When we go to birthday parties for my daughter’s friends, who are currently typically in the 3-5 year-old age range, more often than not, we give one or two books as a birthday present.
Sometimes I ask the parent first what general topics the child is interested in – for example, arts and crafts, specific sports or other physical activities, cars and trucks, outer space, music, animals, fashion, dinosaurs, etc.
And sometimes I also ask what are some of the child’s current favorite books. With that information, I can not only better guess what other books the child might like, but also I can reduce the possibility of buying a book that the child already has.
So what makes books such a great gift? Numerous things, including:
- A good book will be well-liked by a child.
- A thoughtfully chosen book feels like a very meaningful gift because time and care was put into selecting it for the specific child.
- The book may provide more than just entertainment – it may help a child master a new word, concept, relationship skill, etc.
- The book may be used repeatedly and kept for a long time (long after a toy has gotten broken or been discarded), and maybe even later “recycled” for use by another sibling, a library or other fund raiser, etc.
Now, that’s not to say other gifts such as toys and clothing are not great gifts. But many kids these days seem to have plenty of toys, and probably there are only a few toys that they like to play with repeatedly. On the other hand, how many kids do you know who have too many books?