By in Entertainment

Choosing Christmas Toys

The Number One Toy

How easy is it for you to find the right toy? Do you worry about the play value or the educational value? Are you looking for a learning or fun toy? These are the questions you need answers to, in order to make the right decision. And of course, the best toys have BOTH educational and fun value.I have already warned my eldest granddaughter that she need not expect to receive any plastic "muck" from me. Plastic muck is what I call cheap stuff (often sold at highly inflated prices) that breaks or loses its play value by about 24 hours after Santa Claus has visited.

Age Group Is Important

There are many educational toys available today but When opting for any toy educational or not, ensure that you choose one that is designed for your child's age group. It may be tempting to purchase toys for the next age group up but this is a false economy, it can frustrate the child.

Young Children

Toys for young children, need to stimulate their senses. Buying a toy for someone very young can be pretty tough, which is exactly what the toy will also need to be, to withstand chewing, shaking, throwing and hitting!. Toys that are vibrantly coloured, that make a sound, or have a particular texture can be both fun and educational for the child. Some dolls and teddies are designed for very young children, often with music or stories and these can become favourite bedtime or naptime companions. Some of these can be programmed to include the child's name. Books are also an option for young children. For the very young child, the book itself may be made of cloth and include squeakers or different textures. Another option for a very young child is a floor mat or "gym" designed for babies that cannot crawl or sit up alone. The mat is comfortable for the child and often includes various textures, pockets and hiding places for the child to explore.

Toddlers also need tough toys. They can handle wooden toys but care needs to be taken with some children as they can use their wooden blocks as missiles! Building blocks, plastic or wooden are often enjoyed and some children will enjoy a wooden railway set, both boys and girls and this type of toy can last the child for a number of years. Teddies, balls, dolls and playmats can also be good choices. For more exercise, a scooter or tricycle may be a good choice but include a safety helmet and for pretend play, they may enjoy dressing up costumes, but be careful that they are SAFE, such as flame-proof.

Older Children

Older children may enjoy video games. And depending on your budget may be delighted to own their own Tablet or even laptop. Remember, children need supervision on the internet, so be sure that the child will be able to use their new acquisition in a safe environment. Many games are available for free. One of the most popular and (sshhh!) educational games is Minecraft. This is available for xbox and tablets and is being adopted by schools as a useful application. It is also possible to buy Minecraft sets as Lego sets, to build in the real world. Many Lego sets are aimed at older children and even teens. Again, some traditional exercise toys, such as bikes, roller skates or skateboards may be wanted and please include a helmet and knee and elbow guards, possibly also lights and a bell.

Shopping For Toys

Whether you are looking for the latest in video game consoles, exercise toys or teddy bears, you can find what you are looking for on-line. Sites, such as Amazon, often offer free shipping and handling for purchases over a certain amount. Free shipping and handling can save you quite a bit of money when shopping for multiple gifts.

Free Toys

If you are trying to save money on toys, consider going to local flea markets, goodwill or charity shops and garage sales. Quite often these kerb side sales have lots of toys that families have outgrown. But they may be just what you are looking for for your current family situation. Drive around on a weekend, and you can discover some real steals. You may also find friends trying to give away toys. And of course, there is always the stand by of Ebay or other local advertising sites.

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wolfgirl569 wrote on November 16, 2015, 5:26 PM

That reminded me I need to advertise some board games I have for sale

LisaSteinmetz wrote on November 16, 2015, 7:35 PM

My nieces are getting out of the toys and more into fashion and magazines.

MegL wrote on November 17, 2015, 1:20 AM

Are you happy or sad about that? My eldest granddaughter (9) says she gets clothes for Christmas from some relatives and she is totally disgusted with it! My sister in law (in her 70s) refuses to buy any clothes as Christmas presents. She loves going out buying toys for children.

MegL wrote on November 17, 2015, 1:20 AM

This is a great time to advertise to get rid of stuff. emoticon :grin:

Paulie wrote on November 17, 2015, 2:26 AM

This is a great article for anyone who needs to know about choosing toys for all age groups. When I give gifts to kids, I like them to be educational.

morilla wrote on November 17, 2015, 5:44 AM

My primary concern, when I was buying toys for the nephew, was that they would allow him to use his imagination. Too much today is geared toward video games, computers, et al. which require little exercise of imagination. Since he lives several states away, I never got to see him 'play' with the toys; though I'm told he did. I guess it was generational that invoking his imagination involved coming up with stories that he would eventually film and put together for YouTube. While the films never happened (it would have for me with Super 8, but I'm not sure if digital cameras allow for stop motion these days), at least it caused some invocation of creativity. Now that he's an adult, the "toys" are a bit more practical in nature.

markgraham wrote on November 17, 2015, 1:44 PM

I always liked to get books for Christmas. Buying anything for anybody now a days is hard. You sometimes do not know what they like and do not like.

MegL wrote on November 17, 2015, 6:26 PM

Yes. For the children, I generally ask their parents and get THEM to choose the item, or else give money. For adults, I just give money these days. They can add various amounts together and get themselves something bigger.

markgraham wrote on November 17, 2015, 6:46 PM

That's using your noodle.