Is your house overflowing with toys? Read on for some ideas on what else you can buy for your children.
It's a week to your child's birthday and you're walking down the aisles of Toys R Us trying to find a gift.You can't seem to decide on what to buy because your child seems to have just about everything that you set your eyes on. It then dawns on you that your child has too many toys!
Christmas is coming and you decide to go on a massive spring cleaning mission. You clear out unused books, clothes and toys and find yourself staring at a few huge thrash bags worth of toys that will now be handed over to the Salvation Army. Again it dawns on you - your children have way too many toys!
Then you ask yourself, what else could I have bought my kids? Well, there are a world of options out there and parents must remember that children value experiences and memories more than they do material possessions.
It's all about those moments that you spend lying on the bed with your feet resting up against the wall, when you get silly and play in the rain, when you share an ice-cream and make a huge mess. It's about getting silly and making memories. Spend your money on making these memories and guarding these memories.
What having too many toys does to children
Don't get me wrong, I'm not advocating that you shouldn't buy toys. Toys are of course important for educating your child, opening their eyes to the world of play and of course bringing out their creativity. Children end up with too many toys because they wants toys, they need toys, they think that they can't live without toys.
But life shouldn't revolve around toys. Children shouldn't grow up constantly wanting more toys and showing off their toys to their friends. Playdates shouldn't be all about toys, Christmas shouldn't be all about toys.
We need our children to understand that while they are blessed to have too many toys, there's so much more to giving than toys. There are many other things that they can be given, that they should learn to appreciate.
If not toys then what?
In a nutshell, give children something that creates a memory. Here are some ideas.
There are many ways you can use pictures to create a memorable gift. You could create a scrapbook or a photo album that chronicles all the important happenings of the year. Like a book of all their firsts, of their happy moments, funny moments, you get the drift. If your child is old enough to read, include some simple, heartfelt, handwritten messages.
Someday they will get bored of having too many toys but they will cherish these memories for a lifetime.
Create a blanket, or pillowcase with a picture on it. Cuddling up will have new meaning.
Photo mugs, calendars and water bottles are other great ways to use photographs to create a memorable gift that you can talk about.
Art & Craft Materials
This is a great way to keep children engaged and to ignite their creative senses. Parents might initially cringe at the idea of the impending mess, but they will embrace the idea eventually. It will keep their children occupied and their kids will have a nice piece of art for keep sakes.
Books, Puzzles and Board Games
You can have too many toys but you can never have too many books. Books should be a child's best friend and I don't even need to explain to you the myriad of benefits that come along with reading. If you can, try to get them personalised books, children absolutely love them!
Apart from reading, puzzles and board games make great gifts too. These also encourage sharing among siblings and parents will be very grateful to you for finding something that keeps their kids collectively out of their hair!
Remember what I said about making memories? Like books, one can have too many toys but never too many memories. Spend your money purposefully on tickets to an amusement park, Universal Studios, a carnival, a play or concert, a drama, or anything that you think the child will enjoy. Take them out and make it a special day that they will never fail to write when their teacher asks them to write about a memorable day that they had!
Well this is not a gift passé but if you plan it out, pack their favourite food, choose a location that they like and invite a few friends, it's something they will cherish for many years to come. I'm sure you remember how much we all loved picnics when we were young!
Children love to play dress up and they can never quite get enough of it. They want to be pirates, princesses, superheroes and Harry Potter, all at once! If they already have too many toys, why not get them costumes instead? Let them pretend play whoever they want to be. Here's an added bonus - unleash their inner creativity by asking them to make their own props!
Planners / Calendars
Did you know that there are planners designed specially for children? These are really fun and you can plan activities, track their progress for whatever they are learning, reward good behaviour with stickers and also record when they do something wrong.
It's never early to introduce a child to the idea of planning and this would make a wonderful gift!
Other than these, you can also consider things like enrichment classes, gym memberships, gift cards and so much more.
A Singaporean dad even suggested a good insurance plan - insurance and investment is possibly the most important gift you could present a child with!
Don't say we didn't give you ideas!
Source: Your Modern Family
Republished with permission from: theAsianParent Singapore