What do you buy for a kid who shows true sporting promise? Gail Emms shares her five favourite sports toys.
When my son Harry turned 5 a couple of months ago, it was only natural for him to ask for a sports themed birthday party. Harry loves football and plays rugby, goes swimming and has recently started cricket and tennis.
He is constantly on the go and incredibly energetic. There was no point trying to find alternatives. This was his ideal afternoon.
In the run-up to the party, some of the mums approached me, concerned that they had no idea what to buy for a present. This shocked me: “He loves sport so anything to do with that would be lovely, thank you.” Again, blank face.
But, of course, not every parent indulges in sport as much as I do. So for anyone buying gifts for sporty kids and drawing a blank, these are tried and tested by Harry with great success.
Gail’s 5 best sports toys:
- Personalised Football, £15.95
I was completely gobsmacked when Harry got this. A genius idea that a couple of the mums bought together. We are Tottenham Hotspur fans and this was a really thoughtful present: Harry’s favourite team and his name is written on it. He took it to bed with him that night – I was just annoyed that I didn’t think of it myself!
I love the title of this book. Written by a professional sports coach, this is perfect for a little boy who loves to be the best at every sport he tries. With tips to help him think like a winner and achieve champion status, it teaches tricks and stunts across different sports – from athletics, cycling, and tennis to orienteering, triathlon and football.
- Nerf Vortex Mega Howler Rocket, £13.69
This is a great little toy that can be kept in sports bags and is handy to bring out to entertain in-between sports clubs or in the park. Great for all the family. Shout: “Go long” and let it fly through the air and amuse yourself watching your child run to catch it!
- Street Hockey Set, £19.99
This street hockey set works wonders on any flat surface, and comes with everything you need – net, sticks and ball. Depending on the caliber of players though, you might want to invest in a mouth guard too…
- Ultrasport 15m Slackline, £23.99
Everyone, including very young children, will have great fun on a slackline and benefit from improved motor coordination and concentration. It’s also great for getting all the secondary muscles switched on, from legs to core. Everything you need comes with this kit – except the two trees to attach it to.Gail Emms MBE is a former badminton player. She won Olympic silver medal in Athens 2004 as well as World, European and Commonwealth titles. She has two boys, Harry (5) and Oliver (2). She lives in Milton Keynes and combines motherhood with media work, mentoring and promoting healthy active lifestyles for children and families. Follow Gail on Twitter