What is better than the look of bursting excitement on a child’s face when you surprise them with the perfect gift? Regardless of what age they are, the pure excitement of a child receiving a gift that they can engage with in play is truly one of life’s greatest pleasures. I often get asked for advice on choosing birthday gifts and whilst one might think buying a toy is easy, buying a high value toy can actually be rather tricky. Here are 6 tips to consider with your next toy gift purchase:


1. Ask for the gift registries 

A gift register for birthday parties is a great way to give meaningful and wanted gifts. Some parents prefer certain types or brands of toys and therefore it is always wise to ask. 


2. Choose age appropriate toys 

Curious school-going kids, active toddlers and babies just learning to crawl all require different types of toys. Most toy packaging has ages indicated on them, use this as a guideline but do not be limited by this. The age indication on toys is mainly done as a safety precaution as certain toys may contain smaller parts that present a choking hazard. There are many toys that have labels for older children, that with the right level of supervision and guidance can help younger children learn. It is therefore important to use your own discretion on the level of supervision needed and the potential benefits that different toys could offer your kids. Still unsure? Why not ask Tiny Tree Toys’ experts for some advice?


3. Make sure it is not “just a toy”

Choose a toy that adds educational value. A toy that helps the child to learn and explore new things in a playful way.  Gifting a toy that has an added educational purpose will give them confidence in their abilities and challenge them to think critically through problem solving as they play. Educational toys that grow with your child will support different learning outcomes as the child grows and develops. These learning outcomes  will also provide the opportunity to challenge your child to explore the next steps in their physical and menthol development.


4. Wooden Toys 

Don’t you just love the look and feel of wooden toys? Bringing nature into your home in a playful way.  Wooden toys provide a better tactile experience which fosters the connection with the world around us. The sustainability of wooden toys provides us the opportunity  to teach children about recyclability, single use items and landfills.


5. Open-Ended Toys

Open-ended toys give you  the opportunity to use said toy in a variety of ways. It  provides more opportunities for children to engage in critical thinking and problem-solving. Select toys that can be used in a variety of ways to trigger their changing imaginations, creativity, and play.


6. Who is going to play?

Take into consideration, who is going to play?  As important as it is for parents to engage with their children, it's also equally important for kids to be able to play by themselves. 

When choosing a toy you need to take into account whether  parent assistance is needed and also how much time from the parent is needed for guidance. Realistically  parents are not always available to play for extended periods of time but do consider the impact of siblings and multiple player toys. 

March 11, 2023 — Ezette Fourie