Whether shopping for a birthday, holiday, special occasion, or simply because you are thinking of them, finding a gift for children can be overwhelming.
Stores are teeming with flashy toys and trendy new characters sure to delight little ones. However, parents may not be as enthusiastic for yet another addition to an already overflowing toy chest or crammed closet. While kids are sure to revel in the new toy glow at first, oftentimes, when the newness wears off, the item is cast aside into the clutter. How can you find a present that will please both child and parent?
As a parent of two, ages 7 and 4, I have assembled some tips to keep in mind when shopping for kids. Now, I am not saying that buying toys is wrong. In fact, there are times when all a child wants is one specific new toy that they adore and cherish. Yet, for those hoping to find an item that goes beyond “fun” and can be meaningful, useful, educational or memorable, hopefully these ideas are helpful.
Items They Use Daily
Recently, my kids received MineCraft water bottles from a loved one. They were ecstatic, and I rejoiced because we use them every day, and replacing sport water bottles can be pricey. Finding an item that is both useful and exciting (MineCraft is life right now) is beneficial to child and parent. Shoes are another gift that I appreciate since my kids seem to wear them out or outgrow them so quickly. Brainstorm things the child you are shopping for is always carrying with them or must have every day, such as lunchboxes, backpacks or something for their room, such as an alarm clock or shelf to display their toys.
A gift that creates continuous excitement each month. What kid doesn’t love receiving something in the mail? From sports to science to animals, there are magazines to suit every interest and age level. Some popular titles are National Geographic Kids or Highlights.
Another option is a subscription such as KiwiCo, a monthly crate that can be customized based upon age and interests. Children receive all of the materials and instructions necessary to create their very own projects. My children received KiwiCo subscriptions for Christmas and have constructed kaleidoscopes, kites and fossils, to name a few of the projects we have done together.
Fostering a love for reading may be one of the most important things for a developing mind. Parents will always appreciate a new addition to their home library, and kids will treasure their new escape from reality. Far-out fantasy or purely educational, books serve to inspire imagination, develop language skills and so much more.
Children relish the opportunity to experience new things. Chances are they will remember the time you took them to the zoo for far longer than the toy they got for their 5th birthday. Gifting them with tickets to an event or place or paying for a membership is a present that will extend long after the day it was given. What is sweeter than making memories with the little ones in your life?
It can be difficult for parents to juggle the cost of classes and activities in addition to household expenses. Gift certificates for somewhere such as a dance studio, gymnastics facility or ice rink can be fantastic ways to give back to both child and parent. Perhaps talk to the parents beforehand to learn what the child hopes to participate in or which classes they would like to take.
My kids love games. Whether it is Uno or Trolls Monopoly, they enjoy playing together or with the whole family. Not only can games be educational (teaching numbers, sequencing, rule following, letters, etc.), they also help kids understand the art of losing. Healthy competition is fine, but when someone loses, it offers the opportunity to lose graciously (and hopefully without tears).
Staying active is important. I encourage my kids to play outside as often as possible. Items such as swings, slides, scooters, roller skates, basketball hoops or even chalk offer countless hours of entertainment while promoting healthy habits. Be sure to check with parents first to make sure their children are ready for the outdoor activity and that their yard is suitable to accommodate it.