ToyDirectory Mom: The List
By Jodi M. Webb
January 1, 2003
As I hang the new calendar, vacuum up the fallen evergreen needles
and snack on the few remaining Holiday cookies, I realize it is
time to update The List. I have been keeping The List for several
years, ever since finding out that the children I bought gifts for
throughout the year didn’t appreciate my struggle to come
up with unique and unexpected giving ideas. Children are comforted
by familiarity--not just the same caregiver or breakfast food, but
also by the same toys. From the time they are old enough to express
an opinion, children go through an ever-changing series of passions
when it comes to toys.
Some passions are based on a specific toy with countless additions
available. One such toy that was a big hit with my cousin’s
son was BRIO Wooden Train Sets. Gift-givers could
choose from wooden trains and cars, tracks, bridges, buildings,
and people. By the time his enthusiasm for BRIO had waned several
years later, he had managed to create a small city.
A much easier passion to encourage is one based on a general love,
since it offers such a wide variety of options. With my eight-year-old
daughter Jeanette, it was horses. Though she voraciously collected
plastic horses in every size, color and pose, it was still easy
to find gifts to match her passion. Books and videos abound, both
the factual, such as The Fantastic Book of Horses
by Jane Parker, and the fictional, such as the movie The
Black Stallion. Her presents have also included the board
game Herd Your Horses from Aristoplay,
and Paint the Wild Horse from Balitono,
a set of four ceramic horses for painting.
A riskier tact is to try and create a passion based on what you
know about a child. Knowing that my daughter loved Barbies and their
many accessories, my aunt chose another doll with her own world,
Samantha, from The American Girl Company.
After the initial gift, a doll, was warmly embraced, my aunt selected
beautiful period costumes and accessories--along with books, paper
dolls and board games all starring Samantha and her Victorian world.
The most important factor in making your List successful is to keep
it current. A casual “So why do they call them duck-billed
dinosaurs?” or “Did you see the mini-roller coaster
display made of K*NEX set up at the mall?”
will let you know if you are still shopping for a budding paleontologist
or architect. If not, brace yourself for the next passion—anything
from Polly Pocket to outer space, to cooking.
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