Buying gifts for kids that aren’t your own can be challenging.  I know what my child would like, but friends might not be into pirates, Barbie, My Little Pony, Legos, Star Wars or Batman.  I find this especially difficult when there is a class party for a schoolmate my child doesn’t know too well.  Gifts that promote fitness are the easy answer.  It doesn’t matter whether the child is particularly athletic or not.  Every child needs to spend some time doing fitness based activities to develop aim, hand-eye coordination, reaction reflexes and concentration.  Whether buying for a boy or girl, you can’t go wrong with the following gift guide.

 Gift Guide for Kids

Hitting

  • Tee ball (2-6 years)
  • Croquet Set

Coordination

  • Ribbon Dance Stick
  • Hula hoop
  • Diabolo (Chinese yo-yo)
  • Juggling Sticks

Timing and Jumping

  • Jump rope
  • Skip It
  • Double Dutch ropes
  • Chinese Jump Rope

Aim and Throwing Skills

  • Water Balloon Pump Toy
  •  Bocce Ball Set
  •  Bowling
  •  Horseshoes
  •  Cornhole Bean Bag Toss Game
  •  Frisbee Golf Set
  •  Ladder Golf Game, also called Bolo Ball

Throwing and Catching

  • Velcro Toss and Catch
  • Frisbee
  • Smash Ball Set

Reflexes 

  • Reaction Ball (this agility ball bounces in unexpected directions)

There are several different manufacturers of these toys.  The best brand will depend on the child’s age and equipment design.  There are horseshoe games designed for three year olds as well adults.  To help you decide, games in each category are listed in order of complexity.  Fine and gross motor skills learned by playing a variety of activities build on each other.  Not only do these gifts help develop skills and habits that last a lifetime, they are a lot of fun!

 

Danielle Federico, M.P.H. is the author of “MOMMY FABULOUS: Complete Pregnancy Fitness and Nutrition Guide, Designed to Deliver a Fabulous Postpartum Figure.” (amazon.com) She holds a Masters of Public Health from UC Berkeley and is a personal trainer and nutritional counselor. Danielle’s popular blog www.dani-fabulous.com provides nutrition, health and fitness information for anyone looking to lead a healthier life.