I remember when it started to get cold outside and my oldest was a little over a year old. After spending summer and fall outside at parks, riding scooters and bikes and running off every blessed bit of energy I was having a hard time imagining him INSIDE FOR THE WINTER?! What in the world was I going to do with him all day? After twelve years and the addition of four more bundles of energy, I want to share with you my favorite gift ideas for those little ones with BIG energy. These are gifts that provide lasting fun, are good for many ages, and will get a lot of use!
So let’s cross a few gifts for wiggle-worms off your list. In no particular order:
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A slide: There is something about climbing up and then sliding down that every kid just adores. And our slide usually ends up with dolls, stuffed animals, and dinosaurs zooming down as well! Little Tikes slides are durable and available in two sizes. The tiniest size here is three feet long and you can fold it up for storage. The large size is five feet long and can be found here. It can also fold up. If you have bigger kids, some giant appliance boxes, and a long stairway then you could DIY an awesome staircase slide like Shannon did on her blog. We used to sit inside sleeping bags and whoosh down our stairs!
2. A Yoga Hammock (think Cirque du Soleil!)
Yoga Hammock (or normal hammock!): Now stay with me here for a second. HAHA! This gift will require some DIY to make a spot that the yoga hammock can hang from. These are very similar to what are called “therapy swings,” which are used for kids with autism as a way to calm them down. This Yoga Hammock comes in so many cool colors, is made from soft silk-like fabric and when paired with this Yoga Bar you can simply hang it in your doorway. There are other kits that include the two caribinirs (don’t forget to order two!) and two daisy chains (don’t forget to buy two!) that you will need to hang this, but it is less expensive to add these items to this particular hammock. Here is a video of a little girl doing what is called the “Monkey Hang” in her yoga hammock, doesn’t it look fun? Remember, if you get this for kids make sure they have a soft landing underneath, and are being properly supervised!
3. A Bounce House
Bounce house: This is hands down the best gift Santa ever brought to our house. It is small enough that it fits in our family room and it stays inside always (I don’t want leaves, grass or dirt on it!). We pull out the bouncy house ALL THE TIME and all of my kids love to play on it! It’s listed for $179 on Amazon right now and this was the BIG present for my kids one year. It folds up very neatly and is easy to pull out and put away. We often throw soft balls on there and besides the noise of the blower, this is a toy that gets an A+ from me! We’ve had ours for three years and just got our first small hole which was easily repaired. This is a great product for high-energy kids!
4. Stepping (Hopping!) Stones
River Stones: This is another toy that gets a ton of use at our house. The height is hard to see in this product picture, but the tallest River Stone is pretty tall! This comes with six stones (more are shown in the picture I don’t know why!). These are awesome because they inspire imaginative play, are great for balance and coordination, and stack inside of each other for easy storage. Our stones have been volcanoes in dinosaur play, been landing spots for musical chair type games, and have created awesome obstacle courses! These are sturdy, but made of smooth rubber and have rubber backing so they don’t slide. My kids will just set them up and try to get across them by jumping. I just love these things!
5. Balance Boards
Balance board: There are quite a few variations of balance boards, but the basics are that your wiggle worm will be using their core to balance on a wobbly surface while having tons of fun! My favorites in order from least expensive to most expensive are: 1. Fat Brain Teeter Popper This is curved and has little suction cups on the bottom (hence the popper!) My kids sit on this, teeter totter on it, lay on it, balance their feet on both sides and make the most satisfying popping noises on hard surfaces. We love ours!
2. Gonge Balancing Board This was a whole family gift that we keep in our family room. It is great to have there because while watching tv my kids will hop on it and balance themselves.
3. the Spooner board is great for kids of all ages (including tweens and teens!) It’s like a skateboard without wheels. Kids can practice jumps, twists and have tons of fun inside!
Parachute: Everyone remembers playing with the parachute in gym class, don’t you? My favorite was when we lifted it up in unison and sat down while putting it behind our backs to make a giant parachute igloo, ah-mazing! Now, these play parachutes are only 10 feet across, so not quite big enough for a giant igloo, but fun nonetheless! I would recommend adding some ball pit balls to this gift, throw them on top and oooweee it is a blast! We’ve also thrown stuffed animals and, umm, popcorn on top (try and catch it in your mouth, it’s hard! haha!) I love the versatility of this gift and also how compactly it can fold away…super easy to store!
Ball Pit: Since you already bought ball pit balls to go on top of the parachute (hee hee!) your high-energy kids will also enjoy this ball pit! This one folds up into a small pouch (when you have lots of kids you appreciate anything that folds up tiny!). If you look on the Amazon site it shows this pit filled with different amounts of balls (so smart of them to show this!) . I think I would choose at least 200 like this set (which is the cheapest with the highest stars, woot!)
8. Bouncy Toys
Bounce Toys: I’m sorry, these are the most adorable things ever! And with a toddler on them?! When my one-year-old holds onto her blue horse’s ears and bounces I take like 40 zillion pictures. Now this is made for the littler kids, they aren’t very tall off the ground so my biggest kids (12 and 9) couldn’t play on it. But my 5, 3 and 1-year-olds love it! It is super sturdy rubber. And you can choose other animals too! Like this Reindeer! Or a horse! Or a UNICORN PEOPLE! (that one is a little more expensive, but it is plush and softy on the outside!) Now if you have big kids (like over 12!) then here is an awesome option that is more like what I had when I was young. Except it is made for teens and grown-ups. Less than $30 too! Hoppers are super fun to play with indoors on carpet, or outdoors!
Cranium Hullabaloo: There aren’t a lot of “board games” that high-energy kids will sit down long enough to play. Fortunately this game is made for your wigglers! Think of it as a fancified cake walk, there is music and jumping from mat to mat, with a winner declared at the end! As a bonus it helps develop listening skills, and helps kids with colors, shapes and words. Even better, it is something they can play by themselves if you need to get laundry folded (which is always, amiright?!)
10. Indoor Playground
Indoor Play Gym: This is one of the best (and most used) gifts we ever purchased. We have ours hung in the doorway of our playroom and my kids swing on it all.the.time. This hooks into your doorway (without screws) and has a swing, a ladder, a trapeze bar, rings and a swinging rope! AND it holds up to 300 pounds (so if the doorway height isn’t an issue much older kids can actually use this!). My 14-year-old also uses it for chin-ups. It is super easy to install and change out the different pieces.
11. Inflatable Gymnastics Mat
This inflatable gymnastics mat has amazing reviews (there are a lot of different price options too.). It inflates in one minute and can be used for safely practicing tumbling, gymnastics and parkour tricks. Since it is inflatable, you can fold it up and store it easier than standard gymnastics mats. It measures 10’x3.3’x4” when inflated.
12. Wiggle Box
This looks like a fun and engaging activity for kids. Each disc has an activity written on it for kids to do. I think this could work great while you are busy making dinner or doing laundry.
Any of these toys will make a wiggly worm, high-energy kid have fun being active even when they are stuck inside!
These balls combine balance and jumping! Get yourself balanced on the ball and then hop up and down. Older kids can try and do it while jump roping. A super fun activity (I had one growing up!)
This 7-foot trampoline works great inside if you have space for it. This is definitely for younger kids…my 7, 5 and 3-year-olds love it…it isn’t quite bouncy enough for the 11-year-old. It is great for kids to exercise and get their wiggles out. We love ours!
15. Portable CD Player + Dance CDs
I know it seems old fashioned but kids LOVE to have their own special source of music! Grab a CD player plus a few dance CDs and you and your active kids can dance and dance.
Did this spark an idea for any of you? What will you buy for your special kid?