If you’re still doing some last minute holiday shopping, then you’re not alone. Many shoppers wait until the last weeks before Christmas to get their shopping done in hopes of some fantastic sales. For those parents that are still on the lookout for that hot holiday item, check out these top-rated toys and gadgets by age group.
Shopping for an infant is super easy. There are lots of baby toys on the market. However, if you want to get something useful or memorable, consider giving a gift that grows with the child. This type of gift lasts through several stages, which is also helpful to the parent. The best gifts for babies are ones that have a dual purpose or capture this moment of their life.
Some fun ideas to consider include:
· Activity Centers like the Infantino Grow-With-Me Activity Gym & Ball Pit
· The Ready, Set, Go 3-in-1 Trike by Alex Toys
You also can’t go wrong with teething toys, books, or clothes. Shopping for kids at this age is quite simple because a lot of it is based on the needs of the parents. If you are shopping for someone else’s child, don’t be afraid to ask what the family needs most. Sometimes the most practical gifts are the best ones. If you are shopping for your own child, then get what you need no matter how boring it may seem. Your baby will like the bow and wrapping paper better than what’s inside, anyway.
As children get older, they get more fun to buy presents for. Toddlers are expressive and excited to see what’s beyond the box. Practical items like books and clothes are great for this age group, but if you are really looking to impress then consider some of this year’s hottest toys.
· Sesame Street Big Hugs Elmo – you can never go wrong with a giant Elmo that gives hugs
· The Very Hungry Caterpillar Rocker – if you don’t know the story of The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle then you better get the book to go along with this giant rocking (but friendly) insect
· Winfun Step to Play Piano Mat – this item is just as sounds, like in the movie ‘Big’, it’s a giant floor size piano built for tiny feet to stomp and play music on
Toddlers love anything they can get their hands on. Interactive toys are great for this age. Look for items that have bright lights, sounds, and motion.
School Age (Elementary)
As children grow out of the toddler phase, they can get a little harder to please. Once a child is in school, they see things their friends have and begin asking for specific items. While getting a very specific list for “Santa” is helpful, it can also be a hindrance based on availability and price. Don’t be surprised if your Kindergartner asks for an iPhone this year. However, they probably don’t need one just yet, and might love these other best-sellers.
· LEGOS – boy or girl, almost every child loves LEGOS and they are still one of the most sought after toy sets in the world.
· LeapFrog toys – LeapFrog is a company that sells a wide range of interactive toys for younger children. These educational gifts are great for the busy child that wants something electronic but isn’t quite ready to be introduced into the i-world of Apple, Inc.
· Crayola gifts – Crayola has long been entertaining the young and young at heart with their crafty products. Popular Crayola gifts for young children include the Marker Maker, Doodle Magic Color Mat, and the Widescreen Light Designer.
Other popular gifts are any toy that has the theme of your child’s favorite cartoon characters. School age children love Sesame Street, Disney Princesses, Spongebob, Hello Kitty, and the Smurfs… just to name a few. Chances are that the characters your child watches on the television, also have a whole line of retail toys to go along with it.
School Age (Middle) A.K.A. the Tweens
Oh the tween years… every parent has to love a time when their precious little child thinks he or she is full grown at the age of 11. This group may be the most difficult to buy for. They are hard to please and have an opinion on everything.
So what do you get for the tween on your list….?
Here is a list of this year’s top-rated sellers that are great for both boys and girls:
· Loom Band Kit – if you don’t what know what a loom band is, take a look at your child’s wrist. Similar to the Silly Band craze of a few years ago, loom bands are the hot new trend. Both boys and girls are making and trading their very own handmade rubber band bracelets. A kit comes with all the tools needed to make different styles, as well as several hundred multi-colored rubber bands.
· Apples to Apples Junior – a fun and competitive card game that will have the whole family laughing for hours (yes, even the tween)
· A watch or camera – since the pre-teen years are all about growing up consider getting the tween in your life an upgraded watch or camera. This age bracket is way beyond the plastic childish toys that look like the real stuff. Upgrade them to a nice, but fairly inexpensive watch or digital camera.
Tweens also love anything that sparks their interests. So take a look at what he or she likes to do and get something that relates to their favorite hobby such as art, music, sports, etc.
*Helpful hint – if you haven’t already given in and purchased an iPod, iPad, iPhone or some other electronic device, this may be the age bracket to finally do so.
By the time your child is a teen, you have come full circle on the gift-giving spectrum. Teens are nearly as easy as infants and toddlers. That is because most teens simply want one thing – money. Unless you really, really, really know the teen you are buying for then stick to the green stuff or a gift card. If you choose to venture out and get something unique, keep the receipt – just in case. Most teens are vocal about what they want for Christmas, so buying for this age group shouldn’t be hard at all, but it might be a little expensive.
Giving Beyond the Material Gift
In addition to giving material items, you may also want to consider teaching your child a valuable lesson about gift giving. DonorsChoose.org is a charity that gives to American schools and students in need. The best part is, when you gift money to your child through DonorsChoose.org – he or she gets to pick who and where the donation goes. Schools from around the nation post their needs online and you not only get to give to a great cause, but your child gets a priceless lesson in giving at the same time. And if that’s not enough to melt your heart, your child will also get a personal “thank you” note directly from the teacher that he or she supported.