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Children get gifts about 4 times a year, most often from multiple people each time. Christmas, Birthday, Valentine’s Day, and Easter are all holidays a child is usually given gifts. Add in any odds and ends gifts, and your child will have more gifts that they can count. I have included a list of gifts not to get kids, and some suggestions to get kids instead! This list is directed towards younger children, but the same advice could be applied to older children as well.
Valentine’s Day has come and passed and I was left going through the box of goodies he received. I needed to find new homes for each of these new gifts. He received a ton of pencils, what equated out to be a bag full of candy, and some stuffed animals!
These gifts got me thinking about what gifts I wish were not given to my children. This may sound snobbish and people may think, ‘just be thankful for what you’re given’, but take this list as suggestions on giving kids the best gifts that they will enjoy! Kind of a Buy This, Not This type of list!
Here are the gift ideas NOT to get a child (and suggestions to get instead)
1. Stuffed Animals!!
Stuffed animals are, by far, the gift that is given way too much! They’re cute and adorable, but kids receive so many of these things! Unless the stuffed animal is from Build-A-Bear, you should not give a stuffed animal!! I know stuffed animals are inexpensive, so if price is the issue, you can get something else for around the same price, if not cheaper
Buy this instead: Get them a Build-a-Bear gift card (if there’s a Build-A-Bear location in their area) so the child can go to the store and make their stuffed animals. Build-A-Bear is interactive for the children where the child can put a heart in their animal as their animal is getting stuffed. Give their animal a “bath”. Pick out clothes and name their animal.
My son has a few build-a-bear animals that he enjoys and plays with way more than any other stuffed animal he has received. Build-A-Bear has a wide variety of price ranges. You could even make a “date” with the child to go with them to use their gift card so you are a part of their experience.
2. Loud toys that can’t be turned down.
Toys that make noise are great and catches the eyes of little ones. It’s great for them to interact with. But if a toy can’t be turned down, a young infant may become scared or overstimulated by this toy. Many toys these days have the option of a volume level, but some don’t. While deciding on a toy, look for a volume switch. They usually look like this…
If you can’t locate a volume button, check the packaging, or skip it all together (unless specifically asked for). The parents will thank you as well, for skipping a gift that is super loud!
Buy this instead: Toys that have the switch that’s shown in the picture above! This will ensure that children won’t become overstimulated by the sound and it won’t drive the parents crazy!
3. Toys they can grow into (unless it’s for an infant)
Legos are a perfect example of this. If a child is 3, get the legos that are appropriate for their age group. The little legos that are intended for older kids will frustrate them because their little hands can’t get them to work! The exception to this is for infants. Infants grow and develop so quickly, that they’ll grow into a toy within a few months!
If a child is 6 and likes bracelets, don’t necessarily think that bracelet kit at Target is perfect if the age range is 8-12-year-olds! A child can get easily frustrated with the toy if they can’t get it to work properly.
Whenever shopping for a child, I always keep in mind the age group I’m looking for. I don’t know if the parents will always be available to help the child play with the toy, so I make sure I get something that can be played with on their own.
Buy this instead: If you’re having issues getting ideas, look on Amazon.com (I have this linked to their toy page) where you can search for toys by age ranges. This will help you get ideas for gifts in the age range you are looking for.
4. Crayons/Markers/Pencils (unless specifically asked for)
Kids get a ton of these! We have our craft area overflowing with crayons, markers, and pencils! Unless I say my child could use some more of these, don’t get them! They’ll just join the pile of already overflowing coloring supplies!
Buy this instead: Play-doh! Play-doh is a great gift for young kids to play with and since it dries out so quickly, having extra available is always welcome! It is pretty inexpensive also! You don’t have to get the whole play doh kits either! A jar or two is sufficient enough!
5. Candy Galore!
For Valentine’s Day, my child received a piece of candy from each of his classmates, candy from Grandparents, and candy from us. When I put it all in one place, there was too much to eat and now it’s in a bag in the pantry. For Christmas, it was the same thing. He received so much candy, even an entire package of candy canes!
Buy this instead: Get small packages of snack items that a child can bring to school as a snack or pack for lunch! There’s always holiday snack packages available if you want to stick with the holiday theme!
If your child does receive an insane amount of candy, check out this article for ideas to use up the candy instead of eating it all!
6. Something they can’t use/play with (It sits on a shelf)
Older teenagers might appreciate these types of gifts, but younger kids want things they can use! Something that sits on a shelf, isn’t any fun for children. If you want to make sure a child enjoys their gift, get them something they can interact with.
Buy this instead: Get a toy they can interact with, design, or put together. A puzzle, a coloring kit, or painting kit where the child can paint something, or color a water bottle would be interactive for the child, and the child can use it afterward!
Click the link to get more details about what I am talking about.
7. A specific movie/character toy, unless you know for sure the child is into this movie/character!
If a child receives a bunch of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys without having an interest in those characters, the toy isn’t worth getting. Make sure the child is interested in the character before buying a popular movie character that is available in stores. A child may not care for that movie/character and not want to play with the toy.
Buy this instead: It’s best to ask the parents what characters/movies the child is into. Right now, Trolls is pretty popular in our house, but just last month, it was The Secret Life of Pets. Kids outgrow movie interest quickly! Or anticipate what’s to come. Check to see upcoming movie releases for kids.
8. Clothes without a gift receipt
If you give clothes, give a gift receipt! Children may not be the size you thought they were. They may not like the style you got, or they may not like the color. I know children who don’t enjoy wearing jeans. My child doesn’t like wearing pants that have a zipper and button. I know you mean well with clothes since all kids need clothes, but include gift receipts!
Buy this instead: Clothes are fine as long as there is a gift receipt included. Including a gift card to a popular kid’s clothing store would be fine too! Gymboree has good quality clothes for infants up to young children. Check out their clothes selection here. They quite often have clothes on sale!
9. A toy that takes up a lot of space (unless asked for)
Leave it to the parents to choose if they want a toy that takes up a ton of space or not!
Buy this instead: If you want to get a race track, consider Magic Tracks. Magic tracks can be rolled up when not in use and stored away. If you want to get a dollhouse, consider these magnetic building sets. The child can build it themselves, tear it down, and then rebuild and redesign!
10. Stuffed Animals!! (Seriously, I listed this twice because you need to rethink any purchase of a stuffed animal!)
Put the stuffed animal right back on the shelf! Don’t purchase it! I guarantee the child has more than enough stuffed animals around! They don’t need to add any others to their collection because it looks so cute!
Buy this instead: Books! Buy an age appropriate book for the child instead! Better yet, purchase a personalized book from I See Me! Kids have enough toys anyway, but if a child reads a book a day, they go through so many books! Buy them your favorite book as a child and tell them why you loved the book.
Bonus idea to get a child: Pay for an experience for a child! Local water parks, theme parks, museums, are great examples!
Or you could offer to pay a month of lessons the child is into! Kids get so many toys! It’s okay to skip the toys and offer something else!
If a parent gives you suggestions, stick with those suggestions! They gave you them for a reason. Just like a baby registry or wedding registry, there’s a reason they put something on the list! Stick to what is wanted/needed!
Homemade gifts are great also if you have the talent to make something! But not everyone is blessed with talent like that!
There you have it. Gifts to avoid getting for children and other gift suggestions when you don’t know what to get!