It’s not just a cliche saying, boys really do need to get those wiggles out. They actually learn and process information through physical play! They learn social skills, empathy, boundaries and more and so making sure my kids have ample opportunity to do so has been a measure of any success I have as a mom. If that toy also provides them with a sense of independence and autonomy BONUS! They are always happier when they can do it themselves, and feel untethered by me!
Of course I want well-rounded boys who have a myriad of interests and access and exposure and all parts of their brain are engaged, right? Let’s talk about both!
FIRST! Physical Play:
We’ve obviously tried loads of toys and bikes and ride-ons and these are my kids favorites in order of age-appropriateness that are certain to wear them all out:
Hose Attachment Sprayer // Slip-n-Slide (kills the grass underneath but worth it!) i think it goes without saying any activity on, in, or near water is going to give us the desired effect. 😉 Wiggle Car — my boys logged hundreds if not thousands of hours on these! Our entire cul-de-sac had them several years ago and they all rode all day long. // Play Rollercoaster — takes up some space but a huge hit! Linked the cheapest price I could find! // Trampoline — I know they are potentially dangerous, but you can also jump safely with the right rules and understanding in place! // Scooters – we’ve tried several brands and our favorite is Micro Mini (look at their warehouse deals here!!) and second would be Globber (quite a bit cheaper!) // Bikes — We start our boys on balance bikes with real rubber wheels so they get super comfortable and then move them right to a bike with hand breaks! The coaster breaks (where you peddle backwards) seems to trip them up and seems like such a weird interim way to ride? Skip it altogether I say! Priority Bicycles makes hand break two wheelers which we love! They sell training wheels as well! // Kayaks — I’ve been on the hunt for kids sized and Sam’s Club has the best price! $89!! // Paddleboards — my sister has inflatable and they truly seem a lot more convenient as far as storing them year round, schlepping them (and your kids and your gear, oh my!) but we bought the stiff ones from Costco and love them, too! If you have stiff ones these thumb screws for the fins are a MUST! No tools needed. // Dirt Bikes — We’ve had these small electric ones for several years and they’re not exactly tiring them out but LOTS of fun! They were our gateway drug ;), the boys couldn’t go fast, but still had the feeling and practice. If you’re child is pre-teen+ this is the big one // Punching Bag — we’ve always dealt with a bit of aggression (my boys fight like crazy) but their anger outbursts have gotten A LOT more intense into pre-pubescence. // Basketball Hoop or other sports equipment! Goals, Cones, rackets and balls, whatever it takes, right?
This post is getting too long but I do want to get into my philosophy on well-rounded boys! Maybe a post for another day but I try to choose movies, books, activities, events and conversations at home that help foster this
ARTS – plays, movies, teaching them about all different kinds of music, having ample time for arts and crafts and creating.
SCIENCE + MATH – we quiz the boys on math in the car and they love it! Science experiments, interesting YouTube channels, books and more.
REAL LIFE SKILLS – working with dad on his endless projects, cooking and baking, repairing and sewing, household chores, starting a business etc.
SERVICE + WORLD VIEW – every quarter we try to make sure the boys have service opportunities (our church is so good at this, so I don’t typically have to try very hard) talking about privilege, people of all walks of life and their struggle, folks who are different then them, etc. Learning about history and traveling seems to give us the most conversation opportunities, as we live in a pretty un-diverse area. oof!