Monday, November 30, 2009

Having a Hard Time Figuring Out the Right Gift? Age Does Matter


Whether you're buying for your own kids or someone else's, choosing the best gifts can be tough. If you've never had children of a certain age group, you may be unfamiliar with age appropriate toys, games, and electronics. Luckily, we've created the following buying guide with a few great gift ideas for kids of all ages!


Infants and Toddlers: This can be the most tricky age group to buy for because kids two and under grow and learn so quickly. A child who is six months old, for example, would probably not be interested in toys designed for newborns, while still being unable to enjoy items meant for a one year old.


Fortunately, there are a few options that are perfect for almost any child within this age group. Blocks, for instance, can be purchased in various sizes and textures to accommodate both infants and toddlers. There are also various riding toys, like mini rocking horses, that can be used for years to grow along with the child.


Preschoolers: Kids in this age group are becoming more independent and learning new skills everyday. Reading and counting skills are being developed at this time, so choosing toys that will encourage learning is a great way to keep preschoolers engaged and entertained. Memory games and puzzles are one option. Many of them are brightly colored and feature fun characters, while helping kids enhance both memory and fine motor skills.


Art supplies like markers, easels, crayons, coloring books, clay, and stamps are also favorite among this age group. They are able to express their budding individuality by creating new drawings and sculptures, as well as practice writing and drawing letters, numbers, and shapes.


Elementary Age: Although this age group includes children from 5 to 9 or ten, there are some toys that nearly all children enjoy no matter what their age. These include activities and games, as well as pretend play toys. Choose games that allow children to jump and move around while playing. Counting, reading, and writing games are also great choices, with skill levels being based on the exact age or grade level of the child.


Pretend play toys can include things like toy kitchens, doll sets and houses, or costumes. Although children in the upper end of this age group may seem to grow out of these types of toys, you’ll likely find that even older children enjoy playing make believe if the game is engaging enough. Encourage them to try out their acting skills by writing and performing their own plays, or have them learn to cook a real dinner while younger siblings join in by preparing a pretend one.


Pre-teens and teens: These kids may have outgrown dolls and tea sets, but they still enjoy things like board games, computer games and accessories, and fun décor items. When choosing games, make sure the skills required are challenging enough to entertain adolescents for more than five minutes. For décor items, choose things like bean bag chairs to provide extra seating while hanging out with friends.

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