I've said before that the best gifts are gifts of experiences. So rather than adding another toy to the pile this year, give the children in your life special treats of time and attention, like family movies packs, passes to your local children's museum, or one-on-one day with grandma at the park or zoo.
But everybody likes to unwrap a present from time to time - and a minimal amount of toys is a healthy part of any child's life. So...what are the best toys for little ones? Items that inspire imagination and creativity.
Look for gifts that:
- can become many things in the child's play.
- encourage independent thought.
- store and travel easily.
Stay away from:
- branded toys.
- electronic toys.
- toys that have many pieces.
- very large, space-consuming toys.
For example, instead of a Disney costume, choose a simple accessory like a wand. Elaborate toys do all of the "work" for kids. It's healthier and more fun for kids to use their imagination. Your nephews don't need a play castle when they can build a fort out of the sofa cushions.
Food gifts are fun, too - if it's a package of special treats for Mom and Dad to dole out appropriately over time - and if you choose well, it won't hang around the house forever collecting dust!