The following guidelines should be followed for giving gifts to other people’s children. To those of you with children, these guidelines may seem obvious. But just think, there are people without small children, people who don’t have a section of their brains dedicated to scanning the ground for choking hazards as they walk through a room. These people may need help, and we here at the Toy Reporter feel it’s our duty to help educate them.
Avoid Small Parts
Kids do love to play with small items sized for small fingers. Yes, we know many 6 year old girls that would LOVE Polly Pockets, and many 5 year old boys would love Lego Sets (And vice versa). But their 1 year old brother is just going to eat them and nothing good can come of that. The same rules apply to 4 year old’s for different reasons. They may not eat the toys, but they aren’t really old enough to understand picking up after themselves yet, and you’ll doom their parents to endless cleanup time. Leave the choice up to the parents if they want to clean up 50 tiny parts after the kids go to bed and get them something larger.
Magnets are SUPER fun for kids, but are one of the most dangerous swallowing hazards out there. Swallow one magnet and they’re probably ok. Swallow two and they can attach to each other from different sections in the intestines and cause major life threatening problems. You do NOT want to be the Aunt that caused little Jimmy to need major stomach surgery.
Avoid Noisy Electronics That Don’t Have an Off Switch
Once upon a time, the boys received a gift of electronic drum sticks for their birthday. They had lots of different buttons that played different drum noises when someone whacked the sticks on something. They also had the amazing quality of NOT HAVING A POWER SWITCH. They were on 100% of the time and could only be disabled by removing two screws to get at the batteries. The also had the added bonus of going off whenever a person walked near or a car drove by or a plane went overhead or someone sneezed. The friends who gifted them to us are now forever known as the “Annoying Drum Stick Givers”. You don’t want to be those people. If you buy any electronic devices that make noise, make sure they have an off switch and volume control.
Avoid Pop Culture Characters
This may seem less obvious to some, but unless you know that a child is already into a kids pop culture icon, don’t buy them Dora, Diego, Spiderman, Barbie, Pokemon, or similar items. They can spark a pop culture frenzy that some parents may prefer to avoid. It’s akin to smoking cigarettes, far easier to never start than it is to stop once you are addicted. Mommy and Daddy may never be able to get through the supermarket again without tantrums for whatever Dora branded junkfood is on the shelves. No, we’re not bitter or anything.
Avoid Pogo Sticks, avoid Roller Skates, avoid Baseball bats, avoid BB Guns, avoid Alien Slime and Silly Putty (which ruins hair and carpets), avoid Rubber Band Shooters, etc. Most of these come from experience, trust us. You don’t want to be remembered as the Aunt who broke Bobby’s arm, shot Billy’s eye out, or ruined Ashley’s long curly hair.
Avoid the High End of an Age Range
Stay with the capabilities and interests of the child’s age. Don’t give a baby toy to an toddler, or a toddler toy to a six year old. For example, the Wooden Chomp and Clack Alligator Push Toy is the single most perfect gift for any 1 year old. The age range says 1 to 4, but it’s likely less than exciting to a 4 year old.
Have any bad gift stories you’d like to share or rules of your own? Let us know what you think below!