Each year, the Active for Life team gathers the season’s best toys, games, and sports equipment that help promote active play for children (and their parents!). These nine gift ideas will have you hopping, skipping, and jumping all the way to physical literacy and lifelong wellness.
If your pint-sized Yeti loves to shred, this snow scooter will do the trick. The oversized handle is perfect for when your child’s hands are bundled up in mittens and the non-slip deck keeps them onboard as they slide down their favourite hill (building on their balance skills all the way to the bottom). $49.99. Ages 7+
Slacklining, one of the hottest fitness crazes this year, is a great way to build your child’s balance skill. We like this beginner-friendly slackline because its rubber coating helps make learning easier, and at 50 mm wide, it’s one of the widest slacklines on the market. The ratchet straps make for simple setup just about anywhere. Download the free Gibbon Slack App for either Apple or Android for more tips on how to make the most of what we think will be your family’s new favourite piece of sports equipment. $89.99. Ages 5+
When the cold weather has you stuck indoors, these soft snowballs set the stage for a memorable snowball fight — without the frozen fingers and slush — so that kids can build their throwing skills. Pair it with the indoor bat (sold separately) to build your child’s striking skills. $21.99. Ages 3+
This innovative toy is a twist on traditional catch and throw games. Open the Squap mitt and the ball is launched through the air … then trap the ball by closing the mitt. Squap can be played in pairs or solo and builds your child’s hand-eye coordination and catching skills. Fun fact: Squap was brought to Canada by a Squamish, B.C. mom and won a deal on Dragon’s Den earlier this year! $29.99
Skipping is a fabulous way for your child to build their balance and coordination skills … plus it’s just plain fun. This beaded jump rope by Ringside has a strong nylon rope inside of those delightfully retro break-resistant plastic links, making this jump rope durable and lightweight. $7.99
This super-supple 7-inch foam ball is ideal for building throwing and catching skills (plus the bright yellow colour helps little eyes track its movement better, therefore helping with hand-eye coordination). Tough enough to be rated for schoolyard play, but soft enough to be used for rolling back and forth with your toddler, this is truly a classic holiday gift for children. $6.69.
Active playtime ideas are endless with these super-bouncy disks. Try bouncing the included OgoSoft balls or a tennis ball or even a badminton birdie. Toss it like a Frisbee or pair up with a pal for a hilarious game of catch. Hand-eye coordination and tracking objects through the air are skills built with this interactive toy. $39.99
This oddly shaped rubber ball will keep your child on their toes! Because of its shape, the React-2 Ball will bounce in an unpredictable direction when it’s thrown, helping your child improve their agility and hand-eye coordination. It’s smaller size makes it perfect for wee hands. $4.29.
Sports lessons and active family experiences
Maybe it’s signing your child up for the next session of a sport they love (like swimming lessons) or surprising them with a sport they’ve long been interested in (like hip hop dance lessons), giving the gift of sports lessons helps nurture your child’s physical fitness. Better yet, search out a program that invites parents to participate alongside children and share this gift together. For families who prefer the flexibility and lower price point of a drop-in -program, consider gifting passes for your community sports and recreation complex. Much like a gift certificate, these punch cards and fitness passports are great for cold and snowy days when you’d rather keep your active fun indoors.