Santa should bring the gift of activity to kids

STOCKINGS are hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St Nicholas soon will be there.

Christmas Eve has finally arrived and Hastings stores expect an influx of last-minute shoppers frantically checking off gift lists.

Kids are born in the digital age so the latest technological gadget always rates high up in the wish hierarchy.

In my home state of Victoria, I remember my younger cousins in the loungeroom at my grandparents’ house on Christmas day, fiddling with some new fang-dangled contraption, driving us older generations nuts with all the beeping, whirring and zinging.

Outside, the sun would be shining and fresh South Gippsland air filtering through Nanna and Granddad’s spectacularly beautiful farm.

At the ripe old age of 25, I feel justified in uttering the phrase “back in my day, a scooter, skipping rope or slinky were hot items atop my gift dreams list”.

In hindsight, I probably wanted a Tamigotchi or Nintendo Game Boy as much as my cousins want an iPad, but I bet retirees didn’t actually walk 500 miles to school.

Anyway, active toys have a range of benefits that help children learn how to play and interact, as well as sharing with others.

Lake Cathie mum-of-three Leah Pearse agrees, carefully considering the benefits her kids will get out of this year’s Santa stocking.

Harley, 10, considers himself the next David Copperfield so the latest magic tricks will suffice him Christmas morning.

Leah is pleased with this passion because it builds Harley’s confidence in social settings and his problem solving skills.

Abigail, 6, is wild about nature and science so while she hoped for a guinea pig, her parents felt they already had enough pets so a Pillow Pet is at the top of her wish list.

Jett, 4, loves his boy toys so a toy helicopter and computer game are gifts high on his agenda.

Working out which bit fits where is an engaging task to build Jett’s problem solving skills, Leah believes.

Mid North Coast Local Health District stresses the importance of keeping kids active this festive season. 

Health promotions officer Richard Ball highlights the importance of developing fundamental movement skills and encouraging children to be more physically active while having fun.

“The need to encourage children to become more physically active is a major health issue for parents and families,” Mr Ball said. Parents can triple the fun by joining in the activities. 

“Christmas is a great opportunity to spend time with your children. Think of ways to encourage your child and also your family to become more active together. After all, your family time together is the best present of all,” said Mr Ball. Presents such as skipping ropes, balls, sports gear, bikes, sandpits, swing sets, push/pull-along toys, beach toys, modelling clay and gardening tools are toys that can build a child’s physical skills.

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