Toys for Tots - 7 Tips for Perfect Toddler Christmas Presents

At this time of year, many people not blessed with children will be tramping around the toy stores hopelessly seeking inspiration for what to get little nephews and nieces for Christmas. It's a daunting task. Are you confused by the mind boggling variety of toys available for young children? Unsure whether you will be able to make the right choice? Help is at hand! Read on and discover why 'thinking outside of the box' may not be as important as thinking about the box itself.

  1. Choose a toy in a colourful, strong box - preferably one large enough to be used as a hat, boat or car. Boxes of different sizes can be used to make spaceships at a later date by enthusiastic parents.
  2. Choose a toy with the parents in mind. Maybe something with a repetitive noise every time a button is pressed for any mild disagreements during the previous year, rising to a full drum kit. Don't forget to stress the importance of musical expression in the development of young children.
  3. Remember that toy manufacturers know what they are talking about when they say on the box that the toy is not suitable for children under a certain age. Although toys for the next age group may seem more interesting to you, they will probably, at best, cause frustration in the young child resulting in tears and the toy being used as a missile. At worst they could provide an alternative Christmas location, the local emergency room, while small parts or the whole toy is removed from little ears and nostrils, or everyone waits patiently for your Christmas present to reappear as nature takes its course.
  4. Finger paints. These rank nearly as high up as the drum kit - perhaps even higher if the parents are tone deaf - it's unlikely that they will be colour blind as well. The little pots of primary colours are tremendously attractive to the young child, while putting the fear of God into the house-proud parent. This will be the present they want to play with immediately. There will hardly be time to remove the budding Picasso to a space with no soft furnishings before the tops are off and the fun begins. Paper for the paint to be aimed at is a thoughtful inclusion with this present. This present can solve the problem of what to buy the parents as they will be bound to need an extensive range of cleaning products for the house, child and any family pets.
  5. Don't forget the batteries! Many toys need batteries so be sure to read the box carefully to find out the exact size and number required. The cost of the batteries must be included in the amount you have allowed for the child's present. Removing old batteries from items around your own home is not an option. If the cost of the batteries puts the toy out of you price range, choose another, preferably the drum kit or finger paints which do not require batteries.
  6. Not clothes again! Even a very young child will realise that clothing is a present for his or her parents. There are a few notable exceptions, super hero suits, fairy costumes and little princess dresses. It is usual to buy super hero suits for boys and fairy costumes and princess dresses for girls. However, if you do make a mistake don't worry as the child will probably be wearing it before anyone else has realised your error. Trying to stop the child wearing it is the parents' problem. Don't forget the bright red Santa hat and clip on reindeer horns for the family pet unless this happens to be a goldfish. A little discernment is necessary here.
  7. Absolute musts? Actually, there is only one. Chocolate in the shape of anything remotely to do with Christmas. Not a long lived present admittedly, although it will give the parents a chance to try out the cleaning products if you chickened out on the finger paints.

Hopefully this will help in your quest for the perfect present for those special little people and will empower you to spread a little extra joy and fun around this holiday. Happy Christmas shopping!

author: J.M. Rodgers

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