Ideas for Celebrating Safe Toys and Gifts Month This December
Christmas is fast approaching and, as they say, this season is for children. And while it can be fun to look at and buy all the colorful toys for the little ones, it’s also easy to get carried away and forget about safety and age-appropriateness of toys. That’s why the month of December is dedicated to celebrating Safe Toys and Gifts month.
So before you shop away, make sure to check things like small and removable parts, sharp points and edges, secure battery compartments, materials and ingredients, and American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) certifications.
Clothes and Christmas treats like candy are always good gifts for kids, but if the children you’re shopping for are more interested in toys (which, let’s admit, most of them are), here are some ideas you should consider.
Washable Plush Toys
Plushies are among the most popular gifts that you can give to children of all ages and genders. They are made in various forms, although the most common are animals and cartoon characters. The different textures of the fabrics used to make these toys, like terry cloth and felt, can help with sensory-motor play with infants. Older children, on the other hand, may use these toys for role playing.
Plush toys for children should not only be washable but also free of lead-based paint. It’s also best to avoid toys with components like plastic eyes and noses, whether stitched-on or glued, as these can be removed unintentionally. If at all possible, choose plushies that are made entirely out of fabric.
Customized wristbands for children are not only safe (make sure to ask your supplier for latex-free silicone ones), they will also last for a very long time as these bracelets are quite durable. You can also add extra features like DEET-free mosquito repellants, perfect for kids who love to play outdoors.
They are also multi-purpose accessories: apart from using them as standard bracelets, silicone wristbands can also be used as educational implements to teach younger children different colors, letters, and words (hint: give a ROYGBIV set with the names of the colors embossed or printed on the wristband), and even how to spell their own names.
Non-Toxic Art Materials
Artistic talent can show up at an early age. Encourage young creators to produce works of art by gifting them with non-toxic art materials. There are modeling clays made with flour and natural plant oils, for example, crayons made from beeswax, and paints made with fruit, flower, vegetable extracts like carrot, red cabbage, annatto seeds, and more. The colors may not be as vibrant and the price may be a bit more expensive compared to those made with artificial chemicals, but it’s better to buy these non-toxic supplies especially for children who have a tendency to bite or chew on whatever they can get their hands on.
These toys not only help develop spatial reasoning, they also cultivate creativity and imagination. Depending on the age of the child you’re giving them to, there are a wide variety of choices for these building blocks. However, apart from really young children who do need to be given large blocks that they can’t swallow, these toys stand the test of time.
Another benefit of giving building blocks is that you can technically give the same gift the following year. You can either add to an existing collection of generic blocks, for example, or buy a themed set.
Not only are they fun to play with friends and family, board games are also educational and helps develop and master skills like color and shape recognition, rudimentary math, basic reading, and hand-eye coordination. Board games also teach and hone social skills like teamwork, verbal communication and sharing. For kids who have short attention spans, board games may also help teach focus.
Kids aged 4 and below may not be as interested in board games, but you can always try “junior” versions of the classics like Monopoly, Scrabble, and Boggle. You can also try games with simpler concepts like Twister and Jenga so as not to confuse young children with too many rules.
Buying gifts for children may be difficult, especially if you’re doing it for the first time. Just remember that all kids have one thing in common: they want to have fun, and new toys will surely bring that much needed holiday cheer. Happy shopping!