Too often these days, if you want to buy a gift for a child you need to become an expert in kid’s media, know what content they are ingesting, and which translation of that is the most desirable in the toy aisle of your megamart. You certainly don’t want to pick up last season’s hot item as it will most assuredly have cooled down and may be the cause of a youthful eye roll. There is another way to get that child something that will make their eyes widen instead. Rather than sloshing through the supposed latest and greatest, point yourself towards gifts that maybe you or your parents had at that age – heirloom gifts of quality and thoughtfulness that not only stand up to years of use but generations of enjoyment. 

Granted, they weren’t made with us in mind, but touring the toy aisle and picking up an item often evokes the thought of “what even is this?” There are a lot of plush toys on the market yet many of these mass-produced lines certainly could stand a quality upgrade or have more care put into their design. By contrast, the Senger Naturwelt Cuddly Goose and other plush toys package true craftsmanship, ingenuity and heart into their adorable line of animals that seem destined to become a child’s best friend and companion. Founded by a tailor apprentice husband and wife, and for years a children’s bookseller who wanted to create a quality toy for a friend’s daughter, Senger Naturwelt brings storybook whimsy to quality construction. Adults can feel good gifting these cuddly creations since they are crafted of natural materials free from harmful substances, are sustainably made, and are manufactured with socially just practices. The gift recipient also gets a special bonus with their fuzzy friend as their tummies made of natural, sustainable materials are removable, to be either warmed or cooled – to adorably soothe an ouchie or make nap time that much cozier an experience.

Too often toys are truly lacking in any educational value and isolate rather than encourage children to engage with others. Many electronic gifts have kids doing small repeated hand gestures over and over, not building their coordination or dexterity. A lasting and impactful gift would be created to encourage the pursuit of knowledge while also teaching life-long skills, all while being a fun activity that they want to return to again and again. A subscription to Think Outside Boxes not only gives the recipient the enjoyment of opening several gifts over a period of time but embraces their innate curiosity while bringing meaning to playtime. Just the opposite of giving kids a reason to be sedentary and siloed, Think Outside box activities get children up and moving and kindle their sense of wonder and adventure. Not much else is as enduring as giving a chance for a child to learn on their own while they also expand their capabilities. Not much else is as timeless as that.

We can probably all agree that often when thinking of heirloom gifts – those that stand up to the test of time, are enjoyable as well as engaging and have a universal resonance – books come to mind. Beginning to curate a little library gives a child pride of ownership while surrounding them with stories as varied as their imaginations. Membership in the Bookroo book club opens littles up to one of the largest online children’s book libraries, vetted by parents, educators and developmental experts for quality, impact and age-appropriateness. Kids and parents are thrilled to receive each new installment of titles. They not only learn to read by being paired with books perfect for their developmental stages but come into a pride of ownership and responsibility that comes with being the guardian of your own collection. Offering exclusive editions of everything from the classics to hidden gems to the new and noteworthy, the gift to a child of a Bookroo membership gives them foundational skills necessary for development as well as the resources to kindle their imaginations.

Perhaps the best children’s gifts aren’t made of plastic, don’t make buzzing or zapping sounds, and last longer than the fad that spawned them. Perhaps kids will really resonate with gifts that are given with heart and intention. We’ve explored some options that truly respect the child who is receiving the gift, as well as their potential for growth, imagination, learning, and skill-building. Bring a child into a world where the gift is a jumping-off point for adventure and allows them to be who they are while they discover more and more about themselves and the world around them. Senger Naturwelt plush toys at Weston Table spark imagination and healthy play while also giving a child a beloved companion. A subscription to Think Outside Boxes encourages a child’s educational and skills-based growth while getting them off the couch and into engaging social situations. Membership in the Bookroo book club gets your budding librarian started with the tools they need for enjoyable and expandable reading opportunities, truly giving them the world one book at a time. Enjoy your gift-giving adventure and not only fill the recipient with joy but give them so much more to grow on.