Active toys available to help reduce screen time

Garry Koebel from The Sputtergotch Toy Company shows off a selection of active toys which encourage outdoor play and reducing screen time for children.

Saskatchewan in motion’s Active Toy Guide for 2017 again utilized some Swift Current expertise.

Garry Koebel from The Sputtergotch Toy Company contributed as a toy expert for the guide which encourages active play.

The in motion guide notes that children average six to seven hours of screen time a day, and active play has numerous health and social benefits for children and youth.

“Think of how many hours a day youngsters are on electronic devises. Of course it’s going to be a very important aspect to their lives going forward without question, but there’s also the importance of them being off it,” Koebel said. “Having a sense of actual play time, creativity, getting outside, getting active. All these types of things are extremely important in any child’s development.”

The guide has a series of suggestions for active stocking stuffers, general active toys, active electronics, active outdoor toys, along with family fun games. Koebel noted these are all focuses which are shared by Sputtergotch.

“It’s very much something that’s very important to our philosophy here at the store. You will not find an awful lot of electronics here. We do not have video games here. It’s kind of the alternative, getting kids, and big kids as well, families, getting them active. Getting that creative aspect of things. Doing things together.”

Koebel noted this is the third or fourth year he has been able to provide input to the Active Toy Guide. Over the years he has seen a number of stand out active items.

He notes that Pewi made by YBike is a two-in-one ride-on toy for youngsters. It starts out as a toddlers walking bike when a child starts walking, and as they develop more coordination it can then be utilized as a ride-on. it is a great item for kids aged nine months to three years of age.

Balance bikes have been a European mainstay for decades but are now just catching on in North America. As they do not have pedals, a youngster is able to learn balance and steering while using them. Balance bikes are a go-between before a child graduates to a pedal bike, and they are an alternative to tricycles. Children who grew up with balance bikes do not need training wheels when they graduate to a pedal bike. He has received strong feedback from parents who have purchased them, and they are extremely popular for children aged 12 months to four or five years of age.

Even some of the older, more traditional active items like pogo sticks and stilts remain popular.

“Some of the old mainstays are still there and are still a good choice for things that encourage activity with kids.”

For older children, scooters remain a popular active item. He noted they are a great mode of transportation, and many users take them to the skateboard park to learn tricks.

The guide also boasts a number of indoor games and activities to enjoy during a typical Canadian winter.

“You have your traditional toboggans…but even having that aspect of getting together to do things indoors, especially during the winter months is important, and that’s where we find board games as a very popular option.”

To learn more about Saskatchewan in motion’s suggestions as to how to be more active as a family visit for ideas on how to be more active as a family, and to download the Active Toy Guide visit Some of the items can be ordered through the Sputtergotch Toy Company website