Creative and inexpensive holiday gifts ideas to get youth moving

December 11, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Choosing the right holiday gifts are a great way to get children moving throughout the year, and there are many affordable options, says a Purdue University health and fitness educator.

"Fun, active gift ideas go beyond the more expensive choices of a fitness game system or a new bicycle. Today, there are a number of inexpensive and even small products that would make great stocking stuffers," says Carole DeHaven, a continuing lecturer in health and kinesiology and a regional director for the Indiana Association of Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance. "Toys or activities, such as geocaching, that get children up and moving are more likely to work when parents are joining in the fun or they see the parents being active too."

The goal is to have children and adults get 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous physical activity, DeHaven says. About 17 percent, or 12.5 million, of youth ages 2-19 are obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

"While teaching your child how to jump rope, consider being the turner and helping your child develop creative jumping activities," DeHaven says. "Remember how fun it was to Hula Hoop? Show children how to use the hoop on arms, waist and ankles. Colorful hoops are easy to use, inexpensive and great exercise for all family members. Use them and other items to create indoor obstacle courses so children can run and hop to improve footwork and coordination."

Gift ideas for children ages 6 and older include:

* Pogo sticks or ball hoppers.

* Rocket Stomper. Children jump on the air pump to launch the rocket.

* Sports equipment, such as Velcro mitts, Nerf Frisbees, footballs, baseballs.

* Compass, GPS or geocache for treasure hunting and hiking.

* Skateboards, scooters and new Y-Volution Carver Scooters with helmets and elbow and knee pads.

* Cup stacking, juggling, jump ropes and yo-yos.

* Flags for game play and tag activities.

Gift ideas for children ages 5 and under include:

* Hula Hoops and cones for jumping, weaving and quickness and agility.

* Nerf balls of various sizes to practice throwing, catching and kicking.

* Set of bases to practice running and locomotor skills.

* Music CDs and DVDs for dancing.

* Musical instruments to encourage moving and marching.

Some ideas that might be more expensive can include elevated moon shoes that older children strap on to jump and bounce, a grow-to-pro pogo stick that can transform as skills develop and an electric balance board that lights up and makes sound.

Writer: Amy Patterson Neubert, 765-494-9723,

Source: Carole DeHaven, 765-49-40216,

Related websites:

College of Health and Human Sciences

Department of Health and Kinesiology

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