Next month, two of my kids have birthdays. So, as a friendly PSA, here is a gift giver’s guide for kids under 5.
1. Stuffed Animals: We have so many stuffed animals, we could cover our entire home. I weed out stuffed animals between each holiday, and somewhere, in the deep recesses of our home, there is a community of stuffed animals with a higher population than Washington DC.
2. Play Doh: Now, even I get sucked into the intricate molds and brightly colored packaging. Somebody in the marketing department is a rock star. As an adult I think, “I could mold the crap out of that birthday cake!” But let’s call Play Doh what it is, the devil’s most effective tool to ruin all the carpet in your home.
3. Age Inappropriate Toys: When you’re in the toy isle, it’s hard not to get carried away with all the toys you loved as a child. Believe me, I love the Barbie isle, and totally intend to force my daughters to love all things Matel. BUT, when they’re 18 months old, maybe Barbie isn’t the best gift for them. Each box includes 87 choking hazards, six blinding tools, and unlimited amounts of hair to swallow and/or get wrapped around fingers and toes.
4. Puzzles: Melissa and Doug wooden puzzles are amazing. BUT, any puzzle that comes in a box is a recipe for disaster, when you’re working with three kids under 3. The baby can sniff out a cardboard puzzle from two rooms away. And she will eat an entire piece if she is given the opportunity. The two year old can’t understand the concept and would rather throw the pieces like little ninja stars at his sisters.
5. Musical Instruments: Before having children, I made the mistake of buying my (then) 3 year old, music-loving niece an array of musical instruments. My brother-in-law looked me directly in the eyes and said, “Karma will find you.” Since having children myself, I realize I owe them a public apology. (Seriously, guys. Bottom of my heart) Once someone gifted our three year old a whistle. It was literally the most painful seven minutes of my life until it “broke unexplainably.” Keep these tips in mind for upcoming gift buying for kids. And remember, avoiding such gifts will make everyone’s birthday a little happier.