It’s 3 days before your child’s birthday, and you haven’t done any birthday gift shopping yet. You know they’re expecting something, but they also haven’t told you anything they really need yet.
What do you do?
If you’re like most people (including myself) you hit your nearest store or head to Amazon to throw a few things in your physical or online cart without much thought.
But you know what’s really going to happen with that cart full of ‘things’…
They’re going to create clutter and collect dust somewhere in your home, without getting the love and attention they deserve.
Now, why is that?
Maybe it’s because your child already has plenty of toys to play with? Maybe it’s because they just don’t feel attached to those things? Maybe it’s both!
Gift-giving can be a tricky topic. With all the aisles of toys upon toys in every store, it can be overwhelming to try to choose intentional gifts.
So I put together a few simple questions to ask yourself the next time you’re looking to purchase a gift for your child (plus a gift idea list) that will help you choose gifts with education and intentional at heart!
HELP YOUR KIDS LEARN, CREATE, GROW, & SUCCEED WITH INTENTIONAL GIFTS
Some of these questions double-dip as not every question will apply to every toy or gift! The point is to make sure the item you choose serves a bigger purpose than to just live in your home and take up space!
Make sure it means something or provides something that otherwise would be lacking!
WHAT PURPOSE DOES IT SERVE?
This is an easy question to ask. What it the gift’s purpose? It is educational? Does it clothe them? Will it help them become more analytical?
A variety of gifts can serve a variety of purposes. Just make sure the item you choose serves a bigger purpose in your child’s growth and development.
WILL IT MAKE THEM THINK OR HELP THEM IMAGINE?
This is one of my favorite questions to ask. Again, a lot of toys or games can help your child think, but the key is to ask the question in relation to your child!
Will the toy or item you choose for them help them create or experiment with imaginative play? Will it teach them a new educational lesson like a science experiment or how to make something?
Will it get those wheels turning?
My daughter, in particular, loves imagining and creating. She gets so excited about arts and crafts and dress-up, so those are always a good go-to for us in this category.
IS IT SOMETHING THEY’LL BECOME ATTACHED TO?
Will they love it? Will they learn how to nurture from it? This might apply to something like a stuffed animal, doll, or action figure. For some children, these items might just take up space while for others, they’ll learn valuable life lessons like how to love, cope, nurture, and manage emotions!
Ask yourself if your child will benefit on a deeper level with this toy before you make the purchase! It’s easy to end up with boxes and bins full of under-loved stuffed animals (trust me!).
WILL IT TEACH THEM ANYTHING?
This is a bit of a repeat with the other questions, but it’s also important to ask if they will learn anything from the toy!
Will it teach them how to act socially? Will they learn about a musical instrument? Will they discover how to create or do something new? Will it challenge them and teach them patience and understanding in the process?
This could be answered in a variety of different ways, but in my opinion, it’s important that every gift teaches a lesson.
DOES IT MEET A NEED?
The last category I’ll talk about today — does it meet a need? An item might not check off the last few boxes but it might meet a need your child has.
Clothing and shoes, for example, is a good one for this category! I don’t like to buy new outfits just to buy new outfits, but if your child is outgrowing their current closet, this is an important one!
Same with things like school — do they need a new lunchbox? Something for a sport or activity they’re in? Those are great gift ideas! Remember — meeting your child’s needs is an incredible gift, always. Needs should always be greater than wants.
If you need a few examples, here are things I love to shop for…
- Books that teach bigger lessons
- Arts & crafts
- Musical instruments and/or lessons
- Sport or activity lessons (and gear)
- Tickets or days at the children’s museum, zoo, aquarium, etc.
- Clothing and shoes as they become a need
- Search & finds
- Dress-up clothes or occupational kits (like doctor or vet kits)
- Dolls and accessories
- Bedding as it becomes a need
- Outdoor toys and games
- Science experiments
Things I like to avoid…
- Video games
- Plastic figurines
- Stuffed animals that won’t be loved
- Toys that don’t serve a purpose or just take up space
- Anything I know my child will not learn and grow from
EVERY CHILD IS DIFFERENT
Remember, your child is different from my child! Something that helps my child grow may not help your child grow. And that’s okay!
By shopping intentionally and asking yourself the questions above with your child in mind, you’ll be able to start pinpointing what your child truly wants, needs, and loves.
This isn’t a foolproof system. It’s just a way to make sure you’re asking more questions to make sure you’re shopping with intention instead of just falling into the consumer mindset.
Toys that will help your child learn, grow, and succeed in life by teaching them greater concepts and lessons will never feel like they’re just taking up space!
What’s your favorite kind of gift to purchase for kids? Let me know in the comments!