Your Kid's Stuff

Do you ever find yourself brainstorming gift ideas for your children at birthdays or holidays, only to be thwarted by the simple realization that they don't need anything? Sure, there is the perennial need for new shoes, or the graduation to a new bike. But most of the time, our kids are not lacking in the stuff department. I'm willing to bet your children are like mine: given a choice to play with a toy or with each other, they always choose to unpack a big box of imagination with their brothers using sticks, stones, and beloved pieces of trash. With that said, many a purchased gift has fueled a game of "Man," "Lost Boys," or "Swiss Family Robinson."

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On the rare occasion that we find ourselves perusing the toy section at Target, this is what I observe: bright, big, loud, "cool" toys always immediately hit the wish list. And yet, after many many birthdays and Christmases, I've also observed that those are the first gifts to lose their allure (and the most cumbersome to store!)

Here are some questions our family asks before bringing home new stuff:

1. Does it require batteries? 2. Does it do all the imagining for you? 3. Is it a "dead end" toy, or does it keep on giving? 4. Does it require keeping up with all its parts? 5. Is it equally fun for one child as it is for several to share? 6. Does it keep the kids inside or will it take them outdoors? 7. Can it be passed down, over and over again? 8. Does it encourage covetousness? 9. Does it mirror concepts, values, experiences found in other areas of their lives? 10. Does it honor God?

How do you teach your children to discern what stuff is worth their time?