Buying a toy as a gift for someone else’s child is always a funny thing. We want to buy something useful but we also want to be sure we are pleasing the recipient. Typically educational toys are the ones we feel we get good value from. But play toys like action and adventure toys, stuffed toys, cars and dolls are usually what the children’s favorites are. So how do you choose?
In my humble opinion, you do not choose. You settle for gifting both! It’s always nicer to have two relatively less expensive gifts than to have one more expensive one that the kid never touches. Moreover, since the parents (your friend or relative) would like their kids to spend time with the educational toy they will be as gratified by your gift as the kids themselves will be.
Choosing educational toys is easy. You can look at some great categories that start with art and craft things and move over to building and construction toys, electronics, hobbies, music and puzzles. Choosing play toys is of course obvious. Barbie and TV characters rule. And you can’t go wrong with Harry Potter.
Lego has some splendid Harry Potter kits to build castles and the like. Mattel too has come out with great new sets of townhouses and a variety of accessories to go with Barbie.
As for games, there are some fantastic ones this season for the whole family. Qwirky and Bananagrams rule the roost but newer ones like Mindflex and collections from Melissa & Doug are fast taking over.
The games and toys I just mentioned in fact walk the middle path. The are educational toys with an action and adventure angle to them!
Another great option is to gift toys that involve the child physically. Bikes, cars and stuff from John Deere and Razor are ideas I have in mind when recommending this. Of course the cost may be upwards of a hundred dollars, but then Christmas is just once a year, right?
A personal observation and appeal before I close. When picking a toy, choose the ones that are not too noisy or violent. I find a lot of kids these days just love guns and robots that can bring the house down. But here’s where we adults have to keep discretion and gift right. Why instill a child with unnecessary noise when educational toys are so interesting and fun too?