A good Christmas can do a lot to take the edge off of a bad year both for children and their parents (and a lot of families are having a bad year). It's the season to pick up a few toys, drop them by the fire station and make some people feel good about themselves during what can be one of the toughest times of the year.
If you're new to the Toys-for-Tots concept, here are the rules I normally use when shopping:
gifts should be nice enough to sit alone under a tree. The child who
gets nothing else should still feel that he or she had a special
Christmas. A large stuffed animal, a big metal truck, a large can of
Legos with enough pieces to keep up with an active imagination. You can
get any of these for around twenty or thirty bucks at Wal-Mart or
Shop smart. The better the deals the more toys can go in your cart;
No batteries. (I'm a strong believer in kid power);**
Speaking of kid power, it's impossible to be sedentary while playing with a basketball;
No toys that need lots of accessories;
For games, you're generally better off going with a classic;
No movie or TV show tie-ins. (This one's kind of a personal quirk and I will make some exceptions like Sesame Street);
Look for something durable. These will have to last;
smaller children, you really can't beat Fisher Price and PlaySkool.
Both companies have mastered the art of coming up with cleverly designed
toys that children love and that will stand up to generations of
energetic and creative play.
*I previously used Target here, but
their selection has been dropping over the past few years and it's
gotten more difficult to find toys that meet my criteria.
like to soften this position just bit. It's okay for a toy to use
batteries, just not to need them. Fisher Price and PlaySkool have both
gotten into the habit of adding lights and sounds to classic toys, but
when the batteries die, the toys live on, still powered by the energy of
children at play.
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