Things used to be so much easier. Toys for boys and girls were no mystery. These days, with so many options and so much to consider, it’s hard to know where to begin. Let’s take a look at how to choose the right gift for your child.
Children of all ages have a creative streak in them, some more than others. A great place to start with this type of child is the “DIY” style toy. Building blocks. Dress up outfits. Playdough. Glue and paper and glitter (or come to mention it, arts and crafts and paints of all kinds). The key here is not to pay too much attention to any one gift, but find multiple smaller gifts that combine to create one fun filled afternoon.
This is the easy part. Basketball hoop, skipping rope, swing ball, skates and skateboards, swing sets and slides, trampoline, paddling pool, bike, sand pit, go kart, and anything remote controlled. This kind of gift presents a child ample opportunity to burn off some energy while also giving their mind a daily dose of healthy activity.
Some kids love puzzles or challenges that stretch their thinking power, allowing them to either conquer a task alone or pit their wits against all-comers. Think board games. Think model building. Think interactive toys that require a setting up and a little attention thereafter, like ant farms or telescopes or children’s ovens … or even their first internet ready tablet?
Make sure you remember that toys are supposed to be fun!
Every child has that one gift buyer in their life that insists on delivering birthday surprises in the form of educational “toys”. You know the type of thing. A five-tome leather bound gold-leaf series on the rise and fall of Napoleon. A calligraphy set for a child that can’t spell their own name yet. A smart pair of school shoes or maybe a designer satchel. Kids don’t want prestige. They want colour, sounds, things to grip and hold and rip a little and throw around. They want things for the tub, things for the garden, things to entertain them at the dinner table while the adults discuss important things like how the broccoli has been overcooked again.
It’s hard to find your inner Peter Pan, but the toys lining the aisles at the toy store are not the waste of money that you think they are. They’re there to let children engage their imagination and test the weight and strength of different materials. In essence, toys are meant to be bent and scraped and knocked out of shape, and put back together again so it can all be repeated. Toys teach that the things we love have to be looked after, and the only way to learn that is through insight. So, the next time you’re walking past a toy castle with a king and queen and horses, don’t dismiss the fact that it doesn’t “do” anything. It does plenty.