This holiday season, we’re all looking for ways to add a little more light and joy to our lives. Give your loved ones a boost with a gift to inspire you to enjoy active fun together.
Here are our picks for toys and gifts that will help you and your kids enjoy the mental and physical benefits of staying active all year round.
Gifts to inspire outdoor adventures
MEC Toaster Booties ($34.95; ages infant to toddler)
These were one of my favourite products when my kids were babies. Their toes stayed warm and dry as they rode in the stroller, sled, and baby carrier for hours-long walks. They’re also great for indoors! The large opening means you don’t have to struggle (too much) to put them on and the skid-proof soles will keep them steady on their feet.
Bilibo ($39.95; ages 2-7)
Developed in collaboration with childhood development experts, the Bilibo resembles a whimsical hard-shell bowl with handles. Great for open-ended imaginative play, it can be a bowl or a ship, or your child can turn it over and develop gross motor skills like balance and coordination while standing on top. Bilibo remains durable and shock-resistant even at low temperatures, so it can be used at the beach, pushed through the yard, and enjoyed in the snow (how many snowballs can it hold?). There are countless ways to use the Bilibo!
HockeyShot Shooting pad ($45.99; ages 3+)
When you can’t make it to the rink, you can practice your game at home. The HockeyShot Shooting Pads can be used inside or out, and simulate the feel of the ice so you can work on passing, stickhandling, and shooting. Score!
Nite Ize SlapLit LED Slap Wrap ($14.95; ages 4+)
I love evening walks and bike rides, but during the winter we’re usually heading out in the dark once school and homework are done. For safety, and to make it fun, I always stick lights on my kids. Made of durable nylon, these Slap Wraps are super easy to wrap around an arm or leg (even over a jacket), and have high visibility so you can stay active well into the evening. The high-visibility reflective pattern helps you be seen even when the LED is off.
VTech KidiGo Walkie Talkies ($39.99; ages 4+)
My two kiddos love bringing along walkie-talkies when we go for hikes through the woods and even walks around the neighbourhood. The KidiGo Walkie Talkies have a range of 650 feet, are kid-safe, and feature a clear digital connection that keeps kids’ conversations secure, preventing other walkie-talkie users from listening in or chatting with them. Kids can also send messages back and forth by choosing from preset animated messages using the large, backlit LCD screen.
Hape Hand-Powered Flashlight ($22.99; ages 4+)
Make adventures and camping trips even more exciting with this kid-sized, hand-powered flashlight. Too cold to camp outside? Set up a tent in the living room and practice shadow puppets on the wall! Made from bamboo and plant-based plastic, this flashlight is perfect for the eco-friendly explorer.
Tubbs Kids’ Snow Glow Snowshoes ($69.99; ages 4-8)
The LED lights in this beginner pair of snowshoes are a great nudge to get little ones outside and trying a new sport! The QuickLock binding will help them get in out and quickly, moulded traction rails keep them from slipping, and batteries are included so you don’t need to fiddle with them before heading out the door.
Stiga Kick Combo Scooter ($84.99; ages 5+)
My kids love scootering during the warm months, but when the first flakes fall they’re forgotten in the garage until the next spring. Not so with this awesome combo scooter! The high-performance 120-millimetre wheels can be swapped for skis, making it a versatile toy for all-season active play. Check out what Active for Life Role Model Tanya Koob has to say about it!
Create a Castle Deluxe Tower Kit ($59.99; ages 6+)
If your sandbox is snowed over, no matter! You can build sand and snow castles with this two-piece tower mold. Unbuckle the molds to reveal a perfect tower. Build a snow fort in the yard or bring the molds along to your local park for some awesome imaginative play. Building with snow also encourages the development of motor skills, spatial reasoning, and creativity.
Marker Junior Vijo Winter Helmet ($109.99; available in two sizes)
“Have you seen my goggles? Has anyone seen my goggles!?” Avoid this season-long question with this helmet. With a retractable visor that slides into the helmet, the lenses are also protected when not in use or when the helmet is stored. The Vijo is a great choice for kids and juniors looking for comfort. It includes a removable X-Dry liner so that beanies can be worn under the helmet, audio-ready removable earpads, and a size adjustment dial (one of my favourite features in any helmet!)
