Christmas shopping for kids

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stockings on mantle
Put a twinkle in a child's eye with goodies from Santa.
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Give kids the gifts of imagination, creativity and fitness this Christmas.

Christmas shopping for kids can be filled with joy or be your worst nightmare. Kids typically have a long list of wishes that include gadgets from every television commercial or magazine ad that they have seen over the past year. Living in an age where children are deluged with commercialism, try to choose toys or games that are age appropriate and stimulate imagination. The last thing you need to do is give a child a toy that ends up on a closet shelf, or worse yet - the trash, 5 minutes after they have opened the gift. Avoid shopping sprees where you just end up with a lot of "stuff."

Toys with Endless Possibilities

So with the huge selection of toys and games to choose from when Christmas shopping for kids, where do you begin? First, take into consideration the age of the child. Second, take a moment to think about your purchase and what it has to offer the child who will receive the gift. Is the gift educational and does it make learning fun? Does the gift stimulate the imagination of the child? Will the gift promote physical fitness? We will look at all of these choices and more for selecting the right gift for a child.  

Educational toys - We're not talking reciting the capitals of the all states or mathematical flashcards here. (although they do have their place in a child's development) When Christmas shopping for kids, consider board games, puzzles or crafts. Board games typically need more than one person to play and help develop social skills and strategy. Puzzles develop spatial and analyzing skills such as your traditional table puzzle or the Rubik cube. Crafts go beyond reading, writing or arithmetic. They can teach about a subject through exploration and hands on techniques such as building model airplanes, quilting, collecting gems or stones.  

Toys that spur the imagination - These toys will keep a child occupied for hours. Gifts such as building sets will let a child construct cranes, buildings, or rocket ships. The best part is when they have finished one project; they can tear it down and build another with endless possibilities.  Medieval, superman, cowboy or princess costumes encourage a child to play act and exercise their imagination every time they dress up. Finger paints, chalks and colored pencils help stimulate the young artists of the world. There are no bounds for a child with a paintbrush or piece of chalk in his hand.

Toys that promote fitness - There is a huge selection of toys that promote physical fitness and keep kids occupied for hours. Bicycles are the first to come to mind. They provide some independence for the child and keep them physically active. There are sleds for winter fun and wagons for summer fun. A basketball, soccer ball or football never goes to waste and encourages team cooperation and companionship. Give a jump rope to a group of children and watch them play all day.

Safety first

The final thing to consider is safety issues when Christmas shopping for kids. Again, gift choices should be age appropriate. Use common sense such as not giving small toys, puzzle pieces or marbles to kids younger than three. Consider potential fire hazards or risk of shock. Include a helmet purchase with a bicycle or scooter for a child. Let them enjoy your gifts and keep them safe at the same time!  

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