford failed, and tragically she capsized and all 17 of the men on board drowned. This is one of the worst disasters in the history of the RNLI.

Here’s a newspaper article from the other day, marking 90 years since the tragedy.

The old Mary Stanford boathouse still sits on the coast of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve, where we visit now and then. There’s also a new RNLI station in the harbour. And in Winchelsea, not far from us, there are stained glass windows in the church which commemorate the crew of the Mary Stanford.

Left pic: The Mary Stanford boathouse sitting on the horizon at Rye Harbour nature reserve. Right pic: The new RNLI lifeboat station at Rye Harbour.

RNLI Gift Guide

So, to hopefully contribute in some small way to the important work of the RNLI, and to honour the memory of the Mary Stanford crew, here are a few ideas for gifts which I think could interest others who share our love of water, boats and sealife!

(All photos of products below are taken from the rnlishop.org website. We haven’t been sponsored in any way to write this gift guide and will not profite ourselves from any purchases made through the links from this page.)Wooden Ocean Dominos

Dominoes is one of the type of games that work well for us to play, as Penguin has a very strong visual sense and is great at matching and remembering things visually. This little box of Wooden Ocean Dominoes (£6) looks really sweet!

Magnetic Fishing Game

Another ‘fishy’ game is this classic Magnetic Fishing Game (£10). Great for motor skills practise, and I really like the retro style design. There are a few other beautiful looking classic games available from the same manufacturer (House of Marbles), such as a Ludo game with a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party theme!

Ocean Selfies 3D Jigsaw PuzzleAnother classic activity which exercises hand-eye coordination is jigsaws, and if you do them together they can also be a fun way to work on joint attention and vocabulary. In the RNLI shop you can find many different jigsaws with mostly marine motifs. One of my favourites would be this Ocean Selfies Jigsaw Puzzle (48 pieces, £10), which has a “polypropylene lens” surface creating a 3D effect.

For those who want a larger amount of pieces to their puzzles, there’s an Atlantic 85 Inshore Lifeboat 3D Puzzle with 63 pieces (£6), or a 250 piece jigsaw with an atmospheric evening scene of “Harbour Lights” (£10). For the really advanced puzzle person, there’s a cool 1000 piece jigsaw, picturing rescue services in action by the sea (£12.95).

RNLI Jigsaws

Let's Look on the Seashore

For getting outdoors and exploring the seaside, this Let’s Look on the Seashore sticker book (£5) with facts, photos and detailed illustrations looks like a good one for early learners!

To be able to keep notes whatever the weather (or if you always have your Waterproof Notebookbest ideas in the bath!), a Waterproof Notebook (£13) could be very helpful. And to keep track of the time and the tide, there are Time & Tide Clocks such as this (£39.95)Moon Time and Tide Clock

To get the whole family outside more, whether by the coast or furhter inland, this Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside book (£12.99) by Fiona Bird seems brilliant! Book RNLI

Although we love the seaside at any time of the year, it’s not always so tempting in all weathers. While the freezing winds are blowing outside, there are (in my opinion) few things more enjoyable than a hot bath. So fill up the tub, and let Hovercraft Harry and Rescue Boat Bob (bath toys, £10 each) join you! Bath Toys RNLI

4M Mould & Paint Sea Life

For some craftsy indoor fun with a flavour of the seaside, how about a 4M Mould & Paint Sea Life Kit (£10)?

Add some playsand (we love Kinetic Sand!) and a stylish Quickbuild VW Camper Van (£15), and you can start dreaming of sunny days by the beach…Camper Van RNLI

Corgi RNLI

If you’ve got a Corgi collector in the family, there are two lifeboat models available, as well as a Corgi RNLI Land Rover Defender and D Class Lifeboat Diecast Model (£10).

4M Clean Water Science

For some hands-on learning about how water can be cleaned, desalinated and disinfected using various methods, check out this little 4M Clean Water Science kit (£14).

