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Fun activities for kids and families all year long

Finding the right gift can be like searching for a needle in a haystack and finding a gift that can stand up to active kids can be even harder. Since I spend so much time researching gifts to find high-quality and durability, I decided to pull together this ultimate gift guide for active kids ages 4 – 6. 

Quality and enjoyment

Based on my experience teaching and raising kids, this is my round of gift suggestions includes ideas that are durable and provide hours of fun. All the items listed here have high ratings for quality and enjoyment. Also, I’ve included some ideas for experience gifts, which can be just as entertaining as a toy. From my background, I’ve found these gift ideas to be well suited for ages 4 to 6, but you know the child you’re buying for best, so keep that in mind when purchasing.

Pricing of gift ideas range from less expensive ($, $$) to moderate ($$$) to most expensive ($$$$).

Kid jumping with images of a swing, swim googles, soccer ball, basketball, helmet and a bike

Backyard fun: Gift guide for active kids

Backyard activities are essential for active kids. There are so many toys and activities to choose from, but it can be hard to find gifts that are good quality and that kids will enjoy day after day. These backyard toys are well made and encourage active outdoor play.

Product called Fling Sock. A small foam nose with a long nylon tail

Flingsock ($) This ball with a tail makes catching easier for young kids. Playing ball games help kids develop coordination, muscle development and spatial awareness. This flingsock is from a physical education supply store and more durable than other options on discount websites.

Pros:

  • Can be played solo or with others
  • Great for different ages to play together

You can also get a set of similar -type tail balls here.

Giant bubbles floating in the sky

Giant bubble wand ($)

Playing with bubbles provides so much joy. Kids love to chase and pop them. My kids had an awesome time making giant bubbles with this wand. It’s easy for younger kids to use and was a big hit in our yard and at the beach during the summer.

Pros:

  • Makes large bubbles easily
  • Budget-friendly gift

 

Cons:

  • Bubbles don’t work as well in windy weather
  • Need to buy more than one wand for multiple kids
Boy wearing a homemade space helmet is holding a homemade toy rocket

Stomp Rocket ($)

We’ve had a lot of fun in our backyard with stomp rockets. You can use them again and again, and it’s a great toy to share with others. Stomp rockets are powered simply by the force of a child, so there’s no batteries required.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Use over and over
  • Budget-friendly

 

Cons:

  • Rockets can get stuck in trees or on top of a house! Watch where you’re launching them.
Girl holding up a velcro hand toy that is used for catching a tennis ball

Velcro catch and throw toy ($)

As kids develop, and they become better at catching and throwing, a velcro catch and throw game like this can provide a fun challenge for kids.

Pros:

  • Reviewers like that the velcro mitt is strong, which means kids can have good success with catching
  • Comes with 4 paddles for multiple players
  • Enjoyed by the whole family

 

Cons:

  • Reviewers say that it’s sometimes hard to pull the ball off the velcro
Girl and mother swinging in a saucer rope swing at the park

Platform swing ($$$)

Swinging is a relaxing activity for active bodies and minds. Swinging also helps kids develop fine motor and gross motor skills. This glider swing can be used sitting or standing, and can hold multiple people at once.

Pros:

  • Less arguing over turns
  • Adjustable height
  • Strong enough that adults can swing too
  • Comes with rope and hooks
  • Durable for outdoor use
  • Attach to a tree, swing set or swing stand

 

Cons:

  • Need to purchase tree hangers

 

This is another highly rated saucer-shaped swing that can fit multiple kids. That comes with all the hardware that you need to install.

two kids playing on a rope ladder and wooden rings

Swingline ($$$$)

The Swingline is excellent gift for active kids who love to climb and swing. The more they play on this equipment, the more they’ll develop their skills. Climbing helps build coordination and strength, and swinging is great for sensory regulation as well as for stimulating different parts of the brain. 

Pros:

  • Can be used in multiple ways
  • Can be used by multiple kids at the same time
  • Kids develop their strength and skills

 

Cons:

  • You need to have two trees or two very stable poles to set up this equipment

 

If you’re strictly looking for a climbing toy, then a slackline with accessories is a great option. This slackline kit has high reviews.

Outdoors on wheels: gift ideas for active kids

Riding bikes or scooters is a great life skill for kids and it encourages regular physical activity. It also helps kids to develop stronger muscles and bones.

Girl balancing on a scooter

Scooter ($$$)

Scooters are another fun way for active kids to get around and practice their balance skills. There are a lot of budget scooters available, but they may not stand up to use or be easy to control.

The Micro brand of scooters is highly rated both for quality and ease of use. It allows for both stability and agility. Always make sure kids have a good fitting helmet to protect their head when riding a scooter.

FYI: Micro also makes a travel scooter suitcase model, which seems like a gift for parents and kids! 

Pros:

  • Smooth, quiet ride
  • Adjustable handlebar
  • Offer folding models

 

Cons:

  • More expensive than budget models, but also provides a better experience, according to the testing done by New York Times Wirecutter 
Young child wearing a helmet riding a balance bike

Balance bike ($$$$)

Balance bikes provide a great way for kids to learn how to balance and maneuver a bike without having to pedal at the same time. With a balance bike, kids have more immediate control over their balance; if they start to wobble, all they need to do is adjust their feet to steady themselves.

The Strider bike is a top quality brand for balance bikes. We loved how adjustable it was. You can even purchase skis so kids can ride their bike in the snow! Remember to always make sure kids have a good fitting helmet to protect their head when biking.

