4 Tips for buying birthday gifts for young kids
My kids are, without a doubt, privileged. They have lots of toys and games to play with and many of these have been gifted by generous family members, friends, school friends and even teachers.
Every year on their birthday I struggle to decide what to buy. There will always be the fad toys that they want but go against the values I want to instill in them. I always buy them books as I want to encourage a love of reading and as both my kids are summer babies I will try and purchase an outdoor game/activity for them. But even I still struggle to make the buying decision for toys so if you are a doting grandparent, the fun uncle/aunt or a family friend the task can be quite daunting. So here are my 4 Top Tips when buying gifts for young children.
- Age appropriate Gifts – One of my pet peeves is toys that are not age appropriate. Unfortunately even parents suffer from peer pressure. If all your kids’ friends have a certain toy that is not for their age it is hard to say no when your own kids ask for it for their birthday. Nerf guns were one of my battles with my kids. If you don’t know what nerf guns are, they are guns that shoot out foam bullets. The issue I had with these when the boys were young was that they were unable to pull the trigger and were always asking me to help. If a child can not play with the toy without assistance it is NOT age appropriate.
The easiest way to decide if a toy is age appropriate or not is to check the toy. Manufacturers must advise the age that they toy is for.
“As an OT I think these cubes are fantastic. They are a brilliant way to encourage the development of gross motor skills through running, jumping, crawling etc which help build muscle tone, work on co-ordination, motor planning, spatial awareness and proprioception. They are great for encouraging turn taking and building on social skills as well as for boosting cognitive development as the child learns to follow instructions. On top of all of that what a fantastic way to boost confidence and self esteem in a fun and interactive game!”
2. No Noise/Batteries – Parents will thank you for this. Toys that require batteries and make lots of noise are what I call 5 minute wonders. The kids work out what it does, play with it for 5 minutes and then never look at it again. So best to avoid these types of toys for young kids. Which leads me on nicely to Tip three.
” An excellent resource for the rehab setting. Gets even the most reluctant kids moving”
3. Prioritise Open ended toys – If you don’t know what open ended toys are then I highly recommend checking out the montessori way. In principle they are toys that encourage imaginative play. Educational toys that equip a child with learning skills and keeps kids engaged in play for longer. Think Wooden Toys, Magna Tiles, Lego for inspiration.
4. Consider their interests – This is easy if you’re the parent. If you don’t know what their interests are, just ask. Parents are always happy to share their kids interests and may even give you some suggestions on what to buy for their kids.
“I bought this lovely little cube a few months ago. In my role providing intervention support to parents of autistic children, using the cube has been a great way of gaining attention and building relationships especially with non verbal children. The cube is bright and colourful, I bought the farm animal one. We use it at the start of sessions to create engagement and practice our gross motor skills (sometimes with siblings and Mum/Dad) joining in. Would highly recommend to parents as a way of building and sustaining attention, developing turn taking skills and also to have fun and just be silly 😊”
How do you decide on gifts for young kids? What birthday gift would you recommend for young kids? As a kids toy business I am always keen to learn what makes customers make that final purchasing decision. Let me know in the comments.
“Great for kids of all ages. We use them in our sport fundamental class and kids absolutely love them… your only limit to its use is your own imagination”