Tips to find great gifts for kids that will keep them engaged for hours

(BPT) - The challenge when finding the perfect gift for a child's birthday party or special occasion is finding a gift that will keep the kid's interest for longer than just a few hours. After all, no one wants to spend time and money on a toy or game and then see it collecting dust on the shelves.

Finding those toys and games that will capture and hold a child's interest takes a little bit of talent, some luck and knowledge of what's happening in the industry. Here are some tips to help you with the next birthday-gift search for the youngster in your family.

* Toys or games that relate to an interest - A quick question posed to the child's mother or father will help you determine what he or she already loves to play with. It might be action figures, dolls, animal toys or something else. If they are already hooked, finding the newest or latest character in the line will ensure success. Just be sure to find one they don't already have.

* Activities that evolve as the child matures - Kids grow quickly, and as they grow, their interests change. Some games and toys are designed to develop with children and to keep their interests engaged by adding new features that appeal to older ages. For example, if the child on your list loves playing with a set of building blocks, adding a second set in a different pattern or design opens doors for her to build a new project, or combine the blocks together to create a new, unique design. As the child grows, she'll have the tools she needs to challenge her creativity.

* Games that cross between reality and the virtual world - Video games give children plenty of challenges, whether it be navigating through environments, solving puzzles or strategically defeating enemies. Skylanders Trap Team, which was showcased at the E3 video game convention in Los Angeles, is a prime example of a game that sparks kids' imaginations through inventive gameplay and fun, engaging characters. The fourth installment of the franchise that pioneered the concept of bringing toys to life advances this year by introducing a new mechanic that lets kids capture defeated villains and pull them into their living room. With an all new cast of characters, including the newly introduced female Trap Master toy Gearshift, kids will love trapping the villains and magically transport them from Skylands into the real world to help fight for good. Skylanders Trap Team also works with the more than 175 unique heroes from all previous games, providing children with hours of entertainment and fun.

Finding toys and games that fit into these categories will ensure you've given the child on your shopping list a present that will remain in play for a very long time.

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