Keeping little kids active can be, lets put it this way, a challenge.
The expensive toy that you hoped would keep them entertained for weeks ends up merely capturing their attention for ten minutes.
So what do you do?
Technology is the go to option, but you know their energy will be ready to go once it is over. That's why we created a list of toys that will tire their little bodies out, and help you have peace of mind that they are keeping healthy.
Lets jump into it...
1- Bicycle/ Tricycle/ Go-Kart
Yes, I started with the obvious. But there was no way I could leave it off the list, as riding ticks all the boxes of fun, physical activity and skill development. Once mastered, it can provide valuable hours of entertainment, no matter the age. Don't you remember riding everywhere around the neighborhood? Or even being the daredevil and building a ramp to add to the excitement? There can be so much fun to be had on a bike.
Are bike/ tricycles/ go-karts affordable though?
Buying new will cost anywhere from $80 upwards for something that won't break instantly. However, used is always a great option for kids that love to change activities frequently. One tip. Use the local Facebook Marketplace to find used (good condition) toys. I actually found a perfectly working child go-kart for $10 on there, just on the next block from me! When I arrived they actually told me just to take it for free as they just want someone else to have fun on it. That meant both of us were happy.
2- Dump Truck
Now I know what you are thinking. Is this really going to encourage my child to be active? I also thought the same thing until I began working as a Preschool Teacher. They all rushed to get the trucks out when heading outside, and I just presumed they loved the sandbox. But then I noticed they didn't want the sandbox. They actually loved holding the sides and pushing it around as if they were driving. I had to eventually set time limits to allow all the kids a turn to play. The best part though is if you have a hill! The bigger dump trucks are perfect for turning backwards and sitting in, then riding down the hill (just a small hill please). The constant riding down and pushing back up is guaranteed to give them a workout!
You can find these dump trucks for around $25.
Quick tip. Just remember it needs to be the jumbo size if they want to sit in it. Online pictures sometimes make the truck appear bigger.
3. Hula Hoop
Hula hooping is definitely a physical activity. However, little kids can find this skill hard to master, especially completing more than a few a spins before hitting the ground.
But this isn't the sole use for a hula hoop.
By using a forward rolling technique (not backspin, or it will keep coming back to you) you can use it as an object to chase. I'll be honest, when first doing this it felt just like a game of fetch! But seeing the amount of enjoyment on the little ones faces I instantly knew this was a hit.
Unfortunately, this activity does require a little more outdoor space (the longer the distance, the more running involved though). It can however become repetitive. That's where my tip comes in.
Buy multiple colors!
By introducing multiple colors, you can now use them as a teaching aid by helping with their recognition of chasing the right color. This works great with friends, as they all have to focus on their hoop. Hoops can be picked up for as little as $5 in most dollar and discount stores.
This a super way to get your little ones active. Let them bounce off all of their energy, whilst learning to keep there balance sitting on a wobbly ball. Be warned though, it will most likely turn into a inflatable duel when they figure out the fun of hitting each other with this soft toy. And if there are no friends present then they will definitely be coming for you!
Hoppers are a cheaper toy that can be found as little as $5. Which makes it a great toy to keep them active and having fun.
These are a kids favorite! Although a little bit more expensive at around $69 for 6 pieces, but they are totally worth it. This toy is perfect for their imagination and creativity, along with working on their gross motor skills of balancing and co-ordination. They are also lightweight enough for a child to move around and build their own course. And when they are starting to look disinterested, you can switch it up and make it more challenging. But the best part of the balancing logs... they can be used inside and outside!
6. Tall Cones
Yes, you may associate tall cones with a sports class. However, do you ever take those ideas and use them at home? As we all know how much fun and energy they burn when it is time for sports.
The possibilities are endless with cones. They can be used for carrying things, used for stacking , used for running in and out of. The list goes on! I think I will do a blog just on tall cone games. These cones can cost around $20 for 12. Please make sure you purchase the flexible cones. Some are made from hard plastic and can just break apart, not squash.
7. Shovel and Bucket (Sandbox required)
Not everyone has access to a sandbox. But if you do, it is a great way to get their little bodies moving. Have you ever dug a hole for 20 minutes? The effort it takes can most definitely get them sweating.
There are many fun things you can do to get them to dig. Such as hiding objects (nothing too valuable incase you can't find it) and letting them hunt for them. Or letting their imagination run wild and create sand cakes and fairy sand castles.
Finally, a toy that is probably not on many popular toy lists anymore. However, this is a great toy for parents to use that want to go hiking without the bored kids following behind. By turning your hike into an adventure, you can capture their attention and have them looking forward to start walking. If you want to get really creative, draw up a fun map of the trail you are going on. This way they can feel as if they are the leader and directing you.
Well, that's all the ideas for today's post. If you have any affordable toy ideas to share that your kids love to play whilst keeping them active, I would love to hear them in the comments.