Christmas is just around the corner and despite those promises you made to yourself last year you have once again left it to the last minute to organise your children’s gifts.
Somewhere between now and when the shops close on December 24 you will jump in your car and race to the toy section of your favourite store where you will be overwhelmed by the sea of the latest ‘must have’ toys.
The fact that this article caught your attention suggests that you are genuinely interested in doing the best for your child. You worry about the consequences of not buying the full series of “brainiac” dvd’s, electronic learning devices and over-priced brightly coloured plastic developmental toys, that you know will end up at the bottom of the toy box with all of those previous ‘must have’ purchases.
Stop! Take a deep breath and slow down for just a minute. These five tips will help you choose the perfect gift for your child this Christmas
- Try to avoid ‘over-entertaining’Children today can take part in an endless variety of activities. From computer games to piano lessons, and from soccer practice to karate, there is no shortage of skills for kids to learn. However, children also need regular playtime that is not focused on structure, skill building or electronics. While those things are all good for children, too much can crowd out the kind of play that is essential for developing one of the most amazing gifts of childhood: imagination.There is a bewildering array of toys that have enough buttons and lights to fill a modern spaceship…. They will certainly entertain for a moment but will they actually teach your child anything or just stifle their creativity?Remember the freedom of wind rushing through you hair as you rode for the first time or the joy of kicking the unattainable goal . The favourite story read everynight at bedtime by a mum who smelled of talcum powder…or the story made scary by a crazy uncle with a torch under his chin once a year when he visited.
These kind of memories could be from the 1930s or 2007 and are all from presents that do not have bells, whistles and automated laughs.
- Less is the new moreThere is no question that kids today are benefiting materially from recent economic boom times. Frequently, parents shower their kids with gifts and attention, bending over backward so everything is perfect for their children. Children who are given so much without having to work for it acquire a sense of entitlement and may not develop a work ethic, which they will need later in life.One well considered, age appropriate present is better than 50 cheap trinkets that are broken by the end of the first week.
- Think GreenYour children and your children’s children will inherit the world that we create today, so purchase decisions we make now should have a ‘green’ consideration. Look for products which are sustainably resourced, have long term appeal and have environmentally friendly packaging/components (unlike batteries).Some toys now also have a carbon offset such as trees planted for each product sold or a degree of the toy manufacture carbon offset.There’s no greater time than now to start teaching your child about more being more sustainable. Look for gifts that are safe, green and healthy!
- Stoke the fire of adventureChildren are naturally curious, and the more that you indulge this curiosity, the better.Look for play things that encourage your young ones to get outdoors, get exercise and provide them with the opportunities to explore their urban and natural environments. Your fondest memories of childhood are probably being covered in mud at the local river or wet through from water bombs. Priceless memories from simple play.
- Quality not QuantityLook for play things that are going to last, that will bring as much joy to your second or third child, or your child’s children and will teach your child about the value of treasured items.These gifts need to be simple in design with universal appeal to ensure their longevity.Think of all the typical kids’ items you see on the side of the road when it is rubbish pick up time and try to avoid purchasing them … for it’s an easy guess where your kid’s will end up eventually too!
A gift that gets a big tick for all of the above 5 points is the Tike wooden balance bike. It is the perfect combination of simplicity, exhilaration and sustainability.
The Tike is a wooden bike without pedals, designed for pre school age children to master balance, steering and motor skills beyond their years. Tots can now experience the exhilaration and freedom of a bike on a Tike
- Walk, ride then glide…. tike develops with your child
- Exhilarating fun for 2 – 6 year olds
- Develops balance and coordination
- Learn to ride without trainer wheels
- Naturally beautiful
- The Tike is made from plantation European Birch.
- For every Tike sold a tree is planted in support of www.carbonneutral.com
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