2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic and it’s restrictions has brought new challenges for families with children who are active and enjoy participating in sports and recreation outside of their home. These restrictions limit their time with teammates and friends and that is creating more mental health issues for some. The pandemic has also created more challenges for parents who have children who prefer spending much of their time, for some, too much time on their video games and digital devices. With home schooling reducing education hours and less organized activities available, it leaves a lot of idle time that many children are filling with more screen time. Kids are hungering for connection and socializing with their peers. Although we are fortunate to have local and global access to the internet and can connect with others, face-to-face time is still vitally important for emotional growth and health.

Now, the holiday season is upon us, and parents are looking for children’s gifts that can create more time offline, and perhaps even provide more family time. An already common dilemma for parents struggling to provide entertainment that has no relation to video gaming or screen time has now been escalated by a rampant virus.  Many children may have only known screen time games and social media as their main source of entertainment. As the online, multi-player gaming industry and social media sites and apps have expanded, online connection has also become their focused social community. So, what else can they do, especially now in this challenging time?

Although many facilities may still be shut down until it’s safer to gather in larger groups, gifts that provide experiences can still be given in the form of gift certificates to be used later. Elliptical trainers, treadmills, stability balls, mini trampolines, and small weights can create mini gyms in a garage or basement for physical fitness. Strategy board or card games and games providing creative thinking can be played at home with siblings and parents. Cooking and baking recipes books and kits make a great gift for the foodies in your home. Fine arts and performing art kits can provide an opportunity to use imagination and showcase or perform the resulting work. Books are always a good break for screen-fatigued eyes. And purchasing a pet and giving children some of the responsibility for care can provide companionship and a learning experience. Just remember that a pet is an investment from the family for several years, so consider this option carefully and make sure this is a good fit.

Here’s a list of gift ideas that might make it easier for those parents who haven’t started or are still stuck and need to finish their holiday shopping list.

Gift Certificates for Experiences:

Paintball, Laser Tag, Escape Rooms, Table Tennis, Rock Climbing, Movies, Amusement or Water Parks, Trampoline Parks, Music Concerts, and Sporting Events

Interactive Toys:

Remote Cars or Trucks, Nerf Guns, Lego, Board Games, Kiwico Building Sets, Chess Set, Checkers, Magic Cards, Trivia Games, Jigsaw Puzzles

Physical Fitness and Recreation Themed Gifts:

Dirt Bike, Bicycle or Skateboard (with helmet), Trampoline, Snowboard or Skis (with lessons), Hiking Bag with a Tent, Tennis Racquet, Table Tennis set, Badminton Racquet, Basketball Net, Baseball Glove and Bat, Bow and Arrows with Target, ATV, or any other sports equipment.

Fine Art & Performance Art

Art Supplies, Digital Camera, Musical Instrument, Magic or Juggling Kits, Dress-up Costumes, Make-up and Wigs, a Karaoke Machine, Puppets

Happy shopping. And Happy Holidays to everyone!