With all the recent toy recalls and the threat of a Christmas toy shortage looming, it’s time to start thinking about what to get the kids for Christmas. No matter how bad things may look for certain popular toys there must be alternatives, right?

One of my favorite ideas is to look at active toys. Things that get the kids outside. Most children do love to play outside if given the chance.

For example, my daughter very much so wants skates this year for Christmas. Talk about an obviously appropriate gift! I haven’t decided whether to drop her into inline skates or regular roller skates yet.

Age appropriateness is something else to consider. You want to consider both the child who will be playing with the toy as well as the other children in the home. Sometimes age appropriateness is not only about safety, but about hwo much fun the child will have with the toy. At the very least I’m sure that Monopoly is no more of a choking risk than Hi Ho Cherry-O, yet the recommended age ranges are entirely different.

On the other hand, I have no trouble with letting my 2-1/2 year old use scissors just like his big sister. I think those said 3 and up, or maybe even 5 and up (can’t recall), but he loves them and it just takes supervision.

One of the reasons I like to suggest giving games is that they encourage family interaction. Make time for a weekly family game night, and take turns choosing games. Your entire family really can have fun.

The sheer range of technology toys just amazes me. There’s the Fisher-Price Easy Link Internet Launch Pad that helps preschoolers safely navigate the Internet. Personally, I found it simple enough to create a web page for my daughter to use, but that’s me. The parents who have reviewed the Fisher-Price toy seem to like it quite well.

I also love anything that encourages a child to be creative. Just go to your local craft store and get stacks of supplies, or have a blast on Amazon looking at craft supplies. If you do well, you have easy entertainment for your child for much of the year.

No matter what happens with the popular toys this year I think there are plenty of options for Christmas shopping. And no matter what children may think, getting that one toy will not make that big a long term difference.

[tags]christmas shopping,toys,children,family[/tags]