Ann Gadd author of Better Parenting with the Enneagram
Shopping for that special gift for a unique child? Here are kids’ gift ideas based on their Enneagram types. When you go online or head to the local toy store, you are surrounded by a sea of exciting options. The trouble is, you have no clue what this child (especially if it’s not your own child) might want. In the past, it was easy: Building blocks, dolls, books, or, for the more well-heeled kids, scale electric car sets. My grandfather, then aged nine, wrote in his diary how he was thrilled to receive an orange for Christmas. Give that to a kid today, and if the orange isn’t a disguised robot that explodes candy or alien bullets, you may find grateful thanks not forthcoming.
And kids are so dammed honest. When your gift creates as much enthusiasm as a trip to the dentist, you realize your best efforts have gone to waste. Of course, some old favorites will generally appeal to most Enneagram-types of children, such as building blocks, computer games, cars, dolls, and playdough, when it comes to what toys to buy. But certain toys or toy categories may be enjoyed more by certain types. So, if you have some idea of the child’s Enneagram type, knowing what type of toys inspire could win you the “best gift” prize.
Note: When reviewing kids’ gift ideas based on their Enneagram types, also look at the Enneagram wings and Points of Stretch and Release. The Instinctual Drives will also play a definite role in toy choices. Generally, though the following can apply:
Type Ones could be attracted to self-improving toys and books. They would typically enjoy toys that aren’t messy such as pencil coloring-in books, spelling flashcards, reading cards (so they can play pretend teacher), and puzzles. Rules are enjoyed by Ones (and they don’t want those who break them), so board games may be of interest. Dolls’ houses they can keep spick and span are an option. Anything that involves sorting will appeal and toys that teach while having fun, such as a toy cash register or educational books.
Twos enjoy being in friendships, so they’ll be attracted to toys that connect them to other kids and provide ways to be liked. Tea sets, jewelry kits (to make a friend pretty), and doctor or nurse sets, could work well. Toys that need tending are a good bet, such as dolls that can drink, toy ponies, paper dolls, doll dress-up kits, and cute toys.
Three kids look for toys where they can achieve or accomplish things (to gain your praise or their peers’ admiration). The latest trendy or branded toy or clothing items and accessories such as watches, bracelets, or kiddie sunglasses give them the status they desire: “All the cool kids have them.” Apart from the counter-type, Threes generally enjoy being on stage, so microphones, musical instruments, play stages, or puppets would work. They would also enjoy competitive games or even sporting equipment.
Fours want to express themselves and have others see them as unique. Exploring different personas will be enjoyed, so dress-up outfits (pirates, aliens, super-heroes, etc.,) face painting kits, and masks. Toys such as mermaids, mystical creatures, fairies, dinosaurs, unicorns, or books that appeal to their fantasy side keep them occupied. At the same time, mosaic kits, glitter glue, painting sets, and musical instruments allow them to express their creative selves. A toy that can act as an imaginary friend may also appeal.
Fives are seeking to enhance their knowledge with intellectually stimulating toys. Not wanting to be depleted by the demands of the world, they’re happy to play alone. It’s soothing being in a safe space. Books that teach information such as birding, simple mechanics, identifying dinosaurs, different car types, or fun facts work. Books on science fiction, or draw your own comic books they also generally enjoy. Construction kits also appeal:- anything from Lego monsters, robots, dragons, or “build the solar system” sets. Periscopes, telescopes, and microscopes could interest older children, while nature kits, a bug jar, or ant farms provide hours of entertainment. Collectible toys, be they soldiers, dinosaurs, fantasy characters, or baseball cards, are good. Other suggestions are Junior science kits, National Geographic kids’ toys, robotics, sudoku, and Playstations.
These kids enjoy solving problems, playing with friends, and games that aren’t too scary. Paint with water books (you don’t have to choose the color), pet-care playsets, rescue dog collectible figures, tea sets, and Playstation could work. Sixes typically adore pets, so pet toys or an actual pet could work well, provided, if it’s not your child, the parents are entirely in agreement with raising a pet and the commitment it involves. Construction or engineering toys also work well, such as building robots, buildings, or monsters. Other options include farm animals, train sets, baking sets, dolls houses, puzzles, and sudoku. Musical instruments such as a guitar would work, along with books.
Upbeat young Type Sevens get easily bored. Any toy you give them will need to provide stimulation for their busy minds. Repetitive won’t work. They’re after opportunities for fun and pleasure. Activity toys such as Swingball, other ball games, goggles, an inflatable pool, slippery slides, a climbing activity set, bikes, roller-skates, a skateboard, tents, bodyboards, super-hero dress-up outfits, frisbees, scooters, or swords, or super-hero toys, could prevent boredom. Toys that move, such as remote-controlled toys, provided the controls allow enough variation, could work.
Little Eights are after toys that allow them to deploy their power or meet physical challenges. They want something that lets them display their leadership and strength. Action or combative toys, such as water rocket blasters, water pistols, or bow and arrow sets, they’ll love. Then there’s competitive physical games, punch/boxing bags, boxing gloves, baseball bats, and like Sevens, balls, bikes, scooters, or skateboards. Finally, drums, trumpets, and electric guitars will appeal more than flutes or violins if you want to encourage musical talent. Little Eights may also enjoy art kits that allow free expression instead of sticking to the rules or lines.
Nine children are attracted to toys where they can be supportive and helpful to others. They tend to avoid games that are likely to cause competitive conflict and tension. They’re generally creative, so painting sets, dressing-up outfits, sticker sets, clay, musical instruments, or drawing tools are enjoyed. Their desire for nurturing finds expression in cuddly toys, pet care playsets, baking, or tea sets. Nines enjoy board games to explore their competitive Three aspect without the fear of causing too much conflict, as a physical sport could do. Individual card games, puzzles, kites, and bubbles, allow them to immerse themselves into a comfortable, day-dreamy, alone space.
So that’s my take on kids’ gift ideas based on Enneagram types!