Travel Toy Shopping For Youngsters | My Family Travels

Finding the perfect travel gift is easy with these tips from the toy experts at Learning Curve International, Inc.

After the numerous scandals involving toys manufactured in China and other countries with lax regulations, parents are most often focused on where and how their baby’s toys are made. Fortunately, the Consumer Product Safety Commission and toy manufacturers around the world have stepped in to establish their own safety checks on imported goods, making our kids’ toys better than ever.

With so much out there to buy, though, and safety less of an issue, what’s a grandparent or other relative to do when it comes to picking out the perfect gift? Here are some tips from a leading manufacturer of learning tools for infants, and they all start with the fun stuff — learning more about baby.
Learn their interests: Ask parents about a child’s hobbies, the most valuable information you can have when shopping for specific gift ideas (does the child have a die-hard love of dinosaurs, trains, space aliens, etc.?)

• Discover their favorite characters: Inquire after a child’s favorite books and TV shows so you can search out toys based on the characters.

• Encourage learning: Parents will love you if you buy something to encourage creative thinking, math or geography. Most importantly, today’s “educational” toys (called developmental) are hip, cool, colorful and fun so that kids most often don’t even realize there’s learning involved.

• Contribute to collections: Find out if the child already has a particular toy collecting system, such as a train set or a particular line of stuffed animals. Buying a missing piece to a collection is a sure-fire means to please. If the child doesn’t have any collections, buy a starter set and add to it on successive birthdays and holidays.

• Play along with them: Think about a toy idea that you and the child can use together, which will bring the two of you much closer. Selecting toys that relate to your profession or personal hobbies is one way to forge connections.

• Avoid the crowds: Visiting smaller gift boutiques, museum stores and specialty toy shops will provide you with knowledgable sales personnel and a wider selection of quality developmental toys.

• Read up on the experts: Ask the sales representative to direct you to toys that have won awards from parenting publications and consumer groups, which will have been tested by the experts.

• Scrutinize quality: Choose toys that the manufacturer offers warranties or easy repair services for. Parents will doubly appreciate toys for their children that are durable and safety- tested.

• Peruse labels: Suggested ages and other information on the packaging can help you select toys appropriate for the child.

• Acknowledge the classics: Despite the influences of the digital age upon toy development, many playthings you loved as a child (such as puppets, puzzles, coloring kits and board games) still provide the best in creative fun.

To order a consumer catalog or obtain more information from Learning Curve, call 800/704-8697 or visit their web site at www.learningcurve.com.

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This story was accurate when it was published. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question, and stay up to date with current events to ensure a safe and successful trip.