Gifts For Children Under 8

Written by Sierra Rein
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Because children grow a lot between the ages of three and eight, it is essential that a gift is appropriate for the child's educational and developmental level. Children play differently at age four than they do at age six, a fact that most children's toy manufacturers understand. Some toys--like stuffed animals and musical instruments--work well at any age, while others are only appreciated at certain developmental points along the way.

Children who are between the ages of two and four enjoy activities and gifts that help them imitate the movement and vocalizations of people and animals around them. At this time, they are more likely to stay within gender-specific stereotypes and enjoy using pretend props that allow them to mimic their mothers and fathers. They also like noise-making machines, musical instruments, puzzles, ride-on tricycles, and dolls.

Between the ages of four and six, children begin to become fascinated with the learning process and start to develop math and verbal skills. At this time, board games, training bicycles, action figures, complex puzzles, art supplies and construction sets are particularly effective, as are educational items like animal books and watches that can help teach the child how to tell time. When a child reaches the age of six or seven, she is ready to begin developing her own unique interests and preferences and be able to play along with friends. At this stage, she may enjoy gifts like science kits, jewelry-making boxes, books on card games, decorative watches, computer and video games, strategy-related board games, magnifying glasses, journals, and more advanced music-related toys.

Gifts to Avoid for Children Under Eight

Electric toys with heating elements, exposed wires, accessible battery compartments, or electrical connections are particularly dangerous for anyone younger than the age of eight or nine. Toys and teaching supplies with sharp edges and breakable parts should be avoided, as well as those that make noises louder than 100 decibels. Another good precaution is to contact the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) to learn about any new product safety recalls and warnings regarding faulty or dangerous toys.

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