What are the best gifts for grandchildren? How do we choose them? How do we know what they really want? Or, what they might enjoy?
Sometimes it can be a real headache. Right?
We have to consider if the gift is too expensive (parents usually don’t want to spoil the kids), too cheap, something they like, is it safe….?
So how do we choose?
We all love seeing our grandchildren. Whether they are playing, talking with us, playing a game with us, or going to sleep as we read to them. they are a Joy!
And, we like to get them stuff. Not just for Birthdays and Christmas or Hanukah, but just because. Right?
But, buying gifts for grandchildren can be a bit complicated sometimes. Don’t you agree?
Some parents think we are spoiling them ( we are, and we should, that’s our job….), or that expectations are attached, that the gifts are too expensive….
To avoid any of these pitfalls, and still get gifts for grandchildren that they really like, here are a few ideas that should help:
Besides having all too many choices, one of the things we need to be careful of is not choosing gifts for grandchildren that Mom and Dad don’t want their kids to have, or, that they think are inappropriate.
An outrageous example of that is buying a pony for a six year old. A more common example is fake weaponry for boys. Most parents don’t want to teach their child that killing others is cool. Even if they are the “bad guys”.
So, getting an OK from Mom and Dad, with any ideas we may have, can save a lot of possible upset later on.
This is a really important question when choosing gifts for grandchildren. And, again, best answered by the child herself and by Mom and Dad.
A musically inclined child might have absolutely no interest in computers and video games. An athletic child might not be at all interested in a hard cover copy of Gone With the wind.
A young girl who loves playing outside with the boys might find dolls totally terrible.
Kids will usually tell you the “coolest” new item out there. That’s about the best hint you can have in getting the best gifts for grandchildren. Again, be sure to check with Mom and Dad on it. And, for other ideas ask Mom and Dad what they see their child enjoying most: Sports? Computer Games? Music?….
Keep in mind that a child’s interests often change very quickly. The “absolutest coolest toy” of 6 months ago may not be anywhere on the child’s wish list today.
This is another very an important question when choosing gifts for grandchildren.
When we seniors get up here in years we sometimes aren’t always in the know for what toys and other gifts go with what age groups. Do you ever wonder about this? Well, don’t worry. This is an easy problem to fix.
Remember: Choosing a gift for a slightly higher age group is always better than for a lower age group. Kids get really put off if they think “This toy is for babies”. On the other hand if it’s too difficult, they will get frustrated and lose interest fast.
Most toys come marked with the age ranges right on the box. But, you can also read reviews of the toys online to see what ages the toy(s) you are looking at would be good for.
Here’s a great article from “Parents” magazine that’s very helpful in picking age appropriate toys for your grandchildren: “Age-by-Age Guide to Toys”
Do your grandchildren have too many toys?
NON TOY gifts have always been my personal favorite gifts for grandchildren.
Too many toys is an easy thing to have happen these days. No matter what the family financial status is.
Here’s a ten minute VIDEO from “Erin, The Eclectic Homeschooler” with 12 great ideas on gifts for grandchildren, which are NOT TOYS, that can help you make a very unique gift selection. Take a look:
AND: Don’t forget about books. Real paper books (not electronic ones). For those grandchildren that love to read, there is no better gift than a real book.
Asking the children what their favorite books are is the easiest way to find the right ones. And, parents will know their child’s reading interests also. So, asking is the easiest way to select the correct type of book.
You will be the outstanding Grandparents when you give a great fun and exciting gift that was never expected.
Instead of toys, video games, or other objects, how about a real life adventure they will remember?
Technology is a great thing. But, with all the technology based activities kids have these days, and all the massive computer games available, many children never get their hands (or eyes and ears) on enough actual physical activities.
A really unique gift that will not be quickly forgotten is often a gift of adventure. A place to go and something different and fun to do.
On the adventure theme, let’s talk about a trip outdoors. Into Nature.
As a kid, for me, there was nothing better than an Outdoor Trip and Adventure somewhere. These were among my most memorable gifts of all time.
I’ll always remember (and still have the photo of) the first fish I ever caught (that my Mom then cooked up). I was seven years old. The fish was only about 6 inches long. Barely three mouthfuls. But, I might as well have caught the 8 pound prize winning trout I was so proud.
