10 toys that give the gift of physical literacy

10 toys that give the gift of physical literacy

On the hunt for gifts to encourage active kids? With some targeted shopping this season, you can make physical literacy a part of your holiday plans.

The toys listed below encourage kids to develop their physical literacy. Some of these toys work on the ABCs of Agility, Balance, Coordination and Speed, while others develop fundamental movement skills that help to prepare kids for different physical activities and sports.

Balance bike

Age: 2-5 years

Balance bikes are simply small bicycles without pedals. They are designed to encourage toddlers to get onto two wheels and start developing their balance, but 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 pedal bike and combining balance and pedalling at the same time. 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.

Toy snow skis

Age: 2-4 years

Do you have hills in your neighbourhood? When the snow starts to fall this winter, you can introduce toddlers to skiing with toy snow skis and poles. Lucky Bums is one of a variety of companies that make kids’ toy snow skis. This is a great way to get children familiar with sliding on snow, and developing their balance along the way.

Sno Stomper snow shoes

Age: 5-8 years

If you expect to see a lot of snow this winter, think about getting your preschool children a pair of kids’ snow shoes. It’s a terrific way to introduce your children to outdoor winter activity in general, and dispelling the idea that snowfall prevents you from enjoying a walk. Snow shoeing also develops balance on slippery and soft surfaces.

Zipfy mini luge snow sled

Age: 7 years and up

If you have access to especially large snow-covered hills with long unobstructed slopes, this mini luge toy can introduce your kids to the sport of luge. It’s a fun toy that helps kids understand the mechanics of sliding and steering at high speeds in the snow. This video helps to illustrate how it works.

Eezy Peezy monkey bars

Age: 3-6 years

These monkey bars are easy to assemble, and they can be set up in a large indoor activity room or outside in the yard. The plastic bars are more forgiving than traditional metal monkey bars which can hurt if children slip and bang their heads. Monkey bars are great for developing overall coordination and flexibility, as well as limb strength and core strength.

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. Toboggans are similar to luge sports in developing balance, reaction time and decision making at high speed.

Aqua Sphere swim mask

Age: 5 years and up

The winter months are also a good time to visit the swimming pool, either for swimming lessons or recreational swims with friends and family. You can increase your child’s enjoyment in the water and encourage swimming and diving with a quality swim mask.

Pool dive toys

Age: 5 years and up

To accompany a swim mask, you might want to get your child some simple dive toys for the pool. These are colourful play objects that sink in the water so your child can dive and retrieve them. Dive toys are a great way to help children overcome their fear of diving and having their head under water.

Kids’ mask and snorkel set

Age: 5 years and up

Are you planning a winter vacation to tropical shores in Mexico, Hawaii or the Caribbean? Your child can get hours of extra enjoyment in the water by learning how to snorkel with a kids’ introductory mask and snorkel (just don’t forget the sunscreen!).

Basketball, football, soccer ball

Age: 5 years and up

You can never go wrong with a good ball. If you have a home with a large yard or open park space nearby, your child can always use a soccer ball, football or basketball. If you have an apartment or small townhouse, you might want to get a basic Nerf ball for playing indoor catch. If you have a home with a large recreation room or garage, your child could use a Nerf soccer ball to practice dribbling, passing and shooting when the weather is especially bad outside.

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