A Checklist for Buying Toys Online

Child-toyWhen you shop for toys online, you don’t have to worry about parking, long lines and impulse buys that blast your budget. Whether you’re shopping for birthdays, holidays or just because it’s time to surprise your kids with something fun, buying toys online is a more relaxing experience than the crush at the toy store. Internet shops are typically great about returns, but if you follow these guidelines for finding toys online, you can get just the right toy the first time.

1. Read Descriptions Carefully

Whenever you buy anything online, product descriptions are your best friends. Reading them carefully will give you the toy’s dimensions, materials and other important details to help you make an informed buying decision. Descriptions also give you key information about the toy’s features and benefits. For example, if your budding musician wants to try an electronic stage microphone and hone those singing skills, choosing one that allows you to plug in a CD or DVD player for background music could turn a good gift idea into a sensational one.

2. Age Recommendations

Every child is different. Some young children gravitate to toys meant for their older siblings while others keep their enthusiasm for a favorite early-childhood character as they grow. Age recommendations aren’t carved in stone, but they are excellent guidelines when buying gifts for kids outside your immediate family. For older children, age brackets are suggestions, but very young children should be surrounded with age-appropriate toys to ensure their safety. Chunky, easy-to-grasp toys are perfect for toddlers; save the multi-piece puzzle.

3. Know Your Audience

Kids’ tastes are as varied as adults’, and they have definite likes and dislikes even at early ages. Toys are always a bigger hit when they appeal to a child’s specific interests. A girl who loves dinosaurs, for example, might be charmed with a build-it-yourself dinosaur model or saurian play set. Get a boy who loves cars his own remote control racer, and he’ll love it. If you’re buying a gift for a child you don’t know well, such as one of your kids’ school acquaintances, toys that encourage open-ended play are usually best. Toy building block sets, craft supplies and games are good choices.

4. Shop for Matching Sets

One way to make your money stretch is with sets that work together. You know set pieces from the same manufacturer will fit, so buying a second set to match one your child already owns will add new interest to both sets. For example, if you pick up the Looks So Real birthday food play set , the matching deli shop set pieces fit in the same trays and plates. Multiple sets expand your child’s imaginative play options and make future buying choices easier for you.

5. Shop Early

When you shop online for toys, you skip busy holiday and back-to-school seasons, but it takes a few days for the store to ship your items. Give yourself some time before birthdays and other big events and have time to inspect and wrap toys. The beauty of online shopping is that you can do it anytime, so there’s no need to wait!

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