Toy manufacturers would have parents think that the only choice for holiday gifts are those connected to the latest movie or television show marketed to children. This is especially true when our children look at, ooh and ahh, and put stickers on their favorite toys in the Amazon or Target wishbooks.
Loving adults do not need wait in long lines searching for the “it” toy of the year. There are toys that stand the test of time and are always a good choice for any gift-giving. Here are my top five picks:
1. Wooden blocks. Blocks provide the opportunity to be creative while exploring spatial relationships, balance and geometry. Simple blocks are best. There is no need for them to be embellished with markings or characters.
2. Items that prompt pretend play. These prompts should mimic typical life experiences such as cooking in the kitchen, visiting a doctor’s office, or taking care of babies or pets. Children create pretend play narratives based on their real-life experiences. Prompts that support these narratives are always a good choice.
3. Materials that encourage creativity. Items in this category should include glue, scissors, colored paper, crayons, washable markers and washable paints. Creative materials should allow for open-ended creative exploration, rather than ones that suggest an end product.
4 Books. Quality children’s books are plentiful. Modern stories include concepts of diversity, a robust vocabulary and universal values. Many authors have begun to include scientific and mathematical concepts. Quality books stand the test of time and can often be found at second-hand book sellers, meaning that there is little need to purchase from big box book retailers.
5 A large box. Children will use their imaginations to create an infinite number of structures out of this box. If providing an empty box as a gift seems too simple, it can be used to contain and deliver the first four items.