Choosing toys for children is something which should be done carefully. If you choose the right toy, the receiving child will love it. On the other hand, a wrong choice will be a waste of money because it will not be accepted.
From my experience with toys, I know what makes a great toy for a kid. The ten tips below will help you choose the right toy for any child.
- Consider the child – This is not as obvious as it seems. I urge you to go an extra mile than just thinking about the age of the child. Consider what the child likes, the other toys you have noticed at their house, and the toys the child likes when at your home. Think about the child as you choose the gift.
- Do not forget the other siblings – Consider the siblings as you choose the toy. If the child has one sibling, and the age difference between them is small, then a simple toy that involves the two children can be ideal. These can engross the two children and can promote a good bond. If the child has two or more siblings, an open sided toy such as a toy garage, a Noah's ark or a pirate ship is perfect because it allows several children to play together using the toy. This avoids arguments and fights!
- The number of playing elements- A toy with more than one playing element is better because it ensures the toy is not abandoned after a single playing exercise. Instead of choosing a simple wooden car, buy an Automoblox; they are construction kits and wooden cars in one and have an owners club and registration number. This ensures the gift keeps on giving.
- Choose what the parents would like – The parents could be trying to introduce language skills, potty training, arithmetic etc, there are books, games and toys around these topics that can result in a really thoughtful gift. Therefore choose something the parents would want and score some points with them.
- Consider the storage requirements – Think about how the toy will be stored. How much space will it require? Do not choose a toy which will take all the space in the child's toy-box. Sometimes, a simple gift such as a puzzle will be more appropriate than a 100 piece train set.
- Durability – Let me be a bit biased here; if you want a long lasting toy, buy wooden toys. Plastic toys are not durable because they break, crack, splinter, shatter and fall apart.
- Educational – This may be a traditional educational element such as learning the alphabet through magnetic letter sets, counting, learning colors and shapes with stackers and shape sorter or learning how to tell the time using counting clocks. Educational may also mean choosing toys to help kids who are not very good with some aspects. For example, a cargo truck is a great gift idea for young children who do not like tidying up; they will begin when it is a game. Play food, shops or wooden tea sets can be great toys for encouraging children who are difficult eaters, because they will role play feeding their dolls and toys and will thus be more comfortable when it comes to feeding themselves.
- Exercise – All parents would like their children to stay fit and healthy always. Exercising is one of the ways of achieving this. A toy like a push along toy or a wooden ride on toy will encourage children to exercise as they run around. Such a gift will be loved by not only the children but also their parents.
- Toys that have a story – Choose a gift from which children can learn a story. The Noah's Ark is a sure classic when it comes to this, but there more options out there. A toy that has a story is a perfect pick because it will help develop a stronger bond between a child and a parent or older sibling telling the story.
- Value – This means value for money and play value. Do not buy a toy which will require replacing batteries every other week (a plus for wooden toys again). In terms of play value, make sure the toy can be part of an in-depth role playing game, such as a fire station or a pirate ship, or if it is an activity center, ensure it contains enough activities.
I hope you have found these tips helpful. Take them into account when next choosing a toy for that special child.