Got kids? Or, if not, do you have kids on your Christmas shopping list this year? Children are fickle little darlings. Throughout the year, you’ll hear a hundred statements claiming that, “I want that for Christmas!” But every week, the wish list evolves into something new. It can be difficult to choose a Christmas gift for little ones!
Many times, parents get frustrated and succumb to the trends. Remember Tickle Me Elmo? Furby? The Hatchimals frenzy in 2016? Wars have been started over less! This year, think about your child’s interests, and choose a gift that’s perfect for him or her. Here’s how to choose the right gift for Christmas.
Christmas Shopping Hack: Consider the Age of Your Child
Of course, you already know that age appropriate toys are important. But did you know that a majority of children’s learning comes through play? Sure, toys are fun, but they’re also the primary source of education for kids, especially the young ones. Studies have shown that play is the most important tool in developing little ones’ math and reading skills, motor development and social readiness.
So what’s that got to do with choosing the right Christmas gift? Well, a lot of things! First of all, consider the time you’ve spent shopping online. Most websites will have toys and gifts categorized by age. For example, stores like Amazon, Walmart and Target will list toys as appropriate for 0-12 months, 3-6 years and so on.
Now, think about your child. How easy would it be for your three year old to master that 24 piece puzzle? How long would your ten year old really play with that science kit? What can you buy for your child for Christmas that will help them to learn and keep them entertained?
Try this: if you’re shopping for your ten year old, why not shop in the kids’ section marked “Ages 12 and Older?” You’ll find toys which will stimulate his mind, and which will keep him interested. Don’t be afraid to choose Christmas gifts to challenge your child.
Your Child’s Interests are Important, Too
Because play is so critical to children’s learning, it’s critical that you choose a Christmas gift which will match his or her interests. No one wants to buy a gift that’ll be tossed into the closet, anyway.
Think about the maturity level and the interests of the child. Some preteens may be more inclined to sit on the couch and play Roblox for hours, while others are mini-entrepreneurs. Maybe your eight year old is content curling up on the couch with a book, but your six year old practically lives outside.
Again, don’t be afraid to challenge your child, but keep his interests in mind as you shop. A child who enjoys science may like building her own solar energy powered toy. It’s interactive, and something you can do together! Have a child who can’t stop playing with his Legos? Try something different; challenge him to build with magnetic blocks, instead.
Finally, don’t be afraid to encourage imagination and group play. Kids love gifts like walkie-talkies, and laser tag is a great way to get them to play together outdoors. Experience gifts, like a trip to the local air show, are gifts they’ll remember forever.
Still having trouble choosing the right Christmas gift for your child? No problem; it can be tough! Here are some of the top gifts parents are buying this year.
How many times has your preteen asked you if she can dye her hair? How many times have you told her no? Well, there’s a solution that’ll make you both happy. Hair chalk is easy to use – just slide the compact down a length of your child’s hair. It’s temporary and totally washable; the color lasts three days. And it’s not just for girls, either! Boys love adding fun colors to their hair, too.
If you buy no other gift this year, buy the magic Tracks Race Track Set. Grab a couple of extra cars, too. This gift is suitable for literally almost any age – we’ve seen toddlers play with it and even kids as old as nine and ten will love it. You can help the younger kids, but older children will love building their own race track. All finished? You can take it apart and start again, or just roll up the tracks when you’re ready to put them away. These fun, fast, glow in the dark sets are perfect for almost any age group.
If your kid loves Legos, Erector sets and other building tools, she’ll love Snowflake building bricks. Unlike building with Legos and other blocks, the Snowflake set will allow your kiddo to build in 3D. Your child will be learning fine motor skills, spatial relations and basic math and science principles while creating miniature worlds using their imaginations.
We’re speaking from personal experience when we tell you that this is one of the most fun Christmas gifts. When you think “drones,” you may think of the military or of land surveying. But the big companies have scaled this technology, and you can now find drones which are affordable enough to give as Christmas gifts. Your child will learn the principles of flight as well as motor skills and spatial relations. Take our advice, though. Practice flying your drone in a wide open space, away from roofs and trees!
Just looking for something fun? Kids will love this remote control spider toy. Whether your child is a prankster, an aspiring entomologist or just wants to play with a fun remote control toy, this spider makes a great gift. Not into spiders? Consider a remote control car or even an R/C robot for hours of interactive play.
You know your kid best. And there’s a good chance that he or she has given you a list to deliver to Santa Claus. But this year, instead of scrambling for the hottest trend, remember how many of those Furby toys ended up in the landfill. Instead, shop for a gift that your kid will love for years to come.