For the RNLI supporter with a sweet tooth, there’s a mouthwatering gift set (£25), and for Christmas the website has a separate section offering hampers, cards, gift bags and decorations, such as these three (wise??) crabs (£10) 😀

bag n crabs RNLI

There are also some less seasonal, sealife themed decorative items available from the RNLI. Personally, I really like the colours, shapes and textures of these Sea Urchin Candle Holders which come in three different sizes (£8-£22).

Large Sea Urchin Candle Holder


Some of the smaller items from the RNLI shop could make really nice stocking fillers. How about some retro fun with Tiddlywinks (£4), or a Squishy Mesh Ball (£3.50) for a relaxing sensory experience? (A word of warning though about squishy things like these: Squishy Mesh BallThey contain a gel which is not meant to be ingested, so if you’ve got a biter & chewer like we do, they’re probably best to avoid. Penguin loves them, and we bought one for him last year, but it was just too tempting to bite into and it didn’t take long before he’d bitten through it.)

Finally, how could we not include this one: A felt tree ornament in the shape of a penguin in a life vest! They also do a purse and a small bag with the same cute motife 😉

Penguin Felt Decoration

Thank you reading, and I hope you’ve found som inspiration here for gifts which will not only benefit their recipients, but also the charity!

Before we go, here’s a video I found on YouTube about the Mary Stanford disaster and its crew. I found it very touching:

Pin this post!

To honour the RNLI and in memory of the Mary Stanford crew, we’ve made a Christmas Gift Guide with items from the RNLI Online Shop! #Games #Toys #Sensory #HandsOnLearning #Educational #Outdoors #SeasideFun

Linking up with:

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

42 thoughts on “A Charitable RNLI GiftGuide

    1. Thank you lovely! I’ve never done a gift guide before, but have to admit that I’ve got ideas for two more (based around themes close to my heart, though not for charity). I really like gifts to have a good purpose in some way though, and I do think that a lot of people buy too much ‘stuff’, for no real reason. We could all do with reflecting a bit more about what things that are really meaningful to us xx


  1. Squishy mesh ball! I wanted to buy my son one of these but had no idea what they were called to let me search for one online. Thank you!

    Might just order it from RNLI now so that I can treat myself to one of those waterproof notebooks while I’m at it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s brilliant to hear! It’s so frustrating when you want to search for something but can’t think of what it would be called, isn’t it? And I suspect that typing in “squeezy thingy” might well yield a few less age appropriate results, haha!
      I too really like the look of the waterproof notebook. Hope both you and the boy enjoy your gifts 🙂


  2. All of these look great! I particularly like the “Let Your Kids Go Wild Outside” book and my daughter would love the Mould and Paint set. I’ve been looking for something sea themed to get my Dad for Christmas and I think the Sea Urchin Candle Holders are the answer so thank you! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Have always loved this charity partly because their purpose was so well explained to me by my parents on trips to the sea and I have tried to do the same with my children. Really lovely to see a gift guide with a charity focus, to learn a bit of history and to become aware of the diverse range of gifts lots of which are educational too. All very good indeed so thanks for sharing #MMBC

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is amazing! Thanks for sharing. My husband served 10 years in the US Navy, so most of those years were spent on the water. He still loves the water and I think he would really enjoy some of these. I like the dominoes and puzzle.#KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Lana! Serving in the Navy must be a very special way of life, spending long periods at sea. Well done to you husband for taking on such important work!
      It probably wouldn’t be worth the postage etc to order from RNLI to the US, but I think Amazon has a charity scheme (called Smile) through which you can select a benefit that will get a small percentage when you shop? Just a thought 🙂 xx

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, the camper van looks fab, doesn’t it, I wouldn’t mind one myself! This is the first gift guide I’ve done so far, but I’ve got a couple more in mind, themed around sensory needs and learning, so tying in with the overall focus of our blog. I don’t wish to encourage buying things just for the sake of it, if you see what I mean. I generally prefer fewer but more meaningful things, than an overwhelming amount of stuff xx

      Liked by 1 person

  5. What a great gift guide! We always like to go in the RNLI shop and buy something when we’re at the seaside but I didn’t know they had an online shop. Heading over there now for some more present ideas! #KCACOLS

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s