Whether we want to admit it or not, we all need some time in our lives to connect with Nature. And, our planet. It leaves a most wonderful impression on our souls.
This is a miraculous place we live in. There is so much to see and discover. Plants, animals, wilderness, beaches, sunsets and sunrises, flowers and fields.… The delicious quiet stillness and soft sounds that are so contrary to modern fast paced living. And, part of our own history.
Getting our faces out of computer screens and into this beautiful world of ours is an experience like no other. A child (and adult) is suddenly taken away from the everyday faces and routines we face each day.
In this “new environment” we get to connect with nature, discover other natural wonders, and think about facets of our lives that we may not have gotten the opportunity to before.
What about these ideas:
Did you ever realize that one of the most special gifts you can give your grandchildren, any time of the year, is: your time?
We relish our time with our grandchildren. Right? There’s nothing better.
But, did you know how much they look forward to seeing you too? Sure! Most of us, who had the gift of grandparents when we were kids, have some very heart felt memories of the things we often did with our grandparents.
Here are some of the most wonderful gifts you can give your grandchildren. These are very simple gifts. But, they are gifts your grandchildren will remember their whole lives:
Sure, for birthdays, Christmas, Hanukah,.. they may need a physical present of some type.
But, during the other 362 days of the year, the best gift you can give your grandchildren is doing something fun together. It’s the best gift for us too!
The memory of your time, your warmth, your laughter together, simple life lessons you share, your love and attention, is something that will last them their whole life.
There are so many plastic junk toys out there that, as a person who grew up in a more simple time, it makes me ill. Teaching the value of well made items is a gift in itself.
The feel of natural fabrics, wood, metal, glass…. The solidity, feel, and durability of real materials…. these things will be remembered their whole lives. These things give children a sense of the real natural physical Universe that no one can get from a computer screen.
That connection to life and the physical world makes these some of the very best gifts for grandchildren.
No, you will not find a wooden X Box or Playstation. And, those may be the Christmas gifts of desire for many kids. There’s nothing wrong with those. They are as fun as can be.
But, including a nice real 100% cotton blouse, a real leather belt with a real brass buckle, for girls maybe a crystal unicorn, for boys maybe a hammer and a saw…. these will be remembered and cherished long after the current video games are barely a memory.
Also, non-electric non-computer games and toys, things we have to touch and hold, will give a child the ability to create and make things in the physical universe. Skills that they can use throughout their entire lives.
Do you remember your first personalized gift as a kid? Your name on something. Wonderful! Right?
If you’re a little stuck on your choice, all kids LOVE personalized items. They love seeing their name on things. Something personalized, with their name or initials on it, always makes a kid feel Special. Recognized. Validated.
A piece of jewelry like a bracelet or pendant, a mug, a water bottle, a backpack, stationary…. Anything, even a simple thing like a wallet, they may like and use, with their name on it, is always better than the same thing without their name.
Not all of us grandparents have the same financial resources. What may be quite inexpensive for some may be really stretching it, or, impossible for others.
For Example: You bought your grandchildren new sweaters. The other ones bought ponies. See?
Remember: It’s not a competition. Whatever gifts you can give, if they are thoughtful and appropriate, they are the right and best gifts for grandchildren. Even if they are free. Like your time, love and energy.
If you aren’t the rich grandparents, it doesn’t make a difference. Something really thoughtful is always appreciated. And, if you are the rich grandparents, it’s really emotionally generous to try to attenuate your purchases so that the less affluent grandparents are not feeling bad.
If you’re still looking for a toy, here’s a wonderful website that will help you find toys for kids of all ages, as well as the best toys for girls and the best toys for boys: “Top Toys for Kids of ALL Ages”
Buying gifts for grandchildren is fun. Both buying them and seeing our grandchildren’s faces light up when we have made a good choice. Right?
However, it’s not always as easy as it seems (as you probably already know) because of all the parameters we have to stay within so that everyone is happy and no one is offended or upset.
In a nut shell, you can make it a lot less difficult if you:
1) Ask the parents first. What toys or other things are OK? What do the kids like and want?
2) Make sure it is age appropriate.
3) Keep it within your budget.
Then you are good to go.
Remember: There are many great gifts that are not toys, and, these can often be the best and most memorable gifts for grandchildren.
Happy Gifting! ~ William, Fiona, and Charlotte
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