Toys for Nine-Year-Olds: Buying Tips When Searching for the Perfect Gift

Gifts for nine-years-olds are more than just objects to them because they’re slowly evolving into mature young individuals. While they can still be interested in toys, children at this age begin to explore different interests. It would be great if they could master some skills using their toys. Thus, you should take gift shopping for them seriously.

If you’ve been trying to think about the perfect gift for a nine-year-old child, here are the buying tips you should consider.

  1. Development – Nine-year-old children have a natural curiosity about the things that are happening around them. As they begin to age, their attitude, emotions, and even hobbies also change. Therefore, when buying gifts for them, think about their interests. Kids at this age also become more interested in the arts, sports, sciences, and other areas of learning. So, you better consider their stages of development when searching for the best gift for them.

 

  1. Usefulness – When you give a gift to a nine-year-old child, be sure this is something that he can use over and over again. The gift shouldn’t be good for one-time use only. Instead, select a gift with a real purpose. If your goal is to spark their imagination, buy something that they can learn how to build while they’re playing. Also, avoid giving gifts that will only be placed in the corner, such as decors.

 

  1. Profile – Gifts for children aren’t tough to find. However, the problem comes in if you buy a gift for someone you don’t know. For instance, if you want to buy a birthday present for your nine-year-old godchild, you should make the real effort to get to know him/her better. By doing your research, you may discover something special about the child that will help you in your buying decisions.

 

  1. Good Quality – Aside from being useful, your gift should also be of good quality. Nine-year-old children value their toys seriously because, for them, it’s more than just an object that they can play with. If your gift is something that is used often, it should last for a long time. Take note, a child who receives a gift with nice quality will appreciate the effort and thought you put into buying it.

 

  1. Element of Surprise – Nothing is more exciting than receiving a surprise gift. Children at the age of nine appreciate gifts that offer an element of surprise. It means you put a lot of thought into buying a gift that will make them happy. Also, surprises create good memories that children may never forget.

 

  1. Experience – Children, because they’re young, love experiencing new things. It’s best to buy a gift that gives experience. Search for unique gift ideas for children. Create a list of all the things that kid is interested in and come up with the gift ideas that are aligned with their interests. For example, if your child loves music and acting, then you can buy him/her a ticket to a musical. A trip to a museum for your history-loving kid or a temporary hair color for your little fashionista are some examples.

 

  1. Creativity – Kids are imaginative. They can get the most out of your gift when you give them a toy that encourages their creativity. Craft materials, journals and notebooks, construction toys, and nonfiction books for learning are excellent options.

Final Thoughts

Consider these buying tips when searching for the best toys for nine-year-olds. With the kind of energy and imagination they have, you should find something creative, exciting, and useful. Since they are at a crucial stage of development, the kind of toy gifts you give can mold them as better individuals. Give them gifts that they can cherish all throughout their childhood.

 

 

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Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas from Target

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

A month ago during Mother’s Day, I told the story of how my son and I took the short drive to Target to purchase Mother’s Day gifts. My wife was perfectly delighted with what we picked out for her there.

Undeniably and by default, we are a Target family. We are there all throughout the week. Just a few days ago, I did an Instragram on how I finally spent some of my birthday money there on some good music:

nickshellwritesFinally getting around to spending some birthday money. #target

nickshellwrites Finally getting around to spending some birthday money. #target

Right now I’m thinking of the lyrics from the song “Spend Your $$$”, from Walk the Moon’s CD that I bought: “What do you spend your money on?”

With my wife and I being Dave Ramsey followers, we live by the concept of having designated “blow money”. Everything else goes to pay bills or it goes into our savings, which is how we recently bought a new car and already had the money in the bank.

When I think about it, though, when I do spend my money, I spend a good amount of my “blow money” at Target.

Well, the folks at Target had no idea about any of this; nor were they aware of my Mother’s Day post or about my birthday money Instagram. So it is a complete coincidence that Target reached out to me a few days ago and asked me to do a “Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Idea” post, simply based on the fact I am one of America’s most popular daddy bloggers.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

