Your 10-year-old niece is into computer games. Or still adding to her American Girl collection. Your 8-year-old grandson wants the Physics Workshop. Or a baseball catcher’s mitt. Or you’re going to a family celebration and haven’t a clue what to buy for any of the children.
Holiday Gifts for School Kids
Look. Learn. Shop.
▪ Start with some excellent advice about safe toys for parents, kids and teens.
▪ It can be especially difficult to choose a gift for the emotionally or developmentally challenged youngster. At Fat Brain Toys you’ll find a Special Needs Resource Center that reviews toys and games for children with over 20 different special needs, challenges, and developmental goals. Your best bet will be to pick a price range, review what’s available, and then confer with the child’s parents.
▪ You can get good information at Mashable about electronic gifts for pre-school through high school youngsters.
▪ Common Sense Media is a very good site for rating all kinds of entertainment, including: movies, apps, games, books, TV shows, websites, and music. Also provides info for kids with special needs and learning difficulties. Covers ages two through 18. Topics include: cars and trucks; dinosaurs; magic and fantasy; princesses and fairies; sports and martial arts; superheroes; bugs; and more. Wow!
▪ Modern Parents Messy Kids (MPMK) has a detailed guide of go-to gifts for elementary school kids. Prices range from $6.29 (Ed Emberely Drawing & Art Books) to $349.95 (LEGO Mindstorms EV3—a robotics kit!), but are mostly well under $30. MPMK also reviews gifts by special interests or circumstances (doll & princess lovers, playing alone, dramatic play toys, etc.), and by age—from babies through grade school. An excellent site, in our opinion.
▪ The main advantage about shopping for toys and gifts at Amazon.com for school-aged kids is its huge selection of almost everything—books (regular and Kindle), toys, games, electronic devices, music, clothing, etc., plus its extensive consumer product reviews. There are special sites for boys’ toys and games, kids pretend dress-up, arts & crafts, and lots more. You can also buy Gift Certificates that can arrive at the child’s home by email or snail mail—your choice.
▪ For children and teenagers passionately interested in helping animals, check out the Animal Rescue Site. It has an online store that sells inexpensive pet-themed gifts. The site itself may be interesting, as well, with lots of stories about rescued and adopted pets, including some youtube videos. Every time you go to the site, there’s a free “button” to click that makes a small donation to the charity, so viewers can feel good, because they’re actually helping homeless pets.
▪ For the older youngster, check out iTunes for gifts of music, movies, TV shows, apps, and audiobooks—all of which can be downloaded onto both Macs and PCs.
Safety tips buying for the elementary school child
Plan on shopping the internet where the smart shopper can find almost anything. Then ask the child’s parents for suggestions. The younger the child the more likely it is that his parents will know what she would like and can handle. They will also know what games or toys he owns, so you don’t duplicate something he already has. And, when you consult mom or dad, you avoid offending strong parental feelings about such things as sexism, guns, noise, safety, and protecting the environment.
Buying for a high school teenager
Teenagers can mature dramatically between the ages of 14 and 18. You really have to target special interests, because presents at this age merge with items you might buy for an adult. Again, the internet is your friend. Electronic equipment (games, smart phones, iPads, anime DVDs), books, magazine subscriptions, calendars, hobby and sports equipment, are all there, and all good bets. Or you can simply buy a gift certificate to a favorite store or website.
Good hunting and happy holidays!
For more information:
• fractuslearning.com - Computer games
• americangirl.com - American girl dolls
• fatbraintoys.com - Physics Workshop
• justballgloves.com - Catchers’ mitts
• kidshealth.org - Safe toys
• fatbraintoys.com - Special needs toys
• mashable.com - Electronic gifts for every age
• commonsensemedia.org - Ratings for all sorts of entertainment gifts
• modernparentsmessykids.com - Go-to gifts for kids of all ages. Very wide price range.
• amazon.com - Amazon: Boys toys
• amazon.com - Amazon: Kids pretend dress-up
• amazon.com - Amazon: Arts & crafts
• theanimalrescuesite.greatergood.com - Animal rescue website
• apple.com/itunes - Older teens: Music, movies, TV shows, apps, and audiobooks