A Very Picky Toy & Gift Guide

Buying gifts and toys for your kids is unquestionably a part of the parenthood package, and it can be really fun to see the gleam in their eye when they open that all-coveted special something. Of course, between parents and other relatives, kids can sometimes accumulate quite a lot of possessions, so parsing down the clutter often means choosing a few durable, high-quality, fun toys over many cheap options that can take up tons of space.

The Big Considerations

  • Age. How old your child is is a huge factor in determining what sorts of games and toys are right for them. While younger children tend to do best with toys which are developmentally beneficial, hands-on, and inspire use of the imagination, older kids tend to develop unique interests, making it difficult to offer broad recommendations.
  • Safety. Toys with small parts aren’t safe for babies and young toddlers, as they can pose a choking hazard. Some toys are too heavy or complex to assemble for them to be safe for younger kids, as well. A good rule of thumb is to always follow the manufacturer’s safety recommendations, which should note best safety practices and appropriate ages.
  • Interests. Every child is different, and your kids’ unique likes and dislikes will obviously play into the choice of a successful gift. You might choose to nurture a skill or hobby they enjoy, like art, music, or sports, with a related gift.

Toys With Hidden Benefits

  • Creative toys: While learning about new art styles and methods, kids can also improve their focus, adaptability, creativity, and perseverance.
  • Construction/building toys: Planning out and perfecting their towering creations encourages the use of logic, critical thinking, planning, and hand-eye coordination.
  • Dolls: Telling stories and dressing up their dolls gives kids props for imaginative play, which is important to their social development; it’s how they graduate from theory of mind to empathy, and it helps them understand roles taken by others.
  • Science/learning toys: Engaging in hands-on STEM experiments encourages kids to follow instructions carefully and patiently, use critical thinking and logic, and gain a deeper understanding of basic science concepts.
  • R/C cars and toys: Getting outside with a remote-controlled toys encourage kids to engage in healthy physical play, and can also play a role in improving hand-eye coordination.

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