Last year, over the holidays, an article I wrote about what gifts NOT to buy children went viral on the Huffington Post, then went on to be published in three different languages! 10 Things you don't want to buy a child. Ever.
Like with all viral posts, I also caught all kinds of Internet Troll-Hell from it. You see ,when something goes viral the Internet trolls come out to see what the commotion is about, then, inevitably, throw in their hateful two-cents.
I got comment after comment about what a horrible mother I am. How I'm keeping my child from life's great toys. The mom-shaming was never ending. I normally could give a crap what the Trolls think. Especially, when they fail to see the humor in something clearly meant to be humorous.
Here's a short excerpt from the article:
- Toys that make annoying noises. Steer clear of the fire truck with 50 flashing lights that screams “FIRE FIRE” and then belts out a 30-second siren whenever you slightly touch the button, because I promise, your kid will push that button repeatedly for two hours straight. There is a special place in hell for toy manufacturers of those toys. It’s on the corner of Whats-wrong-with-you and Needs-a-slap Street.
- Toys with sensors that go off when you walk by. This reaches beyond toys. ANYTHING that makes noises when you walk by will be regretted. You will never be able to sneak out of your child’s room again thanks to it.
- Toys that are part of a set or collection. Your kid will insist on every style, color and “special release” in the collection. To add insult to injury, just when you buy the last toy to complete the collection, your child will be on to the next big toy collection. Trust me, once you open the floodgates, you can kiss your nest egg goodbye.
- Tiny toys. First and foremost, the smaller the toy, the more pain it inflicts when you step on it barefoot. They are impossible to see in the dark, so there is no avoiding it. Think: Lego. Tiny toys also end up in the kid’s mouth, then the dog’s mouth then back in the kid’s mouth. Just avoid anything smaller than your hand.
- Toys that can be easily disassembled into two hundred tiny pieces. This will inevitably happen in the back seat of your car, two minutes after pulling out of the store parking lot. With any and all accompanying stickers immediately stuck to the car window.
While, I don't care what Trolls say, I do think a list of children's gift ideas, is a fair ask. Besides, I'm a mom, I know what's good and what's not.
So, IMH-Mom-O, here are my go-to gifts for children at various stages and ages, and how to stay prepared for the pop-up party.
First and foremost, I ALWAYS follow the recommended age listed on toy and food packaging. Nine times out of ten, they are spot on correct. Second, having a young child with many birthday invites, I ALWAYS shop the clearance areas in the Children's' department to stock up throughout the year.
Newborn: This gift is for the parents. No stuffed animals or soft blankets needed, but what is...
- A Case of Diapers- check to see if disposable or reusable, and favorite brand.
- Case of wipes
- Target/Walmart/Babies-r-Us Gift card
- If you must buy a toy, only buy newborn specific, as natural/organic as possible WASHABLE gift. Or, just stick to diapers.
Infant to 2-year old: It's important to stick to the recommendation on toys at this age. Most everything will find it's way into the baby's mouth, avoid toxic, expensive, heavy, hard to hold, small pieces. Look For
- Interactive books that make reading fun. Think: buttons that make sounds that correspond to the story. (Make sure it has an off switch!)
- Open-ended toys. Think Blocks, Shape Sorters, Nesting Cups
- Things that GO! Anything on wheels, that can be pushed or used to encourage walking.
Children 3-4 years: This a time of learning, exploration and independence, look for toys that foster their need to grow and learn.
- Learning books that encourage color, animal or word identification and counting.
- Ask the parent if the child is beginning to play with toys that come in sets: LEGO, Thomas The Train, Hotwheels... Both the parent and child will love this gift. (Parents spend college funds on these sets trying to make their child happy.)
Children 5-6 years old: Think: Smarty Pants. These little buggers are forty-year-olds stuck in a five-year old's body.
- Floor puzzles are great
- Age appropriate coloring kits or crafts
- Play-doh or moldable sand are still going to be a big hit at this age
- Note: This is the beginning of the New-Craze-Phase. Think: As Seen On TV Kids love this kind of stuff. Look in stores for age appropriate as-seen-on-tv-merch.
- Science sets, robotic kits, rocket models... anything that promotes learning and fun
- iTunes gift card-Talk to the parents first to see if this is relevant. If it is, the gift card will be much appreciated!
- For the older more advanced 8-year old, Something along the lines of jewelry making kit, or how to build an atomic volcano might be nice.
Children 10-14 years old: You will NEVER please this age group. Don't bother trying. Seriously, did your parents "get it" when you were 10-14? #GiftCard
- Girls: a nice little piece of jewelry. But not too expensive. It will be lost. Most likely, sooner than later.
- Boys: anything associated with whatever the "big guy" is into; bike riding, skateboarding, kung-fu-sh*t... Or, something like the Jumpin' Banana Doody Head Velcro Cap Poo Flinging Game.
15-18 years old: All 15-18 yr-olds care about are three things; Clothes, transportation and social stuff. Meaning, all they really want from you is one thing. Cash. Lots and lots of, Cash. So, go with that.
- Mall Wide Gift Certificate.
- Gas Card.
- iTunes card