What to Gift Active Kids for the Holidays to Keep Them Moving

Most kids are always moving, but some are more daring than others. To keep the active child in your life occupied, exploring, and growing, the right gift is crucial. Here are the holiday gifts that active kids will want—and need—to keep them on a roll all through the new year.

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Indoor Gifts for Active Kids

Depending on the weather and where they live, some more adventurous kids can’t get outside as often as they’d like. No problem—these indoor gifts will have them jumping and moving before you know it.

Balance Boards

Commonly called Spooner boards, indoor (and outdoor) balance boards are an engaging toy. They require the balance and coordination of riding, say, a skateboard, but without wheels that can wreak havoc on the floor and elsewhere in the house.

Children as young as preschool age can begin to balance on such a board, making this an excellent gift for every age and stage of development. Older kids will enjoy doing tricks and taking healthy risks, too.

Basement or Playroom Gym

From the Gorilla Gym to DIY rock walls, there are many ways to build an indoor gym for kids. The Gorilla Gym, for example, hangs in a doorway and offers up attachments like swings, pull-up bars, rope ladders, and more to encourage activity.

If you have the square footage, building a rock wall or installing gym equipment can be an excellent way for kids to keep moving year-round. You can DIY a climbing wall (or gift the materials) for kids using plywood, climbing holds, lag screws, and, of course, floor mats for safety.

And, as REI explains, rock climbing teaches kids decision-making skills and discipline, helps boost their confidence, and enhances focus—necessary for keeping energetic kids safe in their adventures.

Outdoor Gifts for Active Kids

For kids who have access to a vast backyard, neighborhood parks, or wilderness, these outdoor gifts are the perfect fit for year-long play.

A New (and More Challenging) Bike

Riding a bicycle is old hat for most kids. But mountain biking presents new and stimulating challenges. Between the benefits of being in nature (like building confidence, reducing stress, and more) and the physical endurance required to handle a mountain bike, kids will be working off excess energy for years to come. If they’re going to spend more time in nature, consider picking them up a smartwatch as well. Kid-friendly smartwatches allow them to take and share pictures and also include safety features like GPS.

A Swing Set (Even DIY)

If the child in your life has room outside for a swing set, this might be the perfect holiday gift. Studies show that unstructured play enhances kids’ social-emotional development, cultivates imagination, and stimulates their senses, Genius of Play explains.

Plus, it gets them moving as they climb ladders, navigate slides, and pump their legs on the swings.

For older kids, you don’t even have to choose one that’s boxed up and ready to go. What better gift for an active kid than a DIY swing set or fort-building kit? Tweens and teens can put their engineering, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills to good use as they read directions, consult diagrams, and hammer nails—while wearing appropriate safety gear, of course.

Need to level out a part of your yard so your swing set is on level ground? Search for “land leveling near me” and look over reviews and ratings from grading contractors. You may be able to find deals as well so you can save on this service.

Kids who like to move may never slow down. But to make sure they’re pursuing healthy activities, consider one or more of these athletic gifts this holiday season. Even for kids who prefer screen time to sweating, the right type of (physical) outlet could change their minds.

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