The Toy Store and Kid's Meal Date

By: Fatin Nehal

One of criteria used by the toy industry to assess product success is the number of returns. I say that because new toys that push the envelope of technology and, here, interactivity, often get returned in droves. Usually, my prime play time with a toy is when I'm repackaging a return (sorry, boss).
If you have ever gone into a toy store during the busy Christmas shopping season, then you know what a frantic place a toy store can be. Large crowds, long lines, and low inventory are just a few of the things that await you when you walk into a typical brick and mortar toy store. Thanks to the Internet, there is a way to avoid all of that. Online shopping has taken off in recent years, and while people purchase everything from food to electronics online, toy shopping online is becoming more and more popular.
Purchasing toys online is not a "fix all" however. If you wait until the last minute, popular toys can be out of stock, shipping deadlines may have passed, and you just might not get the "hot toy" that your child is begging you for.
While you will most likely find varied opinions, you'll probably see an overall positive or negative consensus on a particular toy or brand. This will help you determine if the toys your are interested in purchasing are safe, fun, or a good value. Also, check out several different websites or "online malls" that offer price comparisons from a variety of online shops. Don't forget to check shipping costs, especially where the price seems to be particularly low.
Don't forget to make sure the item can be shipped to your location and find out how long it will take, especially if you need a toy by a certain date, perhaps a birthday or holiday.
If the seller has been rated, you'll learn about their shipping, customer service, return policies, and a number of other important issues that will help you determine if the site is worth doing business with.
The bottom line is that shopping for toys on the Internet can save you money, help you find special gifts that you might not otherwise find, and also save time. Do your homework before you buy, and you will be sure that your child will be happy with the toys that you purchase, and you will be happy that you are saving money, saving gas, and saving the frustration of shopping in brick and mortar toy stores.
Your twelve year old child might still love the toys he had when he was six years old. Your six year old might be ready for something as complex as a Haynes internal combustion engine toy, and for the most part, this is fine. You know your child better than anyone; buy them something they'll enjoy.
A young child simply has a habit of chewing on things while developing their teeth, and they simply have smaller windpipes than larger children. If a teddy bear has little button eyes and is deemed a choking hazard for your three years old, they're not just whistling Dixie. Those little button eyes really are a choking hazard for your three year old, even If that three year old is reading at a college level, that doesn't change the fact that buttons and three year olds do not mix.
This isn't because your three year old is a real dummy or anything silly like that, it's simply that a child's motor skills have not developed yet to the point where they can be trusted carrying potentially harmful items like certain electronic learning toys.
Some four year olds absolutely love all those scary dragons and dinosaurs and other such creatures of the night more specifically designed for a preteen audience. It's not an issue of a child not being clever enough to figure something out, but merely an issue of physical development.
So while we recommend that you look at age recommendations as just that, recommendations, we do request that you regard the age requirements as the gospel itself. However brilliant, imaginative and mature your toddler may be, your child may enjoy listening to Mozart and quoting famed surrealist philosopher Albert Camus, but a toddler is simply not quite ready for the potential hazards of certain toys yet, or at least, not from the standpoint of physical development and safety.

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So have some fun by making your next date a toy Store & Kid's Meal date. Again, this has nothing to do with things like mental development and the personal taste your child has in toys.

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