As a geeky godmother to several wonderful kids, as well as a geeky older cousin, it has always been a problem for me to think about what to give to the younger ones during birthdays and Christmas holidays. Clothes are useful, but I’m sure I’m not the only one with the idea. Pre-paid activities like visits to theme parks or museums are also plausible gifts, but would need coordination with the parents/guardians, so it poses extra work to be done. Toys, however, never fail, for some reason.
Kids of any age have this certain proclivity to toys, as it helps with their holistic development, especially with their imagination and creativity. In groups, toys also become a catalyst for social interaction, as values such as sharing can be exercised when group play is done. Also, toys can also help children in other skills such as being able to pick up after themselves when play is done.
With these said, we can ask ourselves: What geeky, memorable, and beneficial toy gifts can I give to my youngster friends and loved ones?
Here are some suggestions:
Toys under this group are the ones that require physical activity and dexterity to operate. This includes the sports toys such as balls, hula hoops, tops and yoyos, fingerboards like Tech Deck, and the notorious fidget spinners. This category becomes even better when the toys have the theme of the cartoon/anime/movie that they really, really like (e.g. a godchild of mine loves Frozen, so giving them Frozen-themed toys makes them happy).
In today’s digital world, tabletop games are slowly making a comeback. There has a certain appeal in the concept of being face-to-face with your playmates and actually touching something tangible when playing. It would be great for kids in the sense that adults can play with them as well, and it can serve as enriching learning experiences for them. Aside from that, there are many tabletop games to choose from, from the classic Uno cards to the more complex Scrabble.
(Shameless plug! If you want to know which board games are fun and age-appropriate, you can go see Gio‘s posts. He’s the tabletop game guy here.)
This, by far, is one of the no-fail toys that people like to give and receive, and not just for kids! Dolls and action figures provide an avenue for kids to use their imagination in terms of role-playing, as these figures provide an opportunity for kids to give their toys a “voice” and put them in situations that can also help with their social skills, especially when played with other children or adults. Also, these kinds of toys are also good investments for when they grow older, when the value of toys appreciate and what was once a collection used for playing turn into a collection as a hobby. You can probably guess where the hobby collectors started, and perhaps where the actors and Dungeons and Dragons role players, too.
These figures can be basically anybody they see, like Barbie, characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the lovable characters from the cable cartoon channels like Cartoon Network or Nickelodeon.
Anything with the preface “create your own” will spell a lot of messes, for sure. But, kids love using their hands to create new things, like sculptures, jewelry, artwork, and even action figures. Examples of toys that belong to this category are play dough, kinetic sand, jewelry kits, and figure assembly kits. Creativity does not need to be confined in coloring books!
Building blocks can be classified as a create-your-own and/or skill toy, but this deserves a category in its own.
Blocks have been in existence as early as 1693, and has been a staple to children worldwide up to now. Very much like the other toys above, blocks develop one’s imagination, dexterity, and social skills (if used as a group). There are also blocks that have templates that one can follow. Once practiced on a regular basis, kids can make their own creations, and even share their own templates to the world. Some popular brands for this group are Mega Blox and LEGO.
These are just some suggestions I have in mind as geeky toy gift ideas. At the end of the day, we must keep in mind that when giving, we must make sure our gifts are age-appropriate and are all in our allotted budget. Also, if in case you are having a hard time looking for gifts physically in stores, you can also do your shopping from the comfort of your own home or office! Specialized websites such as Kidscompany are there to help you in terms of searching for toys by keywords, categories, and brands, for hassle-free shopping. They also have a wide range to choose from, some even exclusively available on their website.