There's a world of toys—old and new—being cleverly marketed these days to holiday gift shoppers. How on earth do you choose?
Toys for Tots to 5 years old
Registry gift list
These days some parents provide an on-line list of desired holiday gifts, complete with prices, at a well-known shopping website, like Amazon or Toys R Us. This makes life easy for the busy shopper.
For any child 5 and under
Start by consulting the parents. They’ll know exactly what toys the child likes, how much storage room they have for it, and what the child already has. They may also have other concerns such as washability, sexual stereotyping, and whether or not this toy is an ecologically sound purchase.
Once you have cleared those hurdles, make your own checks for safety and reliability. Whenever possible, pick a toy that has been reviewed by parents (or grandparents) of children who have used it.
For a child whose family you don't know
Important safety tip: Make sure the toy can be returned if, for some reason, the parents decide it's not appropriate for their child. This means you should shop only at well-known, reliable stores with a standard return policy.
National Association for Education of Young Children
This is a good site for general advice covering eight up-to-date things to know about how babies-to-preschool kids play, learn and develop.
This site meets a variety of toy needs: Educational toys, toys for different ages and/or sex, and toys that suit children with special needs. They also have old and new favorites that cover diverse interests. Most toys also include customer feed-back.