Children can be hard to buy for. Their tastes change almost daily. They want to have whatever is the hottest, coolest, most popular toy on the market at the time.
There are fad toys every year
Last year, parents were running each other over and paying hundreds of dollars for Hatchimals*. They are creepy, multi-colored, winged stuffed animals hidden in a speckled egg. Some resemble owls or cats. You can even buy accessories for it, like a nest for your egg (or you can make one for free with an old blanket, but I digress).
Seriously, if you don’t know what they are, look them up. Supposedly, if you take care of them, they hatch and you get a neat surprise toy in it. You can then ‘raise’ the Hatchimal from a baby to a kid and teach it things. But last year, there was some uproar that many did not hatch in time for Christmas. Some did not hatch at all. So this toy that parents paid $200 for didn’t even work.
I mean, sure. Some of them did work. And I am sure some kids had a blast with them. But they are very reminiscent of the old Furbie toys that were so popular when I was a kid. Many children, even me, got one and played with it for a few days and then locked it outside or in a closet because the thing was just creepy and would talk at random times. Possessed, anyone?
One of this year’s coolest toys are Fingerlings*. They are little monkeys that hold on to your finger. They also move around a make noise in response to noise or commands. And people are ordering them up like crazy. I saw someone on Facebook buying up the last few at a store a selling them for double the original asking price.
Another sold-out product this year is the LOL surprise doll*. To me, this looks like nothing more than a miniature doll with accessories, like a Barbie. But it also has a nice little price tag attached to it, not that Barbie doesn’t. I’m sure I’ll see these selling for more than retail before Christmas is here.
Now, I’m not a scrooge. I’m not saying that you can’t get your kids a cool fad toy. I just had to have many fad toys over the years. Do Giga Pets and Beanie Babies sound familiar? But try to keep in mind how much it costs versus how much playing time they will get out of it.
Side note: My mom got her money’s worth from that Giga Pet. I carried that thing everywhere.
Give gifts with major replay value
If you are going to spend money on a toy for your child, or someone else’s children, try to buy a gift they will get many hours of enjoyment and play-time out of.
My number one go to for presents has become books. To start with, you can read them to a child. Then you can point out shapes and pictures for them to learn. Next, you can have them make up a story to go along with the pictures. You can then have them actually sound out the words and read the book to you.
Books are something that you can get many years of use out of, even more if you can pass it on to another child when it is outgrown. And if you don’t want to or can’t afford to buy them new, many are in perfect condition at Goodwill. They are simply the most perfect gift I have found for children!
Another great gift for children is a set of blocks. They are very low-tech and have endless possibilities for creations and story-lines. Because of the simplistic nature of the blocks, a child is only limited with them by their imagination. And most of the time, you can get a good set for fairly cheap, like this set* of 100 blocks.
I am 30 years old and still enjoy playing with wooden blocks. Though, admittedly, I get frustrated when Monkey knocks down the blocks before I am finished building. A small price to pay for passing on my enjoyment of building to the next generation.
Children don’t need the newest toys
Though children think they need at least one of each of the newest toys, they really don’t. Sure, they would like to have it. And many kids would probably play with them for a while. But you cannot over-spoil your kids at the expense of breaking your budget.
If you go broke buying up every toy your child wants, you really are doing a disservice to them. You become more stressed during a wonderful time of the year, and your children might miss out on time with you because you have to work extra or longer to make up for the money you over-spent.
To me, it is best to buy toys with extensive replay value, like books or blocks, and spend time together enjoying the magic of Christmas.
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Are you getting your children a fingerling this year, or are you going to opt for a toy with more replay value, like a book or building blocks?
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