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Age-Appropriate Gift Suggestions for Kids

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The following suggestions are guaranteed child-pleasers. Send this list to a grandparent who would appreciate suggestions.

For infants:

Clutch ball, mobile (make sure it is bright and colorful when viewed from underneath), rubber teethers, plastic key ring, stuffed toy with nothing that can be pulled off, plastic dish set for the near future.

Toddlers:

Push toys, blocks, floppy stuffed animals, balls, shape sorters.

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Two to three year olds:

Nesting cubes, appliance box with doors and windows cut in it, box of adhesive bandages, real flashlight and extra D-cell batteries, collection of improvised bath toys (plastic funnel, turkey baster, empty shampoo bottle, plastic measuring cups and spoons), pull toys, riding toys, wooden stringing beads, blocks, stacking toys, trucks and cars, soft dolls, large-size plastic building blocks, wooden puzzles, modeling clay, picture books.

Four to six year olds:

Piggy bank with starter coins, deck of cards, homemade balance beam, old suitcase filled with play clothes (veils, scarves, hats, high heels, dress-up clothes), old costume jewelry in a jewelry box (check out garage sales), banner with the child's name on it, rubber stamp with child's name, office supplies in a homemade executive kit (scotch tape, stapler, hole punch, notepads), pad lock with keys, puzzles (up to 100 pieces), simple board games, records, books, blank cassettes and a tape recorder.

Six to twelve year olds:

Magnifying glass, set of magnets, real harmonica, slinky, real stethoscope (only about $15.00 at a medical supply store and a great gift), art supplies (check at an office supply store), bird feeder and supply of feed, sewing kit, personalized return address labels, personalized stationery, puzzles, books, records, head phones, jam boxes, magazine subscriptions, calendar, scrapbook, diary, picture postcards, aquarium, hand-held calculator, digital watch, simple camera and film, coin or collecting album.

Young Teens:

Ticket to a favorite sporting event, book of movie tickets, telephone credit, credit at a book store, credit at a record store, lessons of some kind (photography, music, cooking, etc.), blank book for a journal, book on drawing with pencils and art paper included, calligraphy pen and instruction book, dictionary, stationery, sports equipment, money.

Older Teens:

Money, gift certificates, cashiers check.

Give a Family Gift Instead

Sometimes it is easier to buy one gift for the whole family. Inexpensive gifts include: two decks of cards and a book of card game rules, classic board game (find out what they have first), 500 piece jigsaw puzzle, badminton set, magazine subscription (National Geographic?), globe, or atlas.

Guidelines for Grandparents

There are a few guidelines worth remembering when buying gifts for your grandchildren:

  1. You will never buy a child's love with gifts. The more gifts you give, the more they will expect. A child can appreciate one simple gift and associate that gift with the giver.
  2. Beware of advertised gifts. The most appreciated and loved gifts are seldom the ones that appear in the ads. Children enjoy toys that require kid action. Adults enjoy looking at toys and are often seduced by store displays and TV commercials. Kids want a toy they can play with.
  3. Check with parents before purchasing a gift. Parents can often tell you exactly how to please a grandchild with a special gift. Parents' wishes should also be respected when it comes to toys that are not allowed for one reason or another.
  4. A gift of time is the best present you can give. A coupon for time alone with a grandparent is a wonderful gift. Grandchildren may forget the presents you give from year to year, but they will remember always the things you do together. Grandparents ARE a gift.
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