Merona Men’s Sleep Pants in Black, $14.99

Men’s Accessories Surf Sunglasses in Black, $14.99

Bevel Shave System Starter Kit, $89.95

Nate Berkus Cross Hatch Ceramic Photo Frame, $12.99

Bose® SoundSport® In-Ear Headphone, $99.99

Threshold Wall Mount Bear Bottle Opener, $7.99

A+ Men’s Eddie Sneakers in Tan, $34.99

Merona Men’s Weekender Bag in Navy, $29.99

S’ip by S’well Blue Raspberry Gummy Stainless Steel Water Bottle 15oz, $24.99

Merona Men’s Dopp Kit in Black, $12.99

Merona Men’s Five Link Bracelet Watch in Gunmetal, $19.99

Merona Men’s Bi-Fold Wallet in Black, $12.99

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

C9 Champion® – Men’s Softshell Jacket Ebony Heather, $49.99

Men’s Dad/Kid Sock Sets Pair of Thieves, $9.99

Merona Men’s Pique Polo in Grey, $12.99

Merona Men’s Belt in Cognac, $14.99

Merona Men’s Tie in Navy Pindot, $19.99

‘Dad’ Copper Mug, $39.99

Fitbit Alta Activity and Sleep Tracker, $129.99

Room Essentials 3 Piece BBQ Tool Set with Colored Handles, $10.00

iDevices iGrill Mini Thermometer, $35.99

Threshold Bryant Faux Wood Patio Bar Cart, $90.99

Threshold Beer Pint Decal 6-Piece Glass Set, $11.99

They sent me a nice new, classy belt (I desperately needed one!) as well as some leather sneakers (okay, I admit- I own more shoes than my wife, but I can always handle more!).

I say dads are easy to pick gifts for. As for me, I like practical stuff. So if you’re still trying to figure out what to get Dad for Father’s Day weekend, I suggest just go by Target.

As a husband and a dad, I can tell you for a fact that Target is always one of the easiest places for me to spend gift cards. (It’s the main place my wife and I were registered for our newborn daughter.) It really is one of my favorite stores. I consider it an honor they reached out to me to help people figure out what to get Dad for Father’s Day.

Last Minute Father’s Day Gift Ideas at Target

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

I’ve spent nearly a decade working in the transportation industry. (I do that in addition to blogging and making videos for my YouTube channel.)

It’s simple common knowledge to me but I have to remind myself that most retail consumers are probably unaware of it:

You’re typically more likely to find better sales during the end of the month; which is when retailers are most desperate to move out inventory before the new month begins, because then they have to pay taxes on the inventory they didn’t sell.

I refuse to be the guy who pays full price for anything. And I don’t simply want a sale, I want the best sale.

Granted, there will obviously always be exceptions, like certain holiday clearance sales; but I have made and do make a living of off of this principle that retail stores typically save their best sales each month for those last 2 weeks.

So be at the right place at the right time. Wait until the next to the last Tuesday of the month before you buy what you want.

That’s what our family did last Saturday when we made a trip to Old Navy.

I created this “Old Navy Haul” video, which explains this concept, in addition to showing what I bought and for how much. It ends which my son hosting a “pants party”; a concept he invented recently.

My video features my newest song, “The Mandatory Dance,” which I wrote and performed for an upcoming episode of my super hero series, Jack-Man.

So keep this in mind the next time you plan a shopping trip. Make those coupons count more by buying when prices are predictably lower. Take advantage of the situation instead of letting it take advantage of you.

Please feel free to share any similar tips with me here. You may teach me something!

Saving Your Family Money by Buying Retail at the End of the Month

The Ninja Turtle Pinball Machine: Impulse Buying Infographic

Even though Christmas shopping for my son was pretty much complete a couple of months ago, he recently became fascinated by the concept of owning a pinball machine.

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In fact, it was the only thing he asked Santa for at Bass Pro Shop.

So in an order to help Santa out, I checked out Target. I’d already found a cheap, tiny made-in-China type of thing at a party store earlier that day; the kind you’d find in the bottom of a box of Rice Krispies.

But it was at Target that I found the perfect pinball machine for him:

A Ninja Turtles pinball machine, on sale for about $22 (from $25); which is more money than my wife and I agreed to spend to help Santa out on this.

My wife and I are strict Dave Ramsey followers. Therefore, every dollar is specifically accounted for. But in addition to our shared income budget, she and I also each have an annual stipend consisting of birthday and Christmas money from family to last us all year.

I texted my wife: “I am tempted just to spend my own money to buy this for him!”

It was the perfect opportunity for an impulse buy. He would be so happy and so surprised on Christmas morning to unwrap that!

But I thought about the gifts we had already bought him, and considered the other mysterious gifts he’ll get from others, and decided against buying the pinball machine.

If he really is disappointed with the “cereal prize pinball machine” he’s getting, he can spend his own money on the Ninja Turtle one at Target; though he probably won’t. He’ll probably spend it on Legos instead.

So I did it: I resisted the urge to make an impulse purchase. I’m almost surprised at myself.

I will close with an infographic that explains the psychology behind an impulse buy:

Generation Z Marketings Next Big Audience

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Is It Okay To Take Our Jogging Stroller To The Mall?

Predetermined and Preconceived Expectations (My Take on Encores, Bartering, and Who Pays for Dinner)

Yes, the title is redundant.  But there isn’t a more appropriate way to describe how ridiculous some of our modern traditions are.

Since the 7th grade, I have been to more concerts than I can count; starting from  when Christian rock music was still awesome (from 1992 to 1998) with now defunct bands like dc talk and Audio Adrenaline, to current favorites like Guster and John Mayer, to class acts like Michael Buble.  I love music and I love concerts.  (Yes, there are people who don’t actually like music at all.  They are the ones who say they like all music, including both rap and Country equally.)

