Gift gift everywhere, not a gift to give? Is that the situation that you face when trying to find a gift for a loved one? What happens when this gift is for a 6 to 9 year old boy or girl! Terrified, Confused, Worried? Well, trust me when I tell you, I know the feeling. Like you, I have had my share of trying to find the PERFECT gift for that loved kid.
For me, a good gift for a kid, boy or a girl, is one that is useful and fun at the same time. Something that gives them long term value while being fun. Lofty ambition, you might say. And I admit that I have struggled. So this series of posts about finding the perfect gift for kids came from the heart. And since the time I have tasted success in this business of gift finding, I have never deviated from my four step rule. Let me take you through that and also give some ideas for really cool and really useful gifts for 6 to 9 year old boys and girls.
Step 1: Understand the profile of 6 to 9 year old boy or girl
Children in the age bracket of 6 to 9 years are already in their grade schools. They study in class size of 35+ students. They have started forming their own 'best" friends and small social circles. So their time is now split between home, school and friends.
Kids aged 6 to 9 years have started to be more observant of things around them. Boys and girls of this age are developing a comprehension - i.e. reading, listening and interpreting abilities. This, combined with TV, comics and growing social circle has dramatically increased their awareness. Their choices and likings are strongly influenced by their surroundings.
6 to 9 years is an age when boys are more boyish and girls have become more girly. In a sense, they have started forming their own separate groups. Their are boys toys and their are girl toys. Their are even boys colors and girl colors. And the kids are now aware of this distinction. Boys have started doing sports e.g. football, cricket etc while girls have just started focusing on more girl like games and sports such as badminton, board games etc. Its not easy anymore, is it?
But worry not, this understanding of the profile of boys and girls of aged 6 to 9 years will help us find the perfect gift. Just hang on for the ideas.
Step 2: Define the objective of your gift and explore options
The question I ask myself is what do I want them to gain from my gift? Is it just a social obligation or is my gift expected to do more? May be help them pickup a skill or make them more aware or become physically stronger! The point is, I want my gift to do something for the kids. After all, that is why I am giving it to them. Below are some examples of what your gift could do for the kids and ideas for gifts. If you have better ideas, please make sure to share it with the group. Just leave a comment below.
Your gift could help them go outdoors, exercise and gain strength
Ensuring that kids go outdoors and do some physical exercise and have an in-person interaction with their friends has become a task in itself. With video games, TVs, comics, mobile phones and internet, the only time kids leave their rooms is when they go to schools. Getting them to move from the virtual / digital world to the real world will be an awesome gift. Don't you think? So toys and games that would help them here are ...
- Sports equipments like cricket, football or baseball kits for boys and badminton for girls. Actually, there are too many good options to choose from here.
- Memberships of adventure clubs, trekking groups which take kids out on a nature trail for 4 hours to 2 days under supervision of experts
- Bicycle is a treasure of a life time. Believe me. It not only brings mobility but gives immense sense of independence to the kids.
- Roller skates, Skate boards
- Ice skates or skies if you live in colder place where the kids could enjoy the snow
- Football shoes is an interesting option. If you want to go further, how about getting them signed by some bigshot or just getting them personalized. A lot of companies are doing it these days. This will give the kids an opportunity to flaunt these gifts and thus go out
Your gift could instigate curiosity and facilitate learning
This is a time when studies have started becoming important for the kids and for you. Toys/games that will help them build curiosity, a scientific temperament to explore things around them will benefit them for the life time. You could also look at games and tools that they can leverage for their school activities in a fun manner and there a lot of them available today
- Lego science kits. The all time favorites. I dont think they will ever go out of fashion. These are especially cool gifts for 6 to 9 year old boys and girls
- Encyclopedia or other "How to" books e.g. subscription to popular-science magazine. I used to enjoy popular science as a kid. In fact, I thought that was one awesome gift for me. You could find the right gift based on the kid's taste.
- Subscription to websites that have educational games. Kids often find math difficult or intimidating. So how about some programs that help them learn math in a fun way. These things have become safe
- Trips to local museums (especially natural history, gadgets etc). This might look like a small gift but would be interesting if you invite the whole gang of boys or group of girls to this trip. They will have a lot of fun and it will be unusual too.
- A vacation trip where fun can be combined with knowledge e.g. guided tour of historical place e.g. Ajanta caves or find something interesting near you. I am sure there are tons of such places. May be something that experiences an interesting geographic phenomenon
- Something away from the usual like a day spent helping the less fortunate can be thought of too. This will instill values deep within. Must think about it.
Your gift can foster creativity and imagination
We tend to focus on the left brain all the time. What about the right side that looks at beautiful things and is responsible for all the colors and beauty around us. Let kids explore their creative sides. Example of good gifts here are ...
- Coloring books are simple and elegant gifts
- Coloring instruments for example a set of 24 good sketch pens or water color set too is a good choice. Works well for boys and girls
- Creative classes for some special craft e.g. weaving, pottery etc. This need not be a 6 month extensive program. Even something for 2 days is good enough. Let the child know his / her interest because of your gift. If the direction is right, then they can go all the way
- Musical instruments are never out of fashion. In fact, once they grow older, they will thank you for this amazing skill that they have picked up
- Plasticine or modelling clay can bring an amazing outlet for all that pent up creativity
Your gift can nurture a life long hobby or skill
This is exactly the right time when children can pickup any skill with ease and it will stay with them for life if they enjoy it. It would be a good idea to explore this aspect as well. Your gift for boys and girls could be ...
- Sports classes e.g. tennis, swimming, cricket etc
- Musical instrument classes e.g. guitar, tabla etc.
- Dance classes. Choose an interesting and exotic dance. This will help keep their interest for a while.
- Learn a different language. Strongly strongly and even more strongly recommended. Might not seem like the most fun gift but its an awesome gift, especially in today's world. Again, you dont have to buy them 6 months expert program. Just something that whets their appetite. And then take it from there.
Step 3: Ensure that your gift is safe for 6 to 9 year old boy or girl
It is important to ensure safety when buying gifts for kids. At this age of 6-9 years, kids are a lot more aware and conscious of what can be dangerous or harmful. They know that putting dirty things in mouth, or playing with things with sharp corners can do some serious damage. But still, as elders, its our job to be careful. So safety considerations are of a different level here.
- Strength and build quality: This must always be kept in mind when buying your gifts. Weather its games or toys. They are going to push it, throw it, exert pressure on it. It must not break and if it must, it must break in a child-safe manner, i.e. without hurting them.
- Projectiles: Things or sharp objects than can be thrown are a still big NO NO. They are growing up and becoming smart but still they are at an age where they like to experiment and push the limits. We need to be safe and careful here
- Quality of their coaches: Now this is a new entrant to the usual safety list. Kids in this age group will be independent. You will let them go out and play alone. You will send them out for extra-curricular activities. You will send them out for treks. On all these occasions, it is important to ensure that quality of the adult coach or supervisor. Ask other parents, check about their experience, ask kids in the same coaching group when they are away from their coach/facilitator. Unless you are absolutely sure that the person is reliable and responsible, do not leave your kids with them.
Step 4: Personalize the gift for your boy or girl and then choose
As usual, this is the last step. Know the receiver and think what would be the best gift for him/her from the options above. What would he/she like and what is it that he/she does not already have. What could support him develop further. Its all about personalization. Look at their TV shows, comics or games to get some hints .The love and effort that you put in will show in the quality of gift that you will find.
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