Engineer’s Compass ($15.50; ages 6+)
Never get lost again with this compass. It’s ideal for exploring the outdoors. Pack a bag with snacks, water, extra mitts, and head to the woods to practice your orienteering skills. Comes with instructions.
Djubi Slingball Night Flight ($39.99; ages 8+)
Head outdoors for a thrilling game of night catch! Use the racquets to slingshot the light-up foam balls while you run, leap, and catch. These can launch an impressive 125 feet, which makes for an energizing and heart-racing game.
Firestarter Rod with Multi-Tool Striker ($7.90; ages 8+ at your discretion)
Yes, I let my kids play with fire—under adult supervision of course. Lighting his own mini-flame was the highlight of one camping trip for my then- nine-year-old. This tool is a great nudge to get your kids exploring and searching the woods (or yard!) for dry leaves, sticks, and kindling. Whether you’re camping, or making s’mores in the backyard, kids can learn to safely light a fire with this windproof set that will even work when wet.
Play Snow Igloo ($289; for the whole family)
Stay snuggly and warm in this Canadian-made igloo. Its strong rigid frame allows kids to play safely in their very own snow fort. Designed by a Montreal father and former member of the Canadian alpine ski team (he knows snow!) the design prevents dangerous snow fort collapses [PDF]. The structure measures five by four feet and can withstand over 1,000 pounds of snow!
PremierSki – Stroller Skis ($74.99)
If you want to head outside for an invigorating winter walk with your baby but can’t get the stroller’s wheels through the snow, this might be your answer! Simply attach the skis to the wheels and glide through winter.
Well-designed and made in Canada, the skis are great for winter jogging or strolls on a forest’s groomed trails. See website for stroller specifications and safety information.
Gift ideas for indoor play
When it’s a bit too cold for outside play, stay active inside with these stimulating toys.
Yookidoo Lights N Music Fun Ball ($24.95; ages 0-3)
Shake, roll, and chase! This light and sound ball is activated by movement and it’s great for encouraging babies to roll the ball and crawl after it. It’s colourful and easy to grasp—perfect for little ones.
Okiedog 3-in-1 Foldable Trampoline ($139.99; ages 10 months +)
Kids will be leaping with joy when they see this three-in-one multi-stage trampoline and activity centre. Kids from 10 months to five years can use it as a ball pit (22 balls included) or as a trampoline, with or without the included safety bar. Great for encouraging movement year-round! Maximum weight is 55 lbs or 25 kgs.
Grapat Wood Coloured Bowls and Balls ($75.99; ages 18 months +)
Put a green ball in a purple cup. Or… a yellow ball in a yellow cup? Or maybe pretend they’re ice cream cones? Enjoy fun, open-ended play with this wooden set. Classify, group, count, and match elements through colour and/or shapes. Comes with 12 bowls and six balls in the colours of the rainbow.
Boon Water Pipes Bath Toy ($24.95; ages 1-6)
Make bath time a fun scooping and pouring extravaganza! Pipes come in five colourful shapes that can be used individually or put together to make a chain. Little ones can learn about cause and effect and enjoy sensory play while getting clean. Win-win!
Playzone-Fit Wack-A-Tag 3-pack ($27.99; ages 3+)
Press down, pop up for an active race game. Pop-up pieces use a suction cup to stay down for three to five seconds each. Challenge your children to keep them down! Help build hand-eye coordination and quick reflexes with this versatile game that can be used indoors or out. Pop-pop-pop, who gets there first? Place them near or far for different game play, play individually, or challenge others to a race!
HABA Magnetic Game Neato Number-Train ($26.99; ages 2+)
Children will develop their fine motor skills and concentration as they use the magnetic pen to guide balls from their parking space and load them onto the train. Choo-choo!
