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Buying gifts and toys for children is not always as easy as you would think. How many times have you spent time and money buying a toy only to find that the child immediately discarded it in favour of the box that it came in?
Although it’s doubtful that anything will overcome the box versus toy dilemma, this article offers six practical tips to help ensure that your carefully chosen gift becomes a much-loved favourite toy.
Here we need to offer a word of warning though. Unless you have grown up children or are planning never to have a family, it’s always better to avoid certain types of toys, particularly noisy toys like drums – as it is highly likely that the child’s parents will get their revenge in the future.
Many toys on the market direct children by asking them to press buttons or perform tasks. Yet, such toys do little to encourage creative play and children quickly become bored with them once the novelty has worn off.
Good toys usually provide children with a platform for play rather than directing their play. Look for toys that allow children to use their imagination. Traditional toys like tea sets and toy garages are good examples of such toys.
Toys that can be taken apart and re-constructed into other shapes or objects encourage children to use their imagination and will provide them with hours of play. Just think about how long Lego has been around.
Play Dough, pens, crayons and sketchbooks are also popular favourites, while dolls, teddy bears and action men encourage children to create their own stories through role play.
While it’s good for children to play alone, it’s also important for them to play with others. Check that the toy encourages social interaction and allows more than one child to play at a time, like many board games. Even young children can be encouraged to enjoy simple board games.
If the blurb on the box is promising to make your child smarter or bilingual - beware. Such claims are extravagant and often unfounded.
If you have children of your own you will know the type of toys that were hits and also which were misses. If you don’t have any children, maybe you can try to remember what toys you liked when you were their age – many of the tried and tested toys from your childhood will still be around today in some shape or form.
If all else fails, ask. Speak to friends and relatives to see what their kids’ favourite toys are to pick up some helpful ideas.
While complex toys with lots of gadgets, flashing lights and fancy features may look impressive, simple toys often work best. They are less likely to break and their simplicity encourages the child to use their imagination and play.
It’s also worth setting a budget and sticking to it. Children, especially young children, are rarely impressed by the price of a gift – all they want is something fun to play with. Also, close family and friends apart, if you buy an expensive gift for a child, the parents may feel embarrassed or feel obliged to spend as much on your child in return, which can lead to feelings of resentment.
Follow our top tips for buying toys for kids and I’m sure you’ll find that shopping for gifts for children becomes much more fun. In fact, with our help, buying toys for kids becomes child’s play.
Make buying a gift enjoyable with the Big Fat Balloons Online School of Gift Buying and learn about:
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