By Chelsy Ranard
Many children are great at wanting things, so it’s not necessarily difficult to find a gift for them, no matter what their age is. In order to decide on gifts, there’s a rule about buying children something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. This ensures that their gifts are not only providing them with something they want, but that they are also meeting many of their other needs. This list takes that another step further, suggesting buying children something technological, something practical, something trendy, something educational, and something sentimental.
Our world is a technological world, with many aspects of life being taken over by technology in order to make things easier or more dynamic. The great aspect to a techy gift is that it hits the requirements of every other gift as well; it’s something they will want, something that can be practical, and something educational. A LeapPad for a child, a smart football for a preteen, or the best video editing software for the connected teenager are all gifts that will promote an interest in technology with a gift they will be thoroughly excited about.
Practical gifts walk along the same line as a gift of something they need. This doesn’t just have to be socks and gloves, it can also be something that they will get a lot of use out of, without seeing them roll their eyes after opening another pair of underwear. A practical gift for a child can be new furniture for their room, for a preteen a practical gift can be a new pair of shoes, for college aged children that may feel stressed, a yoga class is a practical gift to help them de-stress in a college environment. Practicality is in the eye of the beholder, and a practical gift can vary based on the needs of each child. .
Trends are called such for a reason – they are gifts that are super popular in the moment that may not be popular in a year. Think Furby, Heelys, and now the Hatchimal. This may be your child’s favorite gift, the one they tell their friends about and scream about even if they don’t care about it a year from now. The trendy gift tends to be paired with the “something they want” gift and not so much something practical or something they need, but that doesn’t make it less important as a gift.
The educational gift sounds like one a child might not enjoy, but you’d be surprised. For infants, many fun toys also double as a toy that teaches something like problem solving or cause and effect. Many young children love books and games that help with spelling and colors. There are computer games that help with experimentation, problem solving, critical thinking, and abstract thought for preteens and teenagers. Documentaries, nonfiction novels, or a cooking class are great educational gifts for adult children. The educational gift doesn’t have to be flash cards or an Anatomy textbook, there are plenty of interesting gifts that any child will love that will help them learn.
Gifts from the heart are arguably the best gifts for anyone. Some children may lose the sentimentality of many gifts, but the key is to appeal to what is sentimental for them, or what they will see as sentimental later on. A gift creating a memory (or sharing a memory) is a great for gift giving at any age. Gifting a memory can be an experience like taking a trip, going snorkeling, or just spending extra time together. It can be something like making a photo book for them, framing pictures to hang in their room, or putting a shadow box together for them. Each child is different, but a sentimental gift is something they can look back on years from now.
Gift giving for children is a blast, as so many kids have such big reactions to receiving them. When it comes to finding gifts perfect for the children in your life, it can be difficult to pick something for each age, but in following a few gift giving guidelines you can find something they will love. Just ask yourself what they may like that is techy, practical, trendy, educational, or sentimental. It’s not always about wants or needs, but about showing that child that they are important to you with a gift you put a lot of thought into.
Author bio: Chelsy is a writer from Montana who is now living in Idaho. She graduated with her journalism degree from the University of Montana in 2012. She enjoys volunteering with a variety of organizations, reading with a glass of wine, and playing Frisbee with her dog, Titan. Follow her on Twitter!