Shopping for children isn’t always easy. Choosing a great gift for a 6 year old boy is different than choosing for a toddler or a 13-year-old girl. They’re very different people with different developmental requirements. But there are some common characteristics that link great toys together and can help make the choice a little easier.
1. Color, Sound & Texture
Color and texture is important, particularly in toys for infants and toddlers. Infants are in the process of developing their senses, while toddlers are busy honing them. In both cases, colorful toys with textured surfaces, extra flaps, and crinkly or squeaky parts are vital in their play development. Stimulating a child’s sense of color, sound and texture early will help them better relate to a world full of those things.
While technology in toys is a fairly new development, its importance cannot be overstated. Technology allows us more access to the world, information, and other people than we’ve ever had in history, and children’s toys have changed to reflect that. In recent years, the toy industry has been populated with robots, drones, computers and gadgets of all kinds. And now, keeping the balance between fun, education, safety, and technology is more important than ever to both consumers and retailers.
We love the toys that we remember from our own childhoods, and some of the best of those are still around today. In a lot of cases, time- and kid-tested toys never go out of style. Think about a yo-yo, a toy which has changed very little in terms of design throughout its long history, but which can still be found in toy stores to this day. Nostalgia can be exceptionally important in toys, because parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles often want to share the fun they remember having as children.
Gifts for kids have to be unique. At any age, kids are taking in so much stimulation, it can be hard for a gift-giver to find a toy that is truly memorable. Toy designers, manufacturers, and sellers are constantly looking for the toy that will become “the Next Big Thing,” and consumers want the same. No one wants to give a kid a toy that they’ll open, then put aside side and forget about. And what could be worse than giving a kid something they already have?
5. Pure fun
This is the most important characteristic of a gift for a child any age: fun. The element of fun can include one or all of the previous points. It can include science, technology, and math. It can mean something outdoorsy and adventurous, or a fun indoor art project for a rainy day. It can cover something as complex as a toy robot that moves on its own, or something as simple as an old-fashioned bouncing ball. But above all, it covers the uniquely important question that both sellers and buyers have to ask themselves about any toy: Is it fun?
Shopping for great gifts for kids isn’t as daunting as it sounds, even if you don’t necessarily know much about children. Applying some or all of the characteristics above to the toy shopping experience can help. But at the same time, there are many great toy sellers who have already done the work, and carefully curated their inventory to make shopping for kid’s gifts easier. After all, we can agree that happy, well-balanced children make for a better world.