12 holiday gifts for physical literacy

12 holiday gifts for physical literacy

With the holiday season here, you might like to think about giving the gift of physical literacy. Here are some suggestions for fun toys and gifts that help kids to develop real movement skills and set them on the road to becoming active for life.

Different sport balls

Age: 3 years and up

A ball is a natural invitation for active play. If you live in an apartment or a townhouse, check out the classic line of Nerf balls for playing indoor catch, and especially the Nerf basketball set. If you have a home with a large recreation room or garage, the Nerf soccer ball is great for dribbling, passing and shooting when the weather is bad. Of course, if you have a home with a large yard or park space nearby, you might want to buy the “real” variants of each type of ball.

Indoor hockey set

Age: 3 years and up

If the weather outside is frightful, it’s great to have toys and play equipment that work indoors. Like the Nerf balls above, a mini indoor hockey set is great if your home has a large recreation room or a garage.

Zipfy Mini Luge snow sled

Age: 7 years and up

If you have access to snow-covered hills, large and small, the Zipfy mini luge can introduce your kids to the sport of luge. It’s a fun toy that actually builds understanding of sliding downhill and steering at high speeds in snow. Kids of all ages – including mom and dad – can have fun with it.

Classic snow toboggan

Age: 5 years and up

Again, if you have hills in your neighbourhood, or you plan to visit a ski resort this winter, you can get your kids developing their snow sliding skills with a traditional toboggan. Like luge sports, toboggans help to develop balance, reaction time, and decision making at high speed.

Kick scooter

Age: 4 years and up

The classic two-wheel scooter is a source of endless hours of fun. Kids love to race their scooters around the neighbourhood, and they can even ride them to school. From the physical literacy angle, scooters promote balance and special awareness.

JumpSmart Junior electronic trampoline

Age: 1-3 years

The JumpSmart Junior mini trampoline encourages toddlers to be active while stimulating their minds with music, counting, and memory games. It helps them to develop jumping skills and balance as they enjoy hours of healthy physical activity.

Balance bike

Age: 2-5 years

Balance bikes, also called run bikes, are simply small bicycles without pedals. They encourage toddlers to get onto two wheels and start developing their balance without the extra challenge of pedalling. After a few months of gleefully “gliding” on a balance bike, kids are better prepared to get onto a real pedal bike. Balance bikes can be made of metal, wood, or plastic. Major brand names include Glide Bikes, Strider, Mamma Cangura, Plasma Bike, Skuut, Kazam, Kiddimoto, KinderBike, Prince Lionheart, Runners, Wishbone, and Ybike.

Children’s ski pass

Age: 3 years and up

Do you live anywhere near a ski hill? Most resorts offer great deals on ski passes and lessons for kids. If you get passes for your kids, it’s a great incentive to get out on the slopes yourself, even if you have to take lessons for the first time!

Aqua Sphere swim mask

Age: 5 years and up

The winter months are a great time to visit the swimming pool for recreational swims with family and friends. You can encourage your child to get wet with a good quality swim mask. Instead of old-school swimming goggles which provide very limited range of vision under water, consider a stylish swim mask such as the ones made by Aqua Sphere.

Interactive dance video game

Age: 10 years and up

Video games for physical literacy? There are a couple of interactive dance games that actually help to develop movement skills in a fun and meaningful way. Just Dance (PS3, PS4, Wii, Wii U, Xbox 360, Xbox One) and Dance Central (Xbox 360) are probably the best choices because they use full motion-sensing systems to assess whether or not the players are accurately moving their upper and lower bodies in the correct way. These games build full-body rhythm, balance, and coordination while promoting fun physical activity.

Dance lessons

Age: 7 years and up

If your child has shown any interest in bustin’ a move, you might want to look at coupons for dance lessons at a local dance studio. Many studios offer kids’ group lessons in everything from hip hop to ballet at very reasonable cost. There’s no question that dance is as much athletic as it is artistic. This could be the launching pad for the next “So You Think You Can Dance” star!

Gift of play for a child in need

Age: any

There are remarkable charities at home and abroad that provide sport and play opportunities for children in need. KidSport is a Canadian organization that provides bursaries to help kids from low-income families play organized sports. Right to Play is an international organization that uses sport and play to help children in developing nations to avoid diseases such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, and to learn lessons in community leadership, tolerance, peace, and social change. Both organizations welcome your donations over the holiday season and throughout the year.

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