After you’ve been to a few concerts, you become overaware of how virtually every concert will end:  After the “last song” is finished, the band hurries off the stage while saying “Good night (enter name of city where the concert is), you’ve been great!”  But the lights stay off in the auditorium or arena.  This gives the necessary opportunity for the audience to cheer “Encore!” or “We want more!” until the band predictably returns to the stage to perform a few more songs- where they typically include at least one acoustic version of one of their songs and also one of the band’s most notable songs they conveniently left out of the main set.

Fact: Encores are lame.  I say either [crap] or got off the pot.

In my mind, this concept clearly relates to the mostly un-American tradition of bartering.  During my first summer teaching English in Thailand, I paid full price for souvenirs.  If a price tag had said that an imposter Hard Rock Café: Bangkok t-shirt would cost me 7 or even 10 bucks, I paid it.  Because that sounded pretty reasonable to me.  But by the end of that first summer, as Thai friends starting accompanying me, I learned that the asking price was not meant to be taken seriously.  If the asking price was $10, the after-barter price was typically as low as $5 or even $3.50.

As an American, I had been used to finding my own way to negotiate prices in America: With coupons or Internet specials, or simply just “price shopping” until I found the store with the cheapest price.  I pride myself in never paying full price for anything if I can help it.  But in Thailand and in so many Third World and developing countries, there are no coupons or Internet specials.  Instead, you barter with the merchant.  Otherwise, you get hosed.

Unnecessary map of Koh Samui, Thailand

Granted, bartering does indeed exist in America.  Like when you buy a car, go to a garage sale, or buy something off of Craig’s List.  But typically it’s not worth my time to do business that way.  I’d rather spend my time finding the product somewhere else where the price is firm and already low.  Otherwise, I will not be an active consumer.

Fact: Bartering is lame.  Instead of getting involved with the predictable “buyer asks too low a price, seller asks too high a price” banter, I will simply find another way to buy the product.

Lastly in my trilogy of examples is the awkward game of “who’s paying for dinner?”  If I am going to buy someone’s dinner, I am very clear with them up front before we arrive at the restaurant: “I am taking you to dinner.  I really appreciate how you (I name the reason I am buying their meal, even if it’s as simple as thanking them for their general kindness and friendship).”  There is no guessing to be done.  I am buying their meal.

That means when the waiter comes by the table when it’s time to pay up and asks, “Will this be together or separate?” there is no grabbing for the bill by both me and the other person.  I don’t like the feeling that I owe someone for anything unless there’s a good reason for it.  So this whole idea that “you bought my meal this time, so I’ll buy yours next time”, it doesn’t work for me.  Because then I have that “IOU” hanging over my head.  Let’s make it simple.  If you want to buy my meal, tell me up front.  As I will do the same.  Otherwise, it’s assumed that we’re paying separately and the only bill anyone grabs for at the end is their own.

Fact: I can’t truly enjoy a meal if I think there’s a chance that I am expected in the least to grab the other person’s bill.

I live a simple life where clear-cut expectations make me happy.  This is my version of reality.



Reading the Backs of Cereal Boxes for Entertainment

The childhood habit lives on in me today.

An important part of being a kid at the grocery store with your mom was getting to decide which goofy cereal to commit to that week.  My mom always let my sister and I each pick out our own box of cereal to enjoy for the next seven days, given that the first ingredient was not sugar.  Back then, in the late ‘80’s and early ‘90’s, the Major Three (Kellogg’s, General Mills, and Post) were all about competing with each other by seeing who could give the coolest toy in the bottom of the box.

But aside from the rainbow colored oat bits, unnecessary marshmallows, and the free sticky octopus toy that would cling to the wall when you threw it, there was still that entertaining back of the cereal box to look at.  Mazes, crossword puzzles, “can you find?…” pictures.  Enough entertainment to stay preoccupied to the point that you almost forget your brother or sister is sitting there just a few feet away trying to find Barney Rubble hiding behind a Stegosaurus on the back of the Fruity Pebbles box.

Because without the barriers of those boxes in front of us at the kitchen table, that meant that we might accidently look at each other, or purposely look at each other, to “bother” the other person.  As a kid, there were a plethora of ways to be annoyed by your sibling, and for some reason, being looked at was one of them.  I thought it was just my sister and I that had to read the backs of cereal boxes so we “wouldn’t have to look at each other”, but after recently walking down the cereal isle at Publix with my wife, revisiting our favorite childhood cereals, I learned it was the same way at her house.  So I can only assume this is an American phenomenon- an expected part of Saturday morning breakfasts.

Now as an adult, I still read the backs of my cereal boxes.  Learned habit, I’m sure.  I have to admit though, the back of the box of Shredded Wheat isn’t quite as fun as Lucky Charms always was.  And of course, no free prize at the bottom of the box either.