Knowing our personality type helps us learn, grow and communicate as adults, so imagine how helpful that information can be when it comes to dealing with our kids. Whether you are a parent, teacher or relative, knowing how your tiny human is wired can help you communicate and nurture more effectively.
Read through our list of 10 common personality traits found in children, along with some gift ideas that might engage their unique qualities.
The Sensitive Child
Let's listen to the wind in the trees!
The Sensitive Child seems to feel everything, and often picks up on other people’s feelings before the average person. Cluttered and busy environments may cause these empaths to become overwhelmed more easily than other children. When we provide activities such as sorting objects, like beans or marbles, they can slow down, be in a calm space, and organize their thoughts.
Choose gifts that provide a stable outlet, something soothing compared to the variables in the day to day. Look for items that are predictable in movement or outcome, but variable in input to feed open-ended play. For example, our Marble Tree has just enough varied movement to allow for hours of play. There’s a constant start and finish, with changing marble music in between.
Let's go on an adventure!
Explorers like to wander around, and touch and feel every single thing they pass. This child loves to be involved in the process of anything and everything, and in turn, enjoys learning new things. They have the desire to discover the world, so let’s try bringing the world to them!
Try to think about items and experiences that will aid your child’s exploration and sensory play. Globes, books, and the great outdoors are all great ways to keep their mind engaged. A fun gift idea is presenting a toy to take along on their adventures, or maybe a planned adventure itself! A wooden train or plane might be a great way of kickstarting the imagination while exploring (and are much easier to clean than stuffies!)
Would you like to create with me?
The Artist’s creativity can take on many forms – and remember to look beyond just fridge-worthy pieces of art. If your child colors outside the lines, take time to ask what he or she is thinking about while coloring, or stir up conversation about the other senses involved such as what the feel and sound of the crayon against the paper is like. Gross and fine motor movements involved in creating visual art are just as important as the final product itself, so let your artist create both small and large pieces with a variety of materials. Young minds have no limits, and anything can be used to create and express what words sometimes can’t.
A great gift might be to make a space in your home where a little mess is encouraged and embraced. Our child-sized table is perfect for this space! Large enough to accommodate multiple children, yet small enough to fit in small spaces, you’ll find this table a versatile investment that lasts multiple generations. Perfect for paint, clay and other traditional art supplies, this children’s work station also serves as a lovely space for building blocks or a tea party with stuffies.
Can you help me set this up?
The Visionary tends to act more like a miniature adult and act more maturely than their age suggests. This kid asks good questions, accepts honest answers, and has no difficulty communicating with adults. It can be hard for us grown-ups to remember that Visionaries are still kids, because they are already becoming our best friends.
This year, try including your young Visionary when picking out gifts for other friends and family. If you are planning or attending a party, we recommend choosing gifts that fuel independence and allow the child to mirror adult processes. These kids enjoy the challenge of games with a little strategy involved, and they thrive with toys made for open-ended, mindful play.
The Zen Child
Can you show me where everything goes?
An overall calm and optimistic being, the Zen Child tends to bring light into our lives. These kiddos take time to stop and enjoy the rain, soak up the sounds and smells around them, and are generally quick to mirror routines. We are humbly reminded as adults to intentionally take time to live in the moment and enjoy the space, time, and people we are with right now.
When thinking about gifts for the Zen Child, know that they have the unique ability to grow along with their playthings, so don’t limit toy choices only to items labeled for their current age! Toys intended for older (or younger) children are happily adapted for all kinds of imaginative worlds. We suggest both toys that can be played with alone or along with other people. Items with moving parts and lots of pieces help keep these minds engaged and inspired.
Tell me what you see!
The Wallflower might appear a little shy and introverted, but remember, they are often astute observers! They may take a minute to warm up to new friends and family, and prefer quiet and solitary environments. This habit helps our little Wallflowers absorb the world around them and see things others don’t initially pick up on, much like the Sensitive Child. They are a gift to us all, as they inspire and remind us to slow down and take a look around once in a while!
Games, puzzles and books are great gift options for these children, because they can be used alone or with one other person. This personality might also appreciate items to uniquely enhance their personal space or keep organized such as a rocking chair or personalized toy chest.
Would you like to help me water the plants?
You’ll notice the Caregiver tending to their dolls, toys, plants and pets. Their inner-adult comes out when given things on their scale to look after. They are sensitive and observant, and nurturing at heart. Caregiver types might ask for a puppy (or a pony!), but if this isn’t an option, try starting off with a live plant.
Dolls and doll furniture are perfect for these nurturing souls, along with our farm animals, bus with people, and other playsets encouraging meaningful, caring play. While some parents loathe toys with many pieces, you’ll be amazed at the variety of characters, events, and storylines your child can make when given a variety. Play figures and animals offer endless possibilities to practice for the real world or re-enact the events of their days. To tackle having too many small pieces, have your youngster help separate the tiny toys and figures into small bags or containers that can be grabbed one at a time.
Can you teach me how this works?
The Thinker is often known as “the one who asks lots of questions”. This child applies their mind to everything from implementing new methods and processes to common tasks, to questioning rules in a game. Thinkers are driven by a need for understanding and connecting new information to what they already know, so sometimes deeper explanation is necessary. During these explanations, don’t skimp on the big words! Children exposed to a broad vocabulary pick up more than you can imagine, and it helps them express themselves clearly to others.
Gifts for these kids should stimulate their minds, make them wonder, and provoke inquisition. Books, blocks, machines, tools, and anything kid-powered can all help these Thinkers ask good questions and become more deeply immersed in the world around them.
The Wild Child
Show me what you’ve found!
The wild streak in some children might just be their raw passion looking for an outlet! Much like the Explorer, a Wild Child is always up for hands-on discovery. This child might be a little less restrained and less organized than their parents and mentors, but what amazing life is inside of these “Wild Children”. As adults, we have the power to help channel and redirect their energy before parts of the world try to stifle and extinguish it.
When looking for gifts, we find that toys with moving parts can spark wonderful adventures! Our stick horse is a great companion to running outside or role playing indoors.
Tell me a story!
The Performer often serves as the initiator of their friend group. These children might appear more extroverted than others, and they know how to be heard. They are engaging storytellers and creatives, and their imagination knows no limits.
Toys for role-play such as furniture and kitchen sets help Performers be the star of their story. A personalized toy chest to hold costumes and props for their next show can also double as a small stage!
As you have read through this, we hope this list brought you some fresh perspective about your kiddos. While we are parents and spend a lot of time with children, we are by no means experts in the field of psychology – we just make toys and want to be sure there is something for everyone, including the child in all of us, because aren’t we all just children in larger packaging?
Speaking of adults, perhaps there’s a “big kid” in your life, who would love a new toy for their office or bookshelf! Something to fidget with or spark creativity in the midst of normal life. Whoever is on your gift list, remember that no one is ever too old to stop playing.