by Stevanne Auerbach, Dr. Toy
Giving gifts should be fun experience, not complicated by worrying about how to put the pieces together. The assembly of toys itself can be an enjoyable, creative process, if you follow these suggestions from Dr. Toy.
First, plan the project and gather tools you may need:
Scissors. (You need these for cutting through those hard to open packages.)
Screw drivers, with the needed straight, star, hex, or Phillips head bit. (Needed to install some batteries.)
Pliers or an adjustable wrench.
A fun way to add value to the project is to give your child a chance to trace an outline of each tool and identify it with a name. This is a good way for a child to learn about tools and how to use them. You can also tape the name of the tool on the handle for reinforcement.
Take an Inventory of the Parts:
At the outset, read the directions to see all the pieces that should be included. Carefully account for all the parts to assure you have all you need. Then place the smaller pieces in a container (a box or storage bag) so you don’t loose any.
Nothing like starting and then not being able to find the critical screw you need.
Get the number and size of the batteries you need. For gifts that need batteries, install them before wrapping. This assures instant enjoyment with the new present.
This is a good way to share the project with your child. Read the instructions out loud and follow them together. This is a good time to go slow and not be frustrated. Some stores offer the assembly for extra cost, but look how much fun you might be missing. Kids, depending on their age, will have fun reading the instructions out loud. You can discuss following instructions and putting things together. All good skills for children to learn.
Special Assembly Project:
Some gifts should not be put together in advance—for example, a tricycle. Dad (or grandpa) and an eager child will have a great time putting the new tricycle together. (Of course, paper and a ribbon around the box are fine, but doing the entire assembly together is a terrific shared experience.) The entire process of seeing how the tricycle is assembled is a great learning experience for the child and even more fun when happily shared by adult and child together. Great photo op from box opening through assembly—from reading instructions to the excitement of the first ride.
Wrap Assembled Toys:
Toys that require assembly should be removed from the original package and put together ahead of time. Then you should wrap them so they are ready to play with when they are unwrapped. What is extra fun is to leave a part sticking out from the wrapping so child can play a game of “three guesses” as to what it is. A game can add to the excitement. You can also create a “feely bag” with small toys inside and play “guess what it is!”
Select the Right Products:
Always include gifts like blocks and construction toys that children use to create and assemble by using their imagination. Puzzles and games are gifts they enjoy and participate in playing together with the whole family.
Save wrapping paper and ribbons in a scrap box for re-use later for collages and other creative projects.
Most of all have a great holiday full of adventure and fun each day. Memories are made of these experiences. We long remember the fun we had opening presents but most of all the satisfaction of putting things together as a family.