By Naira Ruiz
Have you ever given a gift to a small child but soon discovered they were more fascinated by the wrapping paper or box the gift came in, than the gift itself? If so, you’re not alone. Almost every parent has a story like this. That’s because small children can be notoriously finicky when it comes to toys.
Over the years, I’ve learned that high-tech or expensive toys aren’t necessarily the best toys. Good toys, the ones kids cherish, engage their natural curiosity without feeling too obviously educational. As one wise blogger at Babble put it, if a toy “screams ‘this is for learning’” it feels too much like school and that can turn a child off.
But don’t fret! If you’re determined to buy something that a child will actually play with, I’ve got you covered. Here are five simple gifts that are sure to spark a kid’s imagination.
1.) A Wooden Teleidoscope (for ages 9 and up)
Teleidoscopes allow you to see the world around you as though it were an intricate quilt or creative work of art. Unlike kaleidoscopes, teleidoscopes use objects outside the instrument to form patterns. This means the possible visual effects are endless.
For example, see how a teleidoscope transforms a crosswalk and my face into quilted patterns.
But what truly makes this wooden teleidoscope so special is that not only is it fun to play with, it’s also gorgeously designed. Older children will be able to treasure this gift into adulthood.
You can find a wide range of teleidoscopes in our stores or click here to check out the kaleidoscope and teleidoscope section on our website.
2.) Stack and Scare Wood Block Set (for ages 3 and up)
The traditional wood block set gets a quirky spin with this stackable monster set. It’s crafted from sustainable basswood and printed with non-toxic inks. Children can mix and match shapes to create numerous creature combinations.
You can find the Charlie Monster Block Set here and the Rodney Monster Block Set here.
3.) I Can Dance /I Can Play Board Books (for ages 2 and up)
Parents who are just beginning to read stories to their small children will appreciate this interactive board book. Using the holes (which are on every page), little kids will get a hoot out of making dancers tap and athletes sprint just by wiggling their fingers.
You can find both books in our stores. Click here to see which store is closest to you.
4.) Walnut Shape Stacker (for toddlers)
This beautiful, handcrafted, developmental toy will provide a baby or toddler with hours of fun as they work on their fine and gross motor skills. The different shapes and types of wood encourage shape and color recognition.