Childhood obesity is a serious concern these days and experts say a big part of the problem is the trend toward increasingly sedentary activities like TVs, computers and video games. When the weather's nice, there's an easy fix for that -- just send the kids out to play. But during the winter it gets a little more complex.
The experienced parents here at ConsumerSearch have you covered. Here are 6 great toys that will keep kids active even when they're stuck in the house. The bonus is that they're also fun for the whole family!
Not all video games are sedentary. The Nintendo Wii was named our "Best Family Gaming Console" for a reason. Paired with fun games like Wii Sports Resort, Active Life Outdoor Challenge, Just Dance, or Walk it Out, the Wii is a great way to get up and moving in a limited space. Kids can play alone, or the entire family can challenge each other in various competitions. There are even dozens of fitness software choices like Wii Fit Plus, Zumba and My Fitness Coach for those who like a structured workout but can't, or don't want to, leave the house. Age appropriateness depends upon the game chosen.
Bring an outdoor favorite in with the Hopscotch Rug. This fun floor mat is designed to look like a real hopscotch grid drawn on asphalt. Measuring 4' by 6', owners say it's big enough for anyone to enjoy and it's also an adorable accent rug for any room of the house. Rocks not included. All ages.
The entire family will be challenged by this crazy game of balance. The Diggin Wobble Deck Extreme includes four electronic games that require you to follow directions, leaning into the correct answer while keeping your balance. The base detaches to become a portable, hand-held game. Reviewers say there's a learning curve, but that it's a lot of fun for an active kid or adult. Ages 5 and up.
An oldie but a goodie, Twister will never go out of style. As everyone knows, the spinner tells you what color disc you need to put your right hand, left hand, right hand or left foot on. It ties up to four players up in knots, and is as much a workout for your sense of humor as it is for you body. Reviewers say it's a blast for family nights, play dates and even adult game nights. There are also a few twists on Twister, including Twister Hoopla, Twister Dance and Twister Hopscotch. Ages 6 and up.
Some reviewers call the Zamzee a "must have for all kids." Quite simply, it's a pedometer and activity tracker that also motivates kids to move by allowing them to take challenges to earn points (Zamz) that they can redeem for actual prizes. Parents can purchase Goalz for their children that also can be used to purchase prizes. The Zamzee website keeps track of everything and there's even a program for families to chart and track the progress of each member. Ages 5 and up.
Another old-fashioned toy that makes moving fun, the Hula Hoop can help you work up a sweat. The basic, original Hula Hoop, manufactured by Wham-O, is a light, plastic hoop that comes in various colors. Other manufacturers sell weighted versions that are more challenging to use and can help tone the thighs, abdomen, butt and arms. Some gyms use exercise hoops as part of an overall workout program. Ages 5 and up.