One of the funniest compliments I ever got was from a friend who picked his daughter up from my daughter’s birthday party. He said, “Becky always comes home from your parties tired and quiet!” Apparently, at most other parties she was amped up on sugar and wired to the hilt. How did I accomplish such a feat? Well, there are a lot of creative moms out there, but I just kept it simple. I made sure not to serve sugary foods (who needs icing on cupcakes, anyway?) and insisted on an active birthday theme to wear out all party-goers. For instance: we have done kung fu, dance instructors, scavenger hunts, the Blueberry Olympics, and tons of roller skating to name a few. Not only do I give active parties, but shoot for active birthday gifts when we are invited as well.
What do I like to give? Here are a few of my tried and true favorites:
The hula hoop
This one is actually padded and weighs 3 lbs. It does not feel heavy, but if you hold a traditional hoop in one hand, and this one in the other, there is a significant difference. It comes in pieces which snap together easily. It is actually a “workout” hoop, and the manufacturer warns of possible bruising in the first two weeks. However, that hasn’t happened to anyone I have subjected it to. I personally have not mastered the art of hula, but love trying. So have my clients: they have had fun with big smiles on their faces, so this makes a great gift for a big or little person.
The smash medicine ball
This one weighs four pounds, and what kid doesn’t love to smash anything with all their might into the ground and have it not break? Here’s the cool feature: it does not bounce, so you have to lean over, pick it up, and start all over. Especially effective if your kids ever get mad or frustrated, which never happens at my house.
Additionally, when I have clients come in for their workout who are even a little bit frazzled or I can tell that something is bugging them, I simply smile and say as I hand them a smash ball, “Why have a good day, when you can have a great day? Hit the ground as hard as you can!!” It works like a charm every time. Again, great gift for the tall or small in your life.
The hippity hop.
Did you grow up with one of these? I sure did, and when I tried to replicate the action in the gym by hanging on with my heels to the Swiss ball and bouncing along, I was pleasantly surprised at how hard it was to cover ten yards. I nicknamed it “cushy polymetrics” because my legs and hips felt remarkably similar to a light box jump workout. Try it. It is hard, but fun. Careful not to fall off the ball mid-air, so grip tightly with those legs. Kids will get equally tired, and the handle definately ups the safety factor for them. Bottom line: get two and have a race.Ball, Bounce and Sport Ball, Bounce and Sport Cars Hopper (Styles and Colors May Vary)
Wanna learn about physics and get some great exercise at the same time? Try a stomp rocket, in a nice big clear area, of course, unless you are an avid tree or ladder climber. Those rockets definitely get stuck sometimes in tree branches. However, It is so fun to line the rocket up on it’s launch pad, jump and *phoomp* (puff your cheeks out when you say it 🙂 see how much propulsion you can personally generate. They make small and big versions for the small and bigger kids (and adults) alike.
Buy it: Ultra Stomp Rocket
Good ole standby. I took two jump ropes to the track the other day, and my client Kristin and I did a lap around the track jump roping all the way. Seriously good exercise, hard work, and pretty darn fun. It takes such little room, and if you don’t have time to do anything else, step out onto the front porch and see if you can knock out ten minutes. My kids took a jump roping class one spring, and learned to double dutch. That was really fun to watch, easy to learn, but it takes two or three people instead of one which requires a bit of coordination. Children driving you crazy? Hand them a jumprope and kick them to the curb. Fast, simple solution to burn off the extra energy. Super great gift for all ages.
There you have it! Simple, easy, fun, relatively inexpensive, and active gifts for yourself, your child, or your child’s BFF. Keep a few of these nearby for instant entertainment or stress relief. The ongoing ultimate goal: a happy, tired kid!
Photos courtesy of Amazon.com