Like most parents, I feel like my kids have far too many toys. It’s a very normal reaction, I think. Kids get toys from so many sources, and often have more than they can reasonably play with.
But I have one rule I tell people when they ask me. If it’s a toy that encourages activity, creativity or is educational, go ahead and get it. Hard to get too much of quality toys in that area.
There are a few toys that I think are really great to give to children to encourage them to be more active. Some are more for indoors (great for winter if they don’t want to go outside) while others are for playing outside.
The Fisher-Price Smart Cycle is one example. A lot of people laugh at the idea, since it is far better to encourage kids to be active outside than in playing video games, but if you’re getting a toddler a video game system, better to get one that encourages activity.
For older kids, the Wii is a decent choice. Just get some of the more physically active games to encourage the kids to get up off the couch when they play. Alternatively, Dance Revolution is popular, and you can get the dance pad for a variety of gaming systems.
NERF makes a lot of really great active toys. The big one this year is the Nerf N-Strike Disk Shot, but they have a wide range of toys that encourage kids to run all around and play. Some are good for indoors but many really do best outside.
For outdoor toys, in addition the the usual bicycles, inline skates and skateboards, consider the Ripstik Caster Board. It’s a cool twist on the usual skateboard and looks to be a lot of fun. People describe it as a cross between a skateboard and a snowboard, and the reviews on it have been excellent.
If your kids don’t have a lot of toys that encourage them to go outside, now is a great time to start changing that. If the weather is such that they don’t want to spend a lot of time outside, find variations that allow them to play more actively inside. Many of them will utterly delight the recipient.