Wednesday, 14 November 2012

5 Tips to Find the Perfect Children’s Toys and Gifts

wishlist, children, children's toys, toys, gifts, Christmas, iWishfor
Are you planning on using iWishfor to find the perfect children's toys and gifts for Christmas? As we gear up to Christmas, the iWishfor team is noticing a lot of toys and gifts being added to iWishfor. While we are going to be doing a series of blog posts highlighting new and unique items being scanned by users as gifts, we wanted to explore a very important issue in gift buying: How to find the perfect children’s toys and gifts for Christmas. We're talking about toys that help with cognitive development, social interactions, and role-playing.

This is not a light issue as those of you with kids will know. Getting the perfect gift for your children is important; both in keeping your children happy and also getting them something that will enhance their physical and cognitive development.

In a recent report by child development experts working on the new Ribena Plus Play Report, it was revealed that over a third (36 per cent) of parents say their children were happiest playing make-believe games with basic props.

This is not surprising at all. How many times have you seen children spending more time playing with the box the toy came in than the actual toy?

So, how do you choose the perfect toy for a child that promotes cognitive development and physical development? iWishfor has prepared a series of 5 tips to help you out during this Christmas season

Here are 5 tips to find the Perfect Children’s Toys for Christmas:

1.    Materials that coordinate with their developmental level and interests
Often people will pick toys that they think are perfect for children, without thinking about how receptive the children themselves will be to the toy and what will help with their cognitive development. For example, knowing that the child hasn’t played with Barbie dolls for years will go a long way in narrowing your choices. Or purchasing a 750 Lego model for a child who doesn’t yet have the fine motor skills or patience is not going to be a helpful gift. Most toys have an appropriate age range guide on the box for reference, which provides a good starting point.

2.    Choosing your kid's toys should have nothing to do with gender-specific choices
Just because the child is a girl does not mean that the gift has to be pink, frilly Barbie dolls or a kitchen set. Gifts for boys don’t necessarily have to be limited to hot rods and action figures. While sometimes those can sometimes be appropriate choices, particularly if you have followed tip number 1 and have done your homework. However, there are many girls who love playing with cars and trains and lots of boys who enjoy pretending they are cooking. There are also lots of toys and games that are not gender focused and can be equally enjoyed by both genders.  There are lots of children, boys and girls, who love playing, creating and exploring blocks.

3.    Toys Don’t Actually Have to be Labeled as Toys
We get so focused on buying “toys” for children that we forget that our definition of toys and a child’s definition of toy can be two very different things! To a child, a cardboard box is a toy. A stamp kit can be a toy. Retailers can sometimes lead you to believe that a toy is that narrow section of a store between the transformers and the Barbie dolls when in fact a book of seasonal crafts can create an endless amount of “toy” ideas for children to enjoy throughout the year. We are also seeing lots of growth in subscriptions to products that are delivered to children throughout the year based on a theme. For example, a once a month box of crafts for kids, or a science kit that gets sent with a focus on a particular topic. Toys and ideas that cross the gender line can help encourage more participation and more creativity.

4.    Choose Multipurpose Toys
While children still enjoy specifically focused toys like Transformers, Barbie dolls, trains, etc, toys that allow children to interact with them in multiple ways are ideal for cognitive development. Lego, play-do, blocks, art supplies, play clothes, and other more generic multi-purpose toys are all great for children. One day it can be building a castle with blocks. Next day it can be a space tower! Toys that allow children to role-play are also great because they are being forced to create the play as they go building and stimulate the neurons. Toys including Barbie dolls tend to force children into a specific style of play.

5.    Look For the Toys That Will Appeal to Your Child's Interest … And To Your Sanity!
So you get what you think is the perfect toy. You have checked to make sure that is aligned to your child’s interest and is engaging and interactive. Christmas morning comes, the child opens the package and squeals with joy as they begin to play with it. A smile comes to your lips until … the toy begins to make noise! And you realize that there is no volume button! Noisy toys can quickly fray even the most patient of parents. With research backing the fact that noisy toys can damage children’s ears, there has been some movement to make children’s toys quieter. However, the constant, repetitive sound can quickly drive you crazy. Looking for toys that the child can still use without sound are optimal to preserving everyone’s sanity.

These 5 tips can help anyone find the perfect gift for a child. There is a wide range of excellent toys out there and with a little bit of searching, and using these 5 tips, you can easily find the perfect toys and gifts that everyone will enjoy. You can even find some great ideas on iWishfor!

Ian Hancock is the founder and CEO of iWishfor. iWishfor is the innovative app that allows people to save and share gift ideas with friends and family; anytime, anywhere and for any occasion. Give the perfect gift every time!

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