Have you ever had a new toy break on Christmas morning?
I remember the year that happened to us. My son was 3 and we had gotten him a fancy motorized crane set. Unfortunately, even given the hefty price tag, the thing turned out to be a piece of junk. It broke while my son was taking it out of the box.
Cue the tears!
My husband and I have certainly learned our lesson to not buy gadgets at Christmas just in order to have a lot of gifts under the tree or to make sure everyone has the same amount of presents.
That’s why we focus on active toys for our boys.
We work really hard to come up with ideas that our kids will love AND that will be useful or meaningful to them. Plus we don’t have a lot of toys to begin with.
If you’re looking for gift ideas for girls, sadly I can’t give any advice about girls as I’m the only one in the house 🙂
Here are my top active toys for boys.
Boys need to move! These kids need energy burning toys. Active gifts are by my favorite and get by far the most use in our house.
1. The best gift ever for a boy is undoubtedly a trampoline.
We bought a large trampoline after doing a lot of research and talking to friends who have trampolines. It has been our single most enjoyed purchase EVER. All of my kids are on it all. the. time. Their friends love it.
It was used in the heat of summer and so far even cold November days haven’t kept them off of it. This trampoline has survived the punishment of multiple teens bouncing on it without a problem.
Update: As of November 2016, Our trampoline is heading into its the third winter and it’s still got plenty of use left.
My second favorite active gift of all time is the swingset. We don’t currently have a swingset, but our kids used the last one for 8 years. That is thousands of hours playing outside instead of banging up the walls in my house! Totally worth every penny.
Again, go for quality here – a cheaper swingset may work for little kids but when they turn 7 or 8, you need something stronger.
Swingsets are a great item to find used (not so with trampolines.)
3. Dome Climber
We have this climber. My younger kids scamper all over that thing. It’s a huge hit. Kids naturally love to climb. Climbing and hanging are excellent exercises.
Sleds were a huge hit last year. If this year is anything like last year, my kids will be spending a ton of time playing in the snow.
5. Various vehicles
Bikes, scooters, PlasmaCar, Ziggle (so much fun!), and Ripstik. Kid-propelled vehicles like these are awesome for burning energy and exercising those gross motor skills (skip the motorized vehicles – those just take up a ton of space and lose their appeal very quickly).
Treats are such an easy win with kids. Chocolate, Smore’s fixings, cookies, etc.
7. Personalized photo books.
Creating a photo book takes just minutes with the Chatbooks app! It’s so easy and the results are impressive. Kids love seeing their pictures in “real” books.
8. Arts and crafts supplies for young artists.
Skip the gimmicks and stick to the basics (nice markers, chalk pastels, crayons, various papers, Sculpey). Maybe add some fun art lessons for a well-rounded gift. If you do check out how to KonMari your kids’ artwork!
9. “Mom” Coupons
Basically, this is a set of homemade tickets for things like staying up late, extra screen time, and a special outing with Mom or Dad. My kids adore “mom” coupons and ask for them every year.
10. Other smaller fun gifts
A few other well-used gifts in our house include:
- a Bilibo –(we love ours)
- Wooden blocks
- Dress up clothes
- Balls of all sizes (we especially like the Gertie ball and the O-ball)
- Easel (my younger boys use it daily)
- Wooden puzzles
What are some active gifts to give older boys?
For older kids, we usually pick one hobby they’re interested in and get something to go along with that. And tweens and teens aren’t shy about telling you what they want.
Over the years, this has included a computer programming course, sports equipment, and a nice watch.
Shh, don’t tell! This year for my older boys, I’m contemplating:
- $99 Moto E smartphone (with $10 monthly plan)
- Comfy beanbag chair
- Spending the money on one child’s upcoming trip to England
- Books. You can never have too many books!
When you focus more on making every Christmas present meaningful and less on quantity, it helps keep Christmas less stressful for everyone. Plus, it’s much easier on the budget!