There are literally a thousand toys to choose from this year but how many will really get your kids active?
“You know your child best, what they like, what they don't like,” says Sean Stark, an exercise physiologist at Unity Hospital. Stark put the basic ball at the top of the holiday shopping list for children this year.
“It works on their motor skills from an early age, when you're talking from early infancy. This is the base for your basketball, your soccer ball, your football, throwing activities,” says Stark.
The next item on the list was the bicycle. While this is clearly an active toy, our experts say your child will let you know when he or she is ready to ride their first bike.
“Children tend to be top-heavy and you have to make sure that their safety is of the utmost importance so you want to have the safety gear upfront,” says Stark.
Since it's winter, the sled also made the list for active holiday toys.
“In terms of activity, what goes down must come up...I do appreciate sleds, going out to those hills,” says Stark.
“I think the older toys still have a place because a lot of them, like the regular Twister, it's something that's interactive, it gets the kids up, it gets the kids moving, they can play with friends,” says Suzanne Zeman, a registered nurse and exercise physiologist at Unity Hospital.
“Twister” now includes a play-along DVD component for indoor activity. However, the popular “Dance, Dance Revolution” also made the list for best activity toys to buy this holiday season.
“You're up on your feet, your dancing around, you know, some of them have different dance moves, different songs,” says Zeman.
Among video games, the Nintendo Wii also made the list for its active control panels which allow kids to move with the game. However, our experts did have a few words of caution with the Wii.
“What I think you as a parent need to keep in mind is one, how much time your child is spending playing these games,” says Zeman who cautions that not all Wii games are active and parents should supervise the amount their children spend in front of the television.
Here’s a complete listing of toys recommended by our experts and from the Greater Rochester Health Foundation:
- Ball: $3 to $75
- Sled: $5 to $25
- Bike: $50 to $300
- Crawl tunnels: $15 to $30 These are for infants just as they are getting into the stage of crawling. A good activity for baby and for parent engagement.
- Video Game Bikes: $90 approximately These cycles are the latest to hit the market. Fisher-Price has released the “Smart Cycle” for 3 to 6 year olds. By pedaling and steering a stationary bicycle, children can control a variety of active video games as well as become physically engaged.
- Twister and Dance, Dance Revolution: $30
- Nintendo Wii: $250 (prices vary)
- Eye Toy Games: $40-100 Eye toy is a small, USB camera that sits atop the television, capturing the motion of the player, allowing he or she to become part of the motion on the screen.
- Gift certificates for sports, outdoor activities or local spots of interest such as the Seneca Park Zoo and the Strong National Museum of Play.
- Sports equipment of any kind. Make sure your child is interested in the sport because a gift of equipment can help further generate or inspire their interest in the activity.
Helpful guidelines for purchasing Toys:
- Make sure the toy is age appropriate
- Consider your child’s interests before buying
- Read all warning labels
- Choose a toy which encourages family activity time
- If you have concerns about recalls, visit: www.toyinfo.org