Yes that time of the year is upon us again. Yaay! I love this season. The summer brings the promise of warm weather and the longer days give us time to be outdoors.

Where are you going this summer? What gifts will you be buying for people? Let’s think active. Active gifts, active pursuits. This is easier than you think. I headed down to the Warehouse the other day to look at active gifts – yes that’s right, the type to get families moving. Well I was overwhelmed!

There are so many things in the aisles that promote activity. There were all the old favourites like the cricket and baseball sets, but wait there are also foam versions of these to get the young ones into sport. Actually, there are junior versions for most sports. Fantastic.

There were trampolines, goals for soccer and netball, bikes from toddler three wheelers to mountain bikes. There was a huge section on water activities including kayaks, and other ways to get in the water.

Think also about the less obvious things that promote activity when Christmas shopping. These are things like butterfly catchers, elastics, frisbees, hula hoops, kites, nerf flying footballs, hand held windmills, water guns. All of these items get the kids outdoors and they will start to run – just watch!

There are honestly too many active gifts to list, just search the aisles and think active. Look out for mailers too from sports shops and other department stores. Get creative too, recreate a favourite outdoor game you used to play.

My favourite outdoor games as a kid was the gutterboard and stilts my dad made. A gutterboard is formed by nailing two pieces of 4 by 2 wood together to form a triangle, you then throw a tennis ball or small rubber ball at it. Catch and throw. Play solitaire or with a friend on the otherside.

This a great upper body work out and promotes good eye hand coordination. My dad made us several gutterboards as we were growing up. You can make your own, or buy one here.

Stilts are easy to make and will promise to wear the kids out in no time! I had a pair of these (dad made of course)! Fantasic handmade, low cost idea thats great fun to use. It’s also a BIG gift ( kids love big gifts). Tie a bow around it and put it near the xmas tree! There are instructions on making stilts here.

I’d love to hear what ‘active’ gifts you have in mind for your kids this year. Do add your ideas below so that everyone can be inspired!

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Lynda Lovatt is a qualified fitness exercise consultant with a special interest in pregnancy, post-natal fitness and promoting fitness for mums of older children. She delivers menopausal fitness classes and personal training sessions in Wellington. See her website for more about Lynda.

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