Pros:

  • Adjustable seat and handlebars
  • Great accessories
  • High-quality, smooth ride
  • Option to purchase a pedal conversion kit

Cons:

  • More expensive than budget options, but we found the quality worth the price.

Water Activities ($): gift guide for active kids 

Water activities are another great way for kids to enjoy being active outdoors, from swimming to backyard play, there are lots of great water toys for active kids ages 4-6. All of these suggestions are in the less expensive category.

  • Water guns: The Nerf Supersoaker is a great choice, with its two-barrel blaster. 
  • Reusable water balloons: These fun balls can be filled again and again. They are better for the environment and safer for kids, no worries over picking up all the popped balloon pieces that young kids could put in their mouths. 
  • Dive toys are a great way to encourage kids to develop their underwater swimming skills. Both of these options are highly rated: pirate dive toys and classic rings
  • Inflatables: There are so many inflatable beach and swim toys out there. This gift idea is unique because your child can view the water through a clear bottom boat. This boat could be a great way to help those who might need some more encouragement to get in the water, or it might inspire curious minds about what’s underneath the water. 
  • Water basketball: My kids have always enjoyed playing with this basketball pool set. The fabric covering makes it more durable.

Sports enthusiasts: gift guide for active kids

There are also lots of gift options out there for young sports players. Here I’ve highlighted some of the top-rated choices, focusing on high quality suggestions. I find that buying budget-sports equipment is just disappointing because it breaks or isn’t easy to use.

  • T-ball :I searched high and low to find this professional quality stand ($$) that can hold up to being hit (sometimes more times than the ball, but that’s learning!). It has an adjustable height to grow with the child.

 

  • Basketball: The Little Tikes Easy Score ($$) is a classic for younger players. It’s height adjustable and helps kids build confidence in their skills. If you’re searching for a set for more advanced players, both this adjustable, portable net ($$$) is highly-rated

 

 

two children playing on wooden balance boards
three girls climbing on a gymnastics crash mat

Indoor gift ideas for active kids

When you can’t get outside, having fun indoor active options are so important for kids that need to move! Here are some great gift ideas for indoor toys and equipment that are especially great for active kids.

Least expensive

  • Peanut ball ($) My kids love to play on a peanut ball! It’s great for rolling or bouncing. You can also use it as an active chair.
  • Play scarves ($) provide hours of enjoyment for active kids. They can be used in a game of tag, for dancing, and even for imaginary games or hide and seek. These quality scarves come in a pack of 12.

 

Moderate

  • Cuddle/sensory swing ($$) A cuddle or sensory swing is another great gift idea for active kids, especially when you’re stuck indoors. Having a swing set up inside provides the benefits of physical activity and emotional regulation. This swing includes the hanging kit.
  • Stepping stone sets ($$) these are a great indoor activity for active kids and the stones can be used in multiple ways. They can be set up as an obstacle course or even used with imaginary play. Both these sets are both highly rated: Stackable balance stones and Balance beam stepping stones.
  • Balance board ($$) A wooden balance board is fun for active kids, because it can be used in multiple ways, both for imaginary play and as a balance activity. This board is covered in wool and the larger size is great for older children and even adults.

Most expensive

  • Nugget ($$$$) This has been one of our most used indoor play items . The kids make forts, climb on them in different ways and lounge on them. As a bonus, they also can be used for comfortable sleepover beds.
  • Indoor climbing set ($$$$) When it’s not possible to get outside, having an indoor climbing set is lots of fun if you have the room to set one up. This climber can be used for kids up at age 7. The four piece set is an investment, but you can customize which pieces you’d like if you are looking for a more affordable option. This is another climbing set ($$$$) that can be used for kids up to age 8. 
  • Crash pad ($$$) If you have a child on your gift list who likes to jump and climb, then a crash pad is wonderful for indoor play. I find that school supply stores are the best place to buy items like this, so you can be sure that the quality is there. Crash pads are also great for lounging or reading on.

Experiences: gift guide for active kids

If finding the right toy for an active child is challenging, you might consider giving an experience gift instead, such as purchasing a gift card or putting a special note in a card describing the experience you’ll pay for. Below are some ideas of experience-type gifts that have been a hit for active kids.

  • Laser tag
  • Indoor play area
  • Waterpark or wave pool trip
  • Outing to a fair or amusement park
  • Horseback riding
  • Tickets to see a sports game
  • Indoor climbing
  • Trampoline park
  • Mini-putt
  • Skating 
  • Indoor bike course
  • Tree-top climbing or a zip ride
  • Camping night or weekend
  • Bowling

 

Choosing a gift

Lastly, remember to look for quality in gifts and be sure to read the reviews. Doing your research before buying increases the chances that you’ll find that perfect gift!

Check out our other gift guide in this age range: Graphic novel series for beginning readers

5 Responses

  1. Great ideas, making the backyard fun for the kids with these gifts is cool. I know my aunt would love some of these as they have backyard but not much to make it fun for the kids.

  2. Just came across the giant bubble wand and instantly thought it would be the perfect gift for my grandson! The idea of him running around, creating massive bubbles, fills me with joy. It seems like such a simple yet fun way to add fun and excitement to his outdoor playtime. Can’t wait to see his face light up with wonder as he watches those huge bubbles float around. Definitely grabbing one for him – it’s going to be a hit!

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