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educational toys

Toys for Kids and Parents

With the festive season fast approaching and Christmas just around the corner, the main thought that's on everybody's mind at the moment is Christmas presents. Yet whilst some are pondering what to buy their girlfriend and others will be pondering what get for granddad this year, by far the most common present buying puzzler is what Christmas presents to buy for your children.

True, it is fair to say that most parents will receive - if they haven't already - a list of presents that their little darlings would ideally like to be opening on Christmas morning, but often these eagerly scrawled lists are not quite as helpful as they may seem. Of course it can be of vital importance that you do not buy the wrong Barbie or wrap up the wrong football shirt (or you could find yourself in a lengthy refund queue on boxing day), but the fact is, reading these Christmas lists often presents parents with one main problem: the world of difference between the toys kids love to play with and the toys parents love to buy.

Whilst parents of course want their children to be happy and no one wants to be the cause of that disappointed little face on Christmas morning (is there anything worse?), finding presents that incite squeals of joy from kids yet also fall in line with what parents ideally want their children to be playing with is a tricky business indeed. The thing is, kids and their parents just have completely different priorities when it comes to buying toys. Children are driven by bright colours, 'cool' or unusual features and trends that are predominantly decided by some cleverly designed pre-Christmas advertising. Children do not worry about how they will feel about this toy in two months (or even two weeks) time; they are not remotely concerned with its educational value and they are certainly unlikely to consider how many hundreds of batteries it's likely to swallow before we even make it to the new year! One of the beauties of childhood is the freedom to live completely in the moment and quite often this means wishing with all your heart for a toy that is over priced, generally fairly useless and unlikely to retain your interest past boxing day.

Parents, on the other hand, are much more practical in choosing the toys they would like their children to play with, particularly in tougher economic times. With the benefit of hindsight and a natural interest in providing for their children's development, parents are understandably inclined towards toys that are in some way educational or encourage their child to think and develop new skills. Unlike children, parents are not generally swept up in the latest trends in toys and instead prefer to buy something that will occupy their offspring for longer than just the Christmas holidays.

So how on earth can you possibly go about pleasing your young ones on Christmas morning, yet feel satisfied with your Christmas purchases? As with so many things in life, the key word here in compromise. You might just have to give in and buy one or two of those on-trend presents that you just know will be disregarded in a matter of weeks, but also make sure you add a few more 'parent friendly' gifts in there as well. Games are a particularly great idea, as they often involve the whole family and can be educational as well as fun. Star Wars Monopoly, anyone?