5 Innovative Sports Equipment for Kids

Here are some really cool finds at French sporting goods retailer Decathlon.

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When I take the kids to EJ’s football matches, Ethan loves to kick the ball around too, and pretend he’s a goalkeeper like his dad. I find myself running all over the place, trying to make sure the ball doesn’t go onto the pitch (Elijah is strapped into the carrier all this time too. Can’t wait for him to be able to kick the ball around with his brother!). So, I’ve been looking for a pop up football goal, which is portable enough to bring to the games, but also compact enough to use at home too.

I’ve been looking for it at stores and online, but they were either very flimsy, or very expensive, or rather difficult to put up and take down. The Kage Light Football Pop Up Goal by Kipsta seemed perfect. And it’s sold at Decathlon!

Have you been to Decathlon? It’s a sporting goods store that, despite many other retailers struggling to stay afloat in these tough times, has opened 2 megastores here in Singapore within the past year alone. In fact, The Straits Times reported that Decathlon plans to open another 20 outlets in Singapore within the next 10 years!

So we headed to the newest Decathlon store at City Square Mall. And it is HUGE for a sporting goods shop.

Here are a few really cool finds. (All pictures from www.decathlon.sg)

1. The Kage Light Football Pop Up Goal

the-kage-light-football-pop-up-goalLooks just like the video. It’s a good size, lightweight, and it also comes with pegs for windy days outside. We tried it today during EJ’s football game, and it works really well! Ethan had fun because he could really “score” now. I also realised that it can be used as a protective shield for the children as well, so they don’t get hit by stray balls during the match.

2. Easy Net 

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There are 3m and 5m versions of this Easy Net by Artengo. Badminton is one of those sports that is not expensive to get started on, and we all played in the void deck as kids. Having an actual net gives it a more “real” feel, and you can set this net up anywhere.

3. ARTENGO Rollnet 600 Adjustable Table Tennis Net 

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It attaches to any table and converts it into a table-tennis table!

4. TRIBORD Easy breath snorkelling mask

easybreath-snorkelling-mask-pink.jpgA mask that allows you to breathe through your mouth AND/OR nose when snorkelling. It makes you look a little like Iron Man, and you can’t use it for free diving, but it’s an interesting design, and something worth trying out on your next water adventure.

5. Tidipool

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It’s a collapsable pool that is useful for babies and toddlers who aren’t comfortable in the large swimming pool, or playing by the sea. My kids would like this when they are at the beach, so they can still play in the water, but without the waves crashing onto them (I think the noise and the height of the waves scares them!) The bag that it comes in is also waterproof, and is used to fill the pool with water. Brilliant 🙂

EJ and I hope our kids gain a lifelong love for sports and the outdoors, because that has been a passion for both of us. There’s no rush to put them into any specific sports at the moment. An article by the Mayo Clinic says that toddlers who participate in organized sports typically don’t gain any long-term advantage in terms of future sports performance.   (although EJ can’t wait to get them really started on football!).

For now, unstructured free play is best. So here’s to lots of running, throwing, catching… which makes a great workout for mummy and daddy too!

The Endangered Singapore Smile

I brought the kids to East Coast Park to try out the Family Bike It’s $30 per hour, and we rented it from the shop at carpark E2. For the novelty, fun-factor for 6 people (including kids), and for the awesome steering wheels at the front, it was $30 well spent!

It was really fun for the kids, and really tiring for the adults who had to pedal! I was surprised that Ethan and his cousin, Gabriel, could last for an entire hour without asking to get out of their seats.

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Family Bike at East Coast Park, Singapore

 

Along the way, we cycled past many other cyclists – children, families, adults, older people. And we thought, maybe it would be nice to wave and say hello as we passed by!

 

In our brief and unscientific, highly biased social experiment, here are my observations on the Friendliest Strangers at East Coast Park

1. The Malay Family

They were always ready to give a wave and a surprised smile back to our little guys.

2. The Ang Mo (Singapore slang for a Caucasian)

Family, couples or children gave warm smiles and greetings. It felt like it was just an every day thing to them!

3. The Local Pre-teen Child

They gave shy smiles, but at least there was some response!

What about the others?

Those friendly park users were actually quite few and far between. Most people that we passed gave blank stares, or stared kept looking ahead, their eyes shielded behind reflective sunglasses.

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For decades we’ve had campaigns aimed at helping our stressed little nation find a little more joy and happiness. There was the 1996 “Smile Singapore” Campaign that gained international news coverage. The Four Million Smiles campaign in 2006, and more recently, the various initiatives by the Singapore Kindness Movement. It seems we still have some way to go if a gleeful child’s greeting is met with cold stares.

But there is hope. Just today, a few strangers made some friendly conversation with Ethan while he was out with me running some errands at the nearby supermarket and 7-eleven. They were genuine. They were kind. They spoke to him like they valued the opinion of a 2 year old.

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Stay calm and Be Kind! A poster by the Singapore Kindness Movement

So, if you were one of those strangers that smiled at my child that day at the park, if you are the man that helped him pick up his shoe instead of glaring at my barefooted toddler at the supermarket, if you are the uncle that took a moment to show him the interesting plant outside your store… thank you.  You made the world a little brighter.

Have you smiled at someone today?

Don’t let the Monday blues dampen your smile! 🙂

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Did you smile today?