Are you guilty of bribing your kids with toys? This is an issue that has become somewhat of a problem with our son. I fear I have been promoting an unreasonable attachment to items by buying him countless toys. It hit me when I found myself actually considering a car bed that was over $400 for his birthday next month. As I was talking about it with my husband, I stopped and thought, I barely remember the toys I got for my birthdays and holidays. There were a few things here and there that stood out, but for the most part, I couldn’t remember all of those toys my parents painstakingly picked out and spent hard earned money on. Was I really about to fork over all that money for something that he doesn’t need and might not even remember? It also made me realize we were going to have to keep topping ourselves with his gifts every year. I became fearful that I was beginning to create a little toy hoarding monster.
I will buy him a small car here and there at the store or bring him home something special when I go somewhere, but I have noticed that he has become more demanding. He wants something every time he goes to the store, he sees commercials and begs me for the toys on TV, and he is constantly talking about the newest toy he “needs” when he has closets and trunks full of toys he doesn’t even remember receiving. At first, I would feel a sense of urgency to give him something he wanted that would make him happy. After all, who doesn’t love to see their kids happy? Now, I have grown frustrated at the entitlement I seemed to have encouraged, and the importance he puts on objects. While we have been debating about what to do for his birthday, my husband and I have realized we need to make a change – especially with another baby on the way. If we keep buying toys at this rate, we are going to have to buy a bigger house.
Instead of buying a bunch of toys that will be forgotten before the day is over, I want to buy my son something that will actually encourage him to think and explore. He has always loved books, and I know what he learns in books will go so much further in his life than the few moments of joy he gets from a new toy. This year, we will get him books that will help inspire his imagination and curiosity. National Geographic Kids has a variety of magazines, books, and games that offer fun and educational ways for kids to learn. They have always been a big hit in our house and have provided compelling material that actually holds our son’s interest. Now, they have new titles that have just been released and they are perfect gift ideas for kids of all ages. The new titles include:
100 Things to Be When You Grow Up
For ages 8-12, this book offers 100 of the most interesting, craziest and creative job ideas from greeting card maker to forensic psychologist. It also has advice from the National Geographic explorers, interviews with field experts, tips on how to start preparing now for a job you’ll love, and even hands on projects.
Cat Tales: True Stories of Kindness and Companionship with Kitties
Kids ages 9+ will enjoy the stories of cats from all over the world with their own unique and amazing stories. There are also expert tips that will help kids understand cat behavior and care for them. They even have ideas on how to take better photos of cats!
Ultimate Space Atlas
All the space loving kids from 8 to 12 will appreciate this atlas of the solar system, milky way, and deep space with a detailed look at planets, supernovas as well as other universes. There are also sky maps so kids can identify features in the night sky.
This book for kids 7 to 10 has first hand accounts from Dr. Brady Barr about why animals bite. Dr. Barr is a snake wrangler that has a lot of experience with animals that bite, and he provides all you would want to know about animal chompers. It captures the different bite styles of animals, types of teeth, their food sources and much more.
Awesome 8 Extreme
This book for 8 to 12 year olds has lists of 50 different topics, and the 8 most awesome extremes of each topic. It features subjects such as Dressed Up Dogs, Coolest Pools, Thrilling Theaters and plenty more each featuring incredible photos.
One of my favorite things that National Geographic Kids offers is a book of Thank You Cards. It has 30 pull out thank you postcards for kids with sincere captions, funny anecdotes and a space for a child to write their own special message. There are also helpful tips on how to craft heartfelt thank you notes that are correctly formatted. It is the perfect way to teach kids how to be appreciative and grateful for what they have received from others.
From now on, we are going to try and do things differently with our son by encouraging more learning and exploration rather than just mindlessly handing over toys. I want my son to grow up with a wealth of knowledge and experiences that will serve him well as an adult and he isn’t going to get that from a dusty trunk full of toy cars. I really love that National Geographic Kids is striving to get kids away from the TV and useless toys, and back to exploring their curiosities. Their books make for great gift ideas, and they encourage kids to explore the amazing things our world has to offer. Why not give the gift of knowledge and curiosity to friends as family as well? National Geographic Kids Books have always been our favorite gifts to give AND receive!