Most kids need to be active. Being active is good for our health, of course. But exercise is not just good for cardiovascular health. Kids’ brains also seem to function much better when they are able to move and be active. Indeed, research suggests that physical exercise promotes learning in addition to physical fitness.
Although all the bouncing around my kids like to do sometimes drives me nuts, I find it preferable to give them appropriate outlets for their energy rather than trying to suppress it. Fortunately, there are so many great ways for kids to be active both indoors and outdoors.
Note: For more great gift ideas for kids of all ages and interests, see my gift guides page.
Below I have complied a list of 12 of the best gifts for active kids. On this list are ideas that would make awesome holiday gifts for kids who need to move and be active.
Strider Classic No-Pedal Balance Bike: I was initially sold on the concept of the balance bike when I observed a boy on our street riding a regular pedal bike like an expert just days after he had turned 3. I couldn’t believe a child of that age would be able to ride a bike so well! His mom told me that he had started on a balance bike and transitioned to a regular bike when he was still 2-years-old. After a bit of research, I discovered that the difficult part of riding a regular bike is learning to balance, not learning to pedal. The genius behind a balance bike is that it gives kids the opportunity to learn the balance part of bike riding without having to worry about learning to pedal. Once kids can balance on a balance bike, they easily transition to riding a bike with no need for training wheels. Indeed, both of my kids started on the Strider Classic No-Pedal Balance Bikes and, when they were ready, transitioned to riding a regular bike (with no training wheels) with complete ease.
Mini Micro Scooter: I initially looked into purchasing scooters for my kids when QBoy’s physical therapist suggested that a scooter would be great for helping him work on balance. After quite a bit of research, I settled on the Mini Micro Scooter from Kickboard USA because of its innovative design. What makes this scooter so awesome is its “lean-and-steer” design that allows children to use their body weight to control the steering. Plus, the wheels provide a very smooth ride. This scooter is more expensive than others I have seen, but it is a very high quality scooter that my kids still regularly ride nearly 3 years after we first bought them.
PlasmaCar: These are a toy that my husband and I riding enjoy almost as much as my kids. 🙂 When my kids were younger, they rode the PlasmaCar like a regular old riding toy, pushing it with their feet. Now that they are older, they can use the PlasmaCar as designed. That is,the PlasmaCar can be powered by swiveling the steering wheel back and forth to make it move forward. This is a really innovating design that is a lot of fun. In fact, even though at 5’9″ I’m a bit too tall for the PlasmaCar, I still enjoy hopping on and racing my kids down the driveway from time to time.
Fold & Go Trampoline: I so wish we had room in our house to put this Fold & Go Trampoline. Kids love to jump and bounce. In fact, bouncing gives kids important sensory input that helps to organize their brains. If you have a child who is always bouncing on the beds or sofas like my XGirl, this trampoline may provide a more appropriate outlet for their bouncing energy. I love that it includes a bar for kids to stabilize themselves if balance is an issue.
Playskool Play Favorites Sit ‘n Spin Toy: This was a favorite toy of QBoy’s when he was little. He loved the feeling of spinning himself until he was dizzy, at which point he would fall over in a heap of laughter. This is a great active toy for kids ages 1-4.
Diggin Wobble Deck: This was another toy introduced to us by QBoy’s physical therapist. This toy promotes balance, but it also has an extra element of fun because kids can shift their weight in order to play different sounds. The Diggin Wobble Deck includes three multi-level balance games to keep kids entertained. And this toy doesn’t take up much space, so it is great for small indoor spaces.
Benny The Jumping Bull: My kids received this toy under the Christmas tree last year. It got daily use for several months, and it still makes a regular appearance when my kids want to bounce around the house. My daughter, who loves to jump and bounce, practically gets airborne on this toy. I love how my kids are usually out of breath by the time they are done bouncing around.
Toysmith 18-inch Hoppy Ball: This was one of my son’s favorite toys at his preschool. He loved to sit on it and bounce around the back yard. This toy is great for developing balance and coordination, as well as for getting active. Kids can use this toy indoors or outdoors, so this can be a great energy burner no matter what the weather!
Isokinetics Inc. Brand Exercise Disc / Balance Cushion: Kids like to move. But sometimes they also need to sit down. I purchased these balance cushions and placed them on my kids’ chairs to improve their core strength and to help them get their wiggles out while seated. We also use these from time to time to do balance exercises by attempting to stand on them with one or two feet for as long as possible. Although it would be nice for my kids to have balance balls to sit on, with our limited space I’ve found these balance cushions to be a great substitute.
Gamecraft Safety Guard Scooters: QBoy’s physical therapist lent us a scooter board in order to improve his core strength, and it has been a lot of fun to play with. I make him lay belly-down on the scooter holding on to a rope while I drag up up and down our driveway. He also sits on it and uses his feet to “walk” the scooter around. With multiple kids and multiple scooter boards, you could easily have scooter board races. I like the handles on this scooter board to help kids keep their balance.
Toysmith Monster Feet Novelty Toy: This is a toy we were introduced to by QBoy’s physical therapist. Walking and jumping while standing on these giant monster feet is not just fun, it also works on kids balance and coordination.
Stomp Rocket Jr. Glow Kit: My son received this for a birthday gift a while back, and it has been a fun toy that promotes physical activity. To use the stomp rocket, load a foam rocket on to the launch stand in an open outdoor area. Stomp on the blast pad as hard as you can, and then watch the rocket fly! Kids will enjoy trying to stomp as hard as they can in order to make the rocket fly further. Plus, they’ll burn a lot of energy as they chase down their rockets in order to try again!
Looking for more great gift ideas? Check out my other gift guides:
- Best gifts for kids who love science
- Best gifts for kids who love to build
- Best gifts for developing kids’ fine motor skills
- Best gifts for kids who love arts & crafts
- Best gifts for encouraging sensory play
- Best gifts for developing math concepts
- Best gifts for teaching letters
- Best gifts for teaching shapes
- Best gifts for kids who love LEGO