For the moment, I want to pretend that all the soul fracturing elements of Christmas and giving are placed in a cryogenic holding cell. That is, I don’t want to think about some of the tensions that Madelene so poignantly describes in her editorial – the connections between love and giving, sales, commercialism, traditions, expectations, and everything else. No, I’ll deal with that later.
Here are some of the reasons I think it’s so dang easy to purchase toys for tots.
1. Toddlers Need Toys. Famous child psychologist Jean Piaget said it best – “Play is the work of Childhood.” Play gives children the tools for solving problems, spatial and motor skills, and improving language skills. When it’s done with others – plenty of time to solve social conundrums like sharing, bargaining, and turn taking. Toys, whether its a doll, block, stick, or pot all facilitate learning. You don’t have to ask whether or not a kid needs a toy – they do. And it doesn’t even have to be new. You can organize toy swaps or rotate through your old toys when the ones have gotten tiresome.
2. Toddlers aren’t swayed by the idea of what’s cool. Wooden toys are popular among my socioeconomic class – Melissa and Doug are seriously cleaning up amongst this demographic. But, my toddler doesn’t care. He doesn’t care if you give him the most hideous plastic piece of junk, even if it’s broken, he’ll still use it and learn from it. Seriously, he played with a broken sand toy from the beach for a week before I finally got rid of it.
3. Toddlers have no expectations. My 18 month old doesn’t “get” Christmas. He has no idea why mommy and daddy have long conversations over dinner about “traditions” and what a “good gift idea” is for his auntie. He could not care less what I get him, (though he might prefer something with wheels.) In fact, if he doesn’t get anything for Christmas, he won’t care about that either, he’s happy with the trucks and crayons he already has.
4. Toddlers don’t equate gifts with love, or anything else. Sure, you gave them a gift, so what? There’s no sense of obligation for them to reply with anything (though probably, you should emphasize a little ‘thank you’ as you try and socialize that kid into some kind of semblance of a fully functioning member of society.) They’re already off with the toy enjoying themselves and having a fun time.
But because you probably want to know, what ARE some good ideas for toddler gifts?
I’m a huge fan of MamaOT – a blog devoted to tips and tricks for those who care for children – and I think she’s compiled a fabulous list of gifts for children.
Here are a few of them I was already getting my son. (Shh, don’t tell him.) – For the full list or recommendations by Mama OT, go Here.
1. Melissa and Doug Stacking Train – Not to brag or anything, but I got this for free at a drop-off at my church. For FREE people!
2. Potato Head (they’re selling a simple version of this at the Family Dollar, $4 for one set of removeable features each.)
3. Books. Specifically truck books. Lots and lots of truck books.
What will you be getting your toddler for Christmas this year? Got any other suggestions?