Plan Toys Mini Golf Set ($54.99; ages 3+)
This set comes with everything you need to set up a mini-golf course in your backyard, the basement, or from room to room! Little ones can develop their gross motor skills and hand-eye coordination, and improve concentration while guiding the wooden ball through the tracks and hole.
NHL AirPuck ($19.95; Ages 3+)
“Please don’t hit my walls!” I warn my kids every time they take out their mini hockey sticks in the living room. Luckily, this NHL-licensed product has a protective layer of foam to soften the blow to your furniture. Hovering over a curtain of air, the giant puck can be used over hard surfaces such as hardwood and vinyl, and can even be played with in the dark because it lights up. And—no sticks needed. Get your game face on and practice your kicks, dekes, and shootouts!
Rollnet Set ($25; ages 3+)
Are your local tennis courts and outdoor ping pong tables closed for the winter? Want to practice your hand-eye coordination and reflexes? Bring the game inside to your kitchen table with this removable table tennis set. Includes one Rollnet, two durable standard-size bats, and two orange balls.
Mano Verde Healthy Garden ($24.99; ages 4+)
Just because it’s cold outside doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy gardening! This made-in-Canada gardening kit comes with everything needed to inspire kids: three packs of special seeds (sunflower, radish, mustard), a biodegradable pot and saucer, soil & instructions. Place in a sunny window and watch your garden grow!
ThinkFun Yoga Dice ($19.99; ages 6+)
A super fun introduction to yoga! This simple movement game helps children learn yoga while increasing flexibility, balance, and focus. Includes six six-sided yoga pose dice, six pose tokens, one six-sided breath die, one focus token, a yoga mat game track, a take-along bag, and an instruction booklet (with yoga pose descriptions).
ISOLOVEPLAY Box ($38; ages 6+)
“Let’s go for a walk. There might be something fun at the mailbox!” Watch your kids’ eyes light up as they find a box addressed to them, filled with material that’s great for open-ended and imaginative play. Developed by professionals, the 30+ items included in the box create a multi-sensory experience that focuses on health and development and encourages countless play opportunities.
Hover Star 2.0 Motion Controlled UFO ($24.99; ages 6+)
Too cool. Control this UFO with your hands! Simply toss it into the air and the built-in motion sensors respond to hand commands and avoid obstacles. Use it on your own or with friends inside or out. The Hover Star also includes glowing LED lights for additional visibility in dark rooms or for playing outside after nightfall.
Kikkerland Phone Disco Light ($13.79; ages 6+)
Clear the dance floor and create a moving and grooving disco in your living room! This tiny disco light plugs into your phone and lights up to the rhythm of your music while projecting multi-coloured awesomeness onto the walls and ceiling. You’ll be sure to work up a sweat while singing along to your favourite tunes.
Active games for skill-building fun!
These games will have everyone running, jumping, throwing, and challenging themselves.
Peaceable Kingdom Feed the Woozle Preschool Game ($24.99; ages 3+)
The big-mouth Woozle is hungry. Feed him 12 silly snacks—like toenail toast and hairy pickles, ewww!—before all the snacks are gone. This game has lots of movement and fun variations to keep challenging kids so the fun will grow with your child.
Wimpy Kid 10–Second Challenge Game ($24.99; ages 8 to adult)
Work up a sweat as you challenge the family to jumping and balancing feats along with unusual and brainy challenges. Outwimp them all if you can do them in 10 seconds or less. Includes 90 game cards with original illustrations by author Jeff Kinney.
Kids Scavenger Hunt Game by Outset ($19.99; ages 6+)
With two indoor clue card decks and two outdoor decks, Kids Scavenger Hunt can be played in all seasons. It will have kids tracking down objects like “a weed,” “a sign with the letter K,” or “a dog toy.” Find all the items on your card and you win! Great for playing in the backyard or on a walk around town.
Boochie ($42.99; ages 8+)
This action-packed family game will have you tossing, kicking, bowling, and throwing as you try to land your ball and hoop as close as possible to the soft foam Boochie target. A special tracker gives you different challenges every round. You may have to toss between your legs, behind your back, or even with your eyes closed! The player with the most points wins.