How to choose the perfect gift for your child?

Most parents will tell you that their kid has too many toys – so when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts, how do you choose the right one, without merely adding to the clutter? For a gift that truly stands out – and will stand the test of time – follow our advice.

Consider their age and level of development. First, check the label – most toys come with advice on age appropriateness. Second, use your own judgement. Just because your little one is four doesn’t necessarily mean he’s ready for a balance bike – think about the individual and go from there. And third, think about what materials the toys are made with. We’ve also put together a handy piece on appropriate

Toys by age group.

Think about the child. What do they love to do? Are they into the park, the pool, or heading outdoors generally? Do they love going to the museum or library? Are they obsessed with dinosaurs or superheroes? Think about a gift that could feed their interest.

Consider gifts children can share. Not literally, but gifts that kids can use to play with other kids (or even their families) like board games or puzzles. Again, these will be useful for years, and can help foster a healthy, fun sense of healthy competition for older children.

Remember that toys help kids learn. And often, toys are the primary way that kids learn. Choose toys that both foster creativity and free play, as well as ones that teach more “formal” skills like numeracy and literacy.

Check with the parents. If the gift is for someone else’s tot, check with the parents before buying. The child may already own the item, or the parents may have objections.

Choose gifts with a long lifespan. In our largely wasteful world, a toy that can be used for years is highly prized. Items like Lego, bikes and blackboards can be used for years and handed down to other children.

Remember safety. As much as possible, choose non-plastic toys made of sustainable materials, free of BPAs, phthalates, PVC or toxic chemicals and dyes.

If in doubt, buy a book. This is a rule we go back to again and again. Books take up very little space, have an infinite shelf life (pun intended) and can be handed down. 

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