Merry Christmas! As you read today's column, you probably have finished most of your preparations for your celebration. The gifts are wrapped and under the tree, (or hidden away for that special Christmas moment in your family's tradition).
When the little ones in your family open gifts take some time to observe what grabs their immediate attention. After the Christmas season is over, observe what toys and activities have long lasting play and learn value. These observations will help you the next time you shop for a child's gift.
Today, I would like to share my thoughts about gifts that have long lasting value. Some presents are appealing to young children because they have seen advertisements on television. We all know how seductive television advertising is for children and adults. However, when the shiny, colorful package has been ripped off and added to the landfill, what remains behind is sometimes a toy with limited creative or educational value. These kinds of gifts will soon join their packaging material in the trash or live in the back of a closet until the young child grows up and moves out of their room.
The toys that will stick around and are always out on the living room floor are the ones that help children imagine and create their own play. They are the books that are read and read again until they are outgrown and stored to be handed down as precious treasures to the next generation. They are the blocks that can be stacked and lined up to create bridges and buildings and forts. They are the puzzles that challenge children to solve the picture faster and faster. They are the one doll or one teddy bear whose hair gets pulled off and whose ear has been lovingly chewed.
What gift is your child playing with over and over again in the months following Christmas? Knowing the answer and understanding how children grow and learn will help you make a good choice the next time.