Old School Christmas: 9 Gifts That Got (Get?) Kids Out of the House and In Better Shape w/Video
Since the advent of video games, kids have increasingly spent time inside huddled around game consoles. Even for an older guy like me, I grew up with Atari and early handheld video games that were pretty damn addictive, but nothing like the sophisticated games out today that not only look amazing, but give players the ability to interact with each other.
Even Capt. Crunch rode these bad boys.
As a result, Christmas gifts are almost entirely focused on electronics or things you do inside while sitting down. From cell phones to video games to tablets and other sophisticated computer technology, sedentary pursuits are where it is at for kids.
When I was growing up, despite the emergence of video games and personal computers, there were still a large number of activity-based toys that were a huge part of Christmas for kids. Maybe if we brought back a few of them, kids would spend a little time outside...and not just playing with their new remote-controlled cars.
Fortunately, still a staple of holiday giving every year, the bike is a kid's first real taste of independence. Even adults get on their bikes and ride miles and miles. When a kid realizes they have actual transportation for the first times in their lives, it's like having a car. Also, you can pop wheelies. If the vintage Huffy ad above is any indication, you can also "Ride Like the Wind."
Whenever I see those kids scooting along with those shoes that have the little wheels on the back heel, I feel bad for them. They could be rolling around like Tootie from Facts of Life on actual skates that just look like tennis shoes. Back in the day, it seemed like magic until you encountered cobblestone. Then, you looked like an invalid hobbling around in your tennis shoe skates and knee-high, rainbow-colored stockings. But skating was HUGE in the '70s. Just ask the Babe in the above commercial.
Scooters & Skateboards
Too often, scooters are now motorized. Where is the fun in that? Skateboards on the other hand have remained relatively unchanged. Scooters were the more wholesome choice for parents who didn't want their kids to smoke weed by the age of 10 and get arrested for gliding down the stair railings at City Hall, but at least they were active! And if they got good enough, they might turn into Tony Hawk...or a burnout carnival barker. Either or.