Christmas time is often a magical time for the many people who celebrate this holiday. There is a lot of meaning attached to Christmas day itself, but leading up to the day there is also a flurry of seasonal events, decorations, parties and of course, shopping! It’s a time when stores gear up for the big shopping season and all kinds of products are advertised and sales start to take place. It’s no surprise that the Christmas holidays can be as overwhelming as it is fun!
For parents who are shopping for kids, or as a friend or relative tasked with finding a perfect toy for a child, it can be daunting to know what to buy. But there are some really good guidelines to make shopping for toys a lot easier! Here you will be presented with helpful tips to make sure that you get the most appropriate gift and the most value for your money.
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Children are bound to see some commercials or ads for toys during the Christmas season. However, the toy that they are excited about may or may not be one that is appropriate for their age group. It’s important to look at the manufacturer recommended age for any toy that you are considering purchasing. You should also consider the age of any siblings of the child for which you are buying a gift. If there is a small child or baby in the family, getting a toy with very small pieces might not be a good idea. Likewise, if the child has an older sibling, getting a toy that covers the age range of both children can be a plus for parents, as it can be more practical.
Choosing a gift that fits the space that is available is an important, but often overlooked consideration. If the child has a large playroom and has plenty of space, a big toy might not be an issue at all. On the flip side, a big toy just isn’t practical when space is limited. People who live in larger cities tend to live in apartments, and space is often an issue. The good news is that there are so many great toys out there, it’s usually pretty easy to find something that will work in either situation.
It’s always a good idea to pay attention to toys that require batteries. If you are purchasing a gift for someone else’s child, it’s a nice gesture to pick up any batteries needed for the toy you are giving if they are not already included. If you are purchasing a toy for your own child, in addition to getting any needed batteries, you may opt to purchase extras so that you have spares on hand. There is nothing more frustrating than watching your child enjoy playing with a new toy and then to run out of batteries!
If you don’t already own rechargeable batteries, this is the perfect time to take the plunge! You’ll likely save money in the long run and you will always have them on hand. Rechargeable batteries are also more environmentally friendly, so there’s another great reason to go this route.
When buying Christmas gifts in general, it’s a smart move to think about what the recipient of the gift enjoys or likes to do during their spare time. It’s certainly true with kids as well! If you are buying a gift for a child’s friend, why not ask your child what his or her friend enjoys doing for fun or what is his or her hobby? If you find out that their friend loves to build things, maybe a LEGO toy would be appropriate. Or, if you are purchasing a gift for your own child, you’ll likely know what they really like to do. In fact, kids may not even realize that there is something that they might enjoy. For example, if your child does a lot of drawing, a Spirograph set might just thrill them! It may not have occurred to them to ask for it, but a bit of sleuthing by an observant parent can turn a gift into a real hit.
It goes without saying that quality is an important factor when choosing a toy. Some toys look great, but don’t last long. Or some are just not made well and are hard to handle or work with for kids. Look at what materials the toy is made of, and look at the construction of the toy to see if it looks well-made.
One of the best ways to learn more about a toy is by reading reviews of others who have already purchased the same toy you are considering. It’s quite common for parents, grandparents and of course others who purchase toys, to leave reviews outlining the pros and cons of the product. Amazon.com is probably the best known website for finding in-depth reviews, and it’s a very smart move to go to online, look up the toy you have in mind and see what others have to say about it. Customers are fairly willing to share their experiences whether good or bad. If a product has a very nice quality, it’s likely that you will see many reviews stating that. Customers are also pretty honest and will give negative reviews for toys too. It’s a treasure trove of information that can be hugely helpful when trying to decide whether to buy an item.
If you are opting for a gift that requires assembly, it’s better to know up front so you can be ready with the proper tools. Almost every parent has experienced the moment when a kids unwraps their special gift and then finds out that it has to be put together. Sometimes it requires just a few pieces to be snapped together, but more complicated gifts might require more assembly. Do your research before you make a purchase so that you will be ready on Christmas day!
While kids often get excited about what they see in the stores, on the internet and on tv, reality is a different story when it’s time to shop. Kids don’t often take into consideration the price of a toy when they ask for them. Many parents need to stick to a budget, so getting lots of expensive toys just may not be possible.
One good way to circumvent this is to find out why a particular toy intrigues your child. If he or she loves a new toy that relates to sports, perhaps a less expensive, yet still good sports toy will suffice.
Another good idea might be to go onto Amazon to see some of their pre-designed lists. Amazon conveniently allows you to shop by price. As soon as you go to the Toys & Games section, they have links to shop for toys “under $25”, “$25 to 50” or “$50 to 100”. It might be a good idea to allow kids to choose from predetermined lists so no matter what they choose, you know it will be within your budget.
One things is for sure – kids love to play! The great news is when a toy is fun and engaging, it can also be educational. Parents who prefer to purchase toys that are educational are in good company. Fortunately, there are tons of toys that fit into this category.
For younger children, there are toys that help to develop gross motor skills. An example might be a sports related toy where the child will toss a ball or swing a bat. To increase fine motor skills, toys that have manipulatives like blocks or buttons to be pushed are some ideas. Another big developmental skill that toys can help with is hand-eye coordination. For this skill, a toy like the Melissa and Doug Magic Set is a great pick. Kids will love performing magic tricks, but they will be improving hand-eye coordination without even realizing it! The LeapFrog toy line is a very popular brand and it has plenty of great educational toys to choose from.
Both kids and parents can be happy with the gifts this year when these important factors are taken into consideration. If you use these helpful tips for buying toys, you will be on your way to a more stress-free shopping experience!