Are there any kids on your Christmas shopping list this year? If so, you may have your work cut out for you. After all, there’s no one-size-fits-all gifting solution when it comes to shopping for kids. Every child has his or her own unique personality and interests, and what works for one may not work for another. And then there’s the problem of development. As kids grow, they inevitably outgrow some of their interests and into all new ones. What is a gift giver to do? Well, if you come along with me on today’s wild blogging ride, I’ll try to sort some of that out for you. If nothing else, I’ll at least give you a few resources to help you solve the development problem and a few fun suggestions. You might even find that ever elusive perfect gift. Read on for full details!
Finding the Perfect Gift by Age
When I say I’ll give you some resources to help you solve the development dilemma, what I actually mean is that Best Buy divides its online toy department into 8 different age ranges, and I’m going to provide you with links to each section. This will at least give you a very good starting point for the kid(s) on your list. The categories in question include the following age ranges: 0 – 12 Months, 12 – 24 Months, 3 – 4 Years, 5 – 7 Years, 8 – 10 Years, 11 – 13 Years, 14 – 17 Years, and 18 Years & Up. There’s bound to be some overlap of what appeals to kids across the different age classifications, but let’s consider a few representative items from some of the different categories to get a better idea of what kinds of toys are best suited to each age group.
From Birth Through the First Few Months
If the child on your gift list this year is a newborn baby (or something thereabouts), there’s plenty for you to choose from. Since babies in the first few months of life aren’t super mobile, I would suggest looking into something like the Bright Starts Roaming Safari Activity Gym.
This activity blanket is comprised of soft, light polyester that’s easy to clean (it’s machine washable) and features a variety of fun, attention grabbing elements to keep baby engaged and entertained. These include a lion chime and ring rattle for noisemaking, a baby-safe mirror for looking at oneself, and an elephant chain link—which is perfect for grabbing at to practice those developing motor skills.
Ages 2 & Up
From ages 2 and up (the “up” part of that will vary by individual child), you can’t go wrong with something like the 14″ Animatronic Reading Bear, Teddy Ruxpin. This popular (and chatty) bear made a huge comeback last year after a few decades in the dusty toy bin of history, and he sure came back in style. Now fully interactive and enhanced for the modern age (as in, he no longer has a built-in cassette player), Teddy has his traditional moving mouth (complete with TalkSync Technology so his mouth moves in time with the words your child will hear) as well as electronic LCD eyes with over 40 different eye expressions. Of course, we mustn’t forget to mention the Teddy Ruxpin App, wherein your child can follow along with the digital book that Teddy is reading to them. If you want to give a young child a gift that’s equally fun, mesmerizing, and educational, Teddy R is certainly a great choice.
Ages 3+ (to About 5)
As kids begin to get a little bit older, they tend to get busy and active. Thus, what better type of gift than an imaginative activity set like the KidKraft Modern Espresso Kitchen? Perfect for pretending, this toy may take up a bit of space, but it will sure make kids feel like they’re growing up. After all, what’s more grown up than having your own modern kitchen?
This particular kitchen comes with its own fridge, freezer, sink and taps, microwave oven, a range, a paper towel holder, and even a dishwasher. What’s more, all the doors really open and close, the various knobs and faucets really turn, and there’s even a cool cordless phone to play with, along with a chalk board mounted on the freezer door. One word of warning, though: I wouldn’t try to store real food in that fridge or freezer!
From Ages 6 to About 10
For kids in the 6 to about 10 or 11 range, robotic and STEM toys are great for challenging their minds and helping them to develop their intellect. For instance, something like the Wonder Workshop Dash Interactive Robot Toy may be the perfect gift for the child with an inquisitive mind. That’s because this toy teaches kids the basics of computer coding and algorithms—and all as a direct result of playing and having fun. Kids can program their Dash to light up, make sounds, dance and move around, react to their voices, and even avoid obstacles. Dash is app controlled and works with your Android or iOS device, so if you’re getting this for a child other than your own, make sure someone in their household has a smart phone for them to use the Wonder and Blockly Apps with.
Starting at Around 10 & Up
As kids begin to mature beyond childhood, their interests may broaden out a bit. Hence, you may find that anything from a board game to a drone to a hoverboard may be appropriate.
In the board game realm, might I suggest Settlers of Catan? This fun game is suitable for groups of 3-4 players in the 10 and up age range, and it’s perfect for those kids that enjoy being social but prefer to remain indoors. It’s both strategic and interactive, and it will have them both cooperating and clashing as they build roads and settlements and compete to collect valuable resources. It’s a great way to encourage an evening of wholesome fun!
If it’s something a bit more active you’re after, why not consider a drone? There’s a good bit to choose from in this area as well, but you’re definitely going to want something in the toy or hobby grade realms (as opposed to the photography grade realm). For instance, the Parrot Mambo Mission Quadcopter Drone is certainly a fun choice, with its grabber claw and airsoft BBs that really shoot. It even has a built-in camera for kicks!
For more help in this particular field, you can always check out my recent article entitled What Kind of Drone Should You Give As A Gift This Year?. Here you will find detailed descriptions of the different classifications of drones and which type of drone enthusiast each is best suited to. It’s sure to help you find that perfect gift in the drone category.
Finally, for those really active outdoor types that are always on the move, you might consider a hoverboard such as the Gyrocopters PRO 2.0 Hoverboard with Bluetooth Speaker. This board is sure to keep them moving and having fun for hours at a time as they cruise the neighbourhood with their like-minded friends listening to music via the board’s built-in Bluetooth speaker. This particular model even features special no fall (auto balancing) technology, so you won’t have to worry about them falling and getting injured. Very cool!
Practically Grown Up
For the practically grown up child, something a bit more sophisticated is likely to be necessary. For this reason, I would lean toward getting them something like a telescope at this stage of life—provided it suits their interests. If this is the territory that you’re currently navigating, then allow me to suggest the Celestron AstroMaster 130EQ Telescope. This beautiful telescope is loaded with special features that make it a whole lot more than just an ordinary scope. For example, it’s a “Reflector” type model (using a mirror to enhance the images it sees) featuring a 650mm focal length (with up to 65x magnification), a lightweight (aluminum) tripod with attached accessory tray, coated glass optics (for crisper and clearer images), a mounted StarPointer (as well as an equatorial mount to help users locate and track objects in the sky), and it even comes with the very educational SkyX Astronomy Software. What this means is that whether the person you’re buying for is merely an astronomy hobbyist or someone with aspirations of becoming a professional Astronomer, the telescope you’re giving them will be fun, useful, and highly educational. Note: If any of this product’s technical specs aren’t familiar to you, you can get a better understanding of them by visiting its Best Buy product page.
And there you have it—great toys for kids of all ages and interests. For more great Christmas shopping ideas, just click on the banner below and visit Best Buy’s special gift giving hub to find that perfect gift. Merry Christmas!