Buying Gifts For Others
This can be tricky, particularly if you don't know the child well. Here are some 'Look Books' to help inspire you
- Baby Gift Ideas
- Little Red Riding Hood theme
- Imaginary Play with Kitchen and Food Playsets
- Imaginary Play
and overview of some games - Games Overview
See below for other suggestions on the type of gift to give.
Buying for babies and toddlers
Be particularly mindful of safety and the age recommendation. Children up to 36 months old are especially vulnerable to choking and ingestion hazards.
ACCC Top 5 tips (1 July 2014) for buying safe toys:
- Read and follow any warning labels or safety information carefully.
- Make sure toys are age-appropriate and always check the age-grading on the packaging. Age-grading is there for safety as well as child development reasons – toys designed for older children can be dangerous for babies.
- Check that toys for kids under three years old don't present a choking hazard, including checking that no small parts can come off. Find out by making your own free Choke Check tool at www.productsafety.gov.au/chokecheck
- Make sure any battery compartments are secure – lithium 'button' batteries especially can cause serious internal injuries and death if swallowed. See www.productsafety.gov.au/batterycontrolled for more information.
- Make sure there are no accessible small magnets. These can also cause serious internal injuries and death if a young child swallows more than one. If they can fit into the Choke Check cylinder, they could pose a serious ingestion hazard and/or choking hazard.
It is best to buy from reputable retailers who know their obligations and/or, like us, purchase from Australian distributors (such as those belonging to the Australian Toy Association). Imported products cleared by Australian Customs may not necessarily have been checked for compliance with Australian laws.
Buy multiple smaller gifts or mix the type of gifts
Buy one or two gifts that you know the child likes, and then add others that the child may not have encountered before. This is one way of mixing sure-fire enjoyment with excitement about the unknown. Alternatively, you could give a mix of gift types - toys, games and/or puzzles.
Parents most times will buy toys that they know the child wants or likely to enjoy, which are generally based on current interests and past purchases. Gifts that fall outside of these, can be a great way to find out what else a child might be interested in.. explore the unknown. Even if the child isn't interested in the 'unknown' gift, parents could find it helpful to know. Who knows, your gift may uncover a hidden talent or passion!
Some toys that you may not often see in the major department and toy stores:
- toys that introduce kids to the world of S.T.E.M. (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) - eg. clip circuit kits, GoldieBlox and Roominate construction toys.
- logic games - most can be played by one person. It can also be fun when played in a group, watch the kids work out the solution together. These games teach kids one of the basic S.T.E.M. skill - logical reasoning.
- observation or large piece puzzles
- observation puzzles are normal puzzles where the border lists items to spot in the completed puzzle. These puzzles then become a 2-in-1 activity.
- completing large pieces puzzles (300+ pieces) can be a great bonding activity. In such cases, it is best that the youngest child is at least early primary school age. The time and amount of concentration that goest towards completing large puzzles, could be too much for young children.
Buy a gift that can be 'shared' with family and friends
These gifts can be a great way for family and friends to bond over. A classic example is family board games such as Monopoly and Family Feud. Be mindful of the age recommendations. When buying a board game for a young child, try finding a board game that can 'grow'. These are games that have multiple ways it could be played, the rules become more complex as the players' age increase (eg. Scrabble Junior).
An alternative to the usual win-lose board games is cooperative games, where players work together to achieve the end goal. This type of game is generally targetted at pre-school to early primary school age kids.
Large pieces puzzles (500+ pieces) can also be a great way for family and friends to spend time together. Large jigsaws are likely to take several days to complete (such as Ravensburger Disney 1000+ puzzles), families can spend time together and away from the television set. Play the 'name the Disney character' game as you go along, it can help with younger children's focus and interest. Puzzle sets that have both classic and new Disney characters can be a fun way for kids to find out more of their parents' childhood.
When buying a gift to add to a collection
In this case, the challenge is what the child already has it in his/her collection. In this case, the easiest is to buy an item that was newly released in the current year. Otherwise, try to find a theme that the collection is based around, and purchase an item that is related to the theme or is a different variation. For example, a child with a large Sylvanian Families collection and have just about every rabbit family that has been issued. You could give a different family set, such as the Labrador family - domestic animal and newly released that year.
Buy a gift that is off tangentially related to the child's interest
Basically, a gift that might not at first glance seems related to the child's interest. With a little imagination, you may find unexpected combinations that could enhance a child's interest. It can also be a great addition if you are considering buying multiple smaller gifts. Check-out the By Theme categories for some inspiration.
- a child that is interested in astronomy - you could give a solar system puzzle or a projector dome
- a young child that likes to play doctor - Usborne's Look Inside Your Body book
- a child that loves dinosaurs - pretend to be a paleontologist with a Dr Cool Dinosaur Dig Kit
- primary school age or early teen that like puzzles - 3D puzzles, build a globe a the Eiffel Tower
- kids that like colouring-in and craft - Calafant range of cardboard playsets to colour-in, build and play with
Classic Toy ..and those with a twist
Classic toys by definition are timeless. They are the toys that you might have played with when growing up, or even toys your parents had played with in their childhood. These days, there are various re-take of the classic toys - classic toys that have been updated with modern design or material.
- wooden building blocks
- Wooden Story classic building blocks come with that 'wood' smell, a whiff takes you back to simpler times.
- Plan Toys' building blocks come with fairy tale tower block pieces.
- Freckle Frog's The Happy Architect range of modular wooden construction pieces that little ones can use to make rooms or towns.
- toy cars - Automoblox makes wooden vehicles, with a twist. Automoblox vehicles, made from German beechwood, are designed to be pulled apart and rebuilt. This modular feature allows your little ones to make 'unique' vehicles, using components from different Automoblox vehicles.
- spinning tops - Londji makes traditional tops and some with a 'fruity flavour': apple, pear, strawberry, orange, lemon and carrot
Buy a novelty gift - something new, original, or unusual
Sometimes, its just fun to go with novelty gifts!
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