Top Active Gifts for Children

Encourage the children in your life to enjoy physical activity and build it into their play time. I've included some games that can turn the much-maligned videogame console into a fitness center, as well as more traditional active gifts. These gift suggestions can help kids learn that being active is fun and help them lead a healthy active life. Some of gifts were suggested by Anne Mejia Downs, assistant professor of physical therapy at the University of Indianapolis.


Age: 4-9 years
This fun smartwatch will keep a child moving with games and activities. It has a motion sensor and three action challenges. It has an alarm, timer, stopwatch, and more than 50 displays. They can take photos and videos with it. It includes a calendar and calculator. It uploads to a computer via a USB cable. It has a rechargeable battery.


Age 4 and up
This game prompts kids to jump, dance and run around and encourages following directions, color and shape recognition and coordination. It was awarded the Toy Industry Association's Game of the Year.


The new Twister variation uses a CD with two DJs to call out directions for 100 different moves. Each player has and individual mat to follow along. Like DDR, this builds balance, coordination, flexibility, reaction time and motor control. Hmm, again, I think parents and grandparents could use a lot more that, too!


Put that video game console to a good use. The kids can really rack up the pedometer steps following dance moves to popular songs. Not only will they get cardio exercise, but it builds coordination, balance, rhythm, reaction time and motor control. Hmm, maybe you'll be sneaking some time with DDR yourself when you're "too busy" to make it to the gym!


The Geopalz pedometers come in fun shapes, including Skelanimals, fantasy, edgy, and cutesy. They are pretty accurate and easy to use. Besides the attraction of the shape, users can log their steps on the web site and earn awards and prizes. This combo makes the Geopalz a great incentive for kids to move more.


The Wii uses motion-sensing technology to get you up off the couch and moving around to interact with your on-screen games. The various sports games can even help players improve their coordination and perform better on the tennis court or ballfield. If you find your children hunkered down, addicted to videogames, it is a good investment to switch to a Wii and get them more active.


Nothing beats a pedometer for recording total daily activity. You can make a family game of it with everybody wearing a pedometer and giving small rewards for winning each week. The Yamax Digi-Walker is considered to be one of the most accurate pedometers on the market, yet is inexpensive. Be sure to get the extra safety strap to keep it attached to your waistband so you don't lose it. If you've been disgusted with the poor accuracy of freebie or cheap pedometers, you need to get the Digi-Walker.


This cute pedometer is accurate and has great features for kids of all ages. It tracks step count, activity time, calories and distance (in miles or kilometers). It has a 7-day memory and a long-lasting battery. It clips to the waistband and has recessed buttons on back to prevent accidental resetting.


A great addition to giving a pedometer, these charts can be used for a virtual walk across the USA, walking to Hawaii, or walking across the Wild West.



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