During this month, parents will be shopping for holiday gifts. It is so easy to get caught up in the same frenzy as the children because, after all, we are all children at heart. Plan gifts and don’t fall prey to gimmicks.
Here are a few guidelines. First, don’t allow yourself to be caught up in the Hatchimal, Furby, and other “gotcha” toys that have no real value and can cause major disappointment. Buy toys that have some value for at least a month.
Shop these categories for a nice balance:
Books- Always include books, magazine subscriptions, puzzles, and items that encourage reading.
Role Play- Children love toys that allow them to role play. Doll houses, cooking sets, ice cream makers, Bat Caves, kitchen sets, and toys that allow kids to pretend fall in this category.
Games- You have to include a game—Candyland, Battleship, Pop the Pig, Clue, Pictionary, and so many more allow for some fun family nights. I enjoyed “Pie Face” last year and our annual Pictionary.
STEM- Toys or events that encourage Science, Technology, Engineering and Math are in this category. Building toys, science sets, Legos, Magnatiles, and so many more encourage testing laws of science. I also got my grandchildren Tinker/Kiwi Crates, found online, that send an experiment or building activity every few months. They love it. You can also get gift certificate to museums and zoos- Pittsburgh offers these.
Creative- Buy paper, material, paints, markers, Play Doh, and kits that allow a child to create. So you don’t like messes? To ignore this area is to thwart an area of development.
Sports- Encourage your child to move. Buy ice skates, in-line skates, balls of all sorts, hula hoops, jump ropes, and, of course—specific sports equipment. Keep kids moving.
Shop early and on line to reduce stress and wear comfortable shoes when shopping. Keep hydrated. When it stops being fun – stop. And don’t forget to pick up a toy for Toys for Tots.