How many times have you bought your child a present for Christmas only to never see that toy again? The problem is one of aim: you’re shopping based on where your kids are, not where they’re going to be in the months or years to come. If you plan your gifts according to your children’s developing interests, those gifts are sure to get more use—especially if those interests are, for example, your kids’ favorite sports.
Here’s a list of toys to consider for your kids this holiday season. Not only are they fun, but they’re changing the way kids (and their parents) are playing sports.
SOCKIT – $19.95
Is your kid in the local soccer program? Teaching your kids to play soccer can be a rewarding experience, but also a frustrating one. You can show them the right way to kick, but time and again they’ll go back to using their toes, leading to sore toes and short tempers. The SOCKIT remedies this by giving children a visible goal for kicking. The device slips easily over cleats and rests on top of the laces. Every time the child successfully hits the ball with their laces, the SOCKIT lights up, immediate positive reinforcement for a job well done. In no time, kicking with the laces will become second nature for your son or daughter.
Lazer Pitch Baseball
Aim is tough for children to develop, but practice makes perfect. Lazer Pitch Baseball is perfect for those players still too young for a metal or wood bat. At a signal from the batter, the machine automatically lobs plastic balls. The machine can even be set at different angles, allowing for a variety in batting experience. It’s a great way to get your young baseball enthusiast accustomed aiming, swinging, and hitting before graduating to real baseballs.
Chalktrail – $19.95
Learning to ride a bike is a defining moment in every child’s life. You’ll be hardpressed to find a way to improve upon it. But the Chalktrail does just that. The design is simple: the device hooks up easily to the rear tire, holding a stick of chalk at street level. From there it’s a matter of riding your bike in any path you choose and creating works of art as large as a parking lot can hold. The one-size-fits-all design means that parents and children can join together for family bike ride and all contribute to the artwork.
Chalktrail hit stores after a successful Kickstarter in 2012, and it’s still going strong as a bestseller on Fat Brain Toys.
Hover Ball – $8.50 and up
Imagine a game of air hockey as big as your living room. That’s what you get when you buy your child a hover ball. This “As seen on TV” product has been getting some good attention this year. Though several different versions exist from different retailers, the basics are constant: a durable plastic core with a tough foam border, held up by a fan that sends it gliding across any hard surface. The ball is perfect for indoor practice, especially for young children new to soccer, though seasoned players can still get a kick out of it.
As YouTube reviews will inform you, not all hover balls are made equal; some are better suited for indoor practice and some for outdoors. The bestseller on Amazon is currently the ball and goal set by Bonwayer.
Swurfer – $129.99
This is the priciest piece on this list, but we had to include for its simple innovation: the Swurfer completely changes the way you look a swing. Built like a surfboard and including handgrips for omnidirectional maneuverability, the Swurfer can afford anything from a relaxing swing experience to an extreme sport challenge. While kids might grow out of a normal swing set with only two directions available to them, the Swurfer gets better with age as kids get more creative and physically capable, building core strength and courage. All you need is a tree; if you don’t have one on your property, the Swurfer makes for a good companion on camping or hiking trips. You’re sure to get your money’s worth.
With all the love and thought you put into your gifts, you want to be sure that your kids enjoy them to the fullest. Follow our advice and plan according to your kids’ sports interests, and you’ll not only see your kids enjoying their gifts but also know they’re getting better at something they love.