I once embraced the joy of living a mostly sedentary life in the colder and wetter months. Hygge was my jam. 'Tis the season for wearing fleece everything and snuggling up with a book in that permanent butt-dent in the sofa.
And then I had a child. Man, kids really don't get the memo that it's sustained-silent-reading season. Their bodies need to move - rain, sleet or snow be damned. Being stuck indoors can be tough. Everyone gets restless and fidgety, and you can only play "Simon says run in place for three minutes" so many times.
Luckily, we've found some fun gifts that help kids burn off their energy inside the house when the weather outside is truly frightful. These items may even bring something their parents have been wishing for: The gift of a nap.
The Grade by FluidStance
Balance boards are all the rage among people who work on standing desks in cool offices. While filling in that Google spreadsheet, you can pretend you're snowboarding down a slope in Park City. The folks at FluidStance have the science to show the movement is good for you, too — their popular boards claim to increase your heart rate, expand your range of motion and expend your energy as you work on daily tasks.
Kids also have a lot of energy to expend, so FluidStance has created a board just for them. The Grade by FluidStance, which looks like a skateboard without the wheels, is designed for children to stand on while watching TV, playing video games, eating breakfast or doing their homework — basically, any time their brains need to focus but their bodies need to move. Made of recycled milk jugs and tires for extra durability, the board lets them wiggle, rock and twist in a fluid — and gloriously silent — motion.
Once, at a local kids' play space, despite there being massive slides, ball pits and even a row of iPads in plain view, I noticed that all the toddlers were gravitating to these colourful helmet-like contraptions. What the heck are they? Whatever kids want them to be! They can sit in them and spin, rock back and forth or see how far they can lean to the side before tumbling onto the ground and bursting into giggles. They're versatile, stackable and basically indestructible.
Rock Climbing Holds
Got a kid who keeps trying to climb on the sofa, banisters and shelves? First, tell her "furniture is not for climbing." And then say, "But this CLIMBING WALL is!" Transform any wall in the house into an energy-burning climbing wall with an assortment of rock holds.
The ones by Squirrel Products are made of durable plastic and are large enough for beginning climbers to get a good grip. (While you shouldn't have any Cliffhanger-esque drops if you secure the holds at a reasonable height, feel free to add a crash pad for good measure.) With enough practice, your child can master the wall of glory like this diaper-clad infant.
Walking on a flat surface can be such a bore. With these rubber stones that can be lifted and arranged in any possible alignment, kids can pretend to be the Lost Boys skipping across a lake. Or make their own obstacle course. Or play the ultimate game of The Ground is Lava. Or sit on them and ponder the meaning of life. It's really up to them.
While growing up, my cousin had a chin-up bar in his bedroom doorway, and eventually got a Navy scholarship that paid for his entire college tuition. Coincidence? I'm not sure. (But probably yes, a coincidence.) Still, a chin-up bar doesn't take up a lot of space, and will get tons of use by your little hanging monkeys.