Surprising Favorite Toys
Play keys are often admired and enjoyed by children because they tend to use them to mimic the adults in their lives that lock and unlock things every day.
Cellphones are also often favorites. Large cellphones that are obviously "fake" are not as favored as those that look more like mommy's or daddy's phone. Flashing lights and music are an additional plus. If you can find an educational cellphone, for example one that teaches colors or numbers, all the better!
A play set of food and dishes will lend to many hours of imaginative pretending. Plain looking ones that are all one color are not as well liked as those that have flowers or sparkles. Plates with cartoon characters only work if you know the child's favorite cartoon. Pick the wrong cartoon, one that he or she doesn't like, and the dishes may be ignored.
Hair and Makeup
Pretend beauty shop items lend to hours of creative imagination. Avoid brushes if you are concerned about sharing among non-family members. Alternatives include hair dryers, pretend nail polish, or pretend blush. Make sure your kids don't pass around a single tube of lip gloss! Help them understand ways they can play while maintaining sanitary ideals.
Who better to interview for this hub than someone who makes a living by watching children play all day? Mrs. Johnson, as we'll call her, wishes to remain anonymous, but I have shared her observations for the curious, for the child at heart, and for those who want gift ideas.
Cute is always appealing to young children, but today's youth have gained a more distinguished taste. Sparkly, striped, light-up, and multicolored top the list. Pets that sing, walk, or talk are also often well liked. Make sure if the pet is animated it doesn't reach the "uncanny valley", an idea that usually refers to human-like robots. If a toy appears to move as if alive yet gives away an indication that it isn't, you may end up scaring the child, depending on his or her age. Always err on the side of safety.
Horses of every kind and color seem to be an unfading classic lending to loads of imagination and hours of creative play. Horses can take on so many characteristics: race horses, circus horses, western ranch horses, fantasy horses, draft horses, royal horses, polo ponies, dressage horses, dancing Lipizzaners, seeing eye horses, and the list goes on. The sky's the limit when it comes to horses and pretending.
Magnetic scribble pads of any sort remain an absolute plus, allowing creativity without consuming resources. Get a large one to leave at home for those magnificent masterpieces, and a small one to take in the car to eliminate boredom on the run!
Kids love music. An easy beginner musical instrument can make a great and much loved toy for any child. Good examples of easy gift instruments include a tambourine, a small toy drum, toy cymbals, a triangle, bells, and maracas.