For parents and grandparents, buying toys for their child or grandchild is a pretty simple process. They already know what kinds of toys their child likes and dislikes, and therefore have a pretty good idea as to what to look for when they begin the shopping process. But for those of you out there who don’t have kids of your own, the process may not be so simple.

Let’s face it – at some point in almost everyone’s life, they will have to buy a gift for a child. Maybe you are a first-time aunt or uncle, or perhaps one of your good friends just had a baby. Whatever the case may be, the easiest solution for buying gifts for children is and always will be buying them a toy. But there’s a simpler way to find the right toy for a child than aimlessly walking down the aisles of a toy store and picking out something you “hope” the child will like. Here are a few simple steps to follow to make sure you are buying a gift that both the child (and his or her parents) will enjoy.

First off, determine if the gift will be for a boy or girl. This may seem like a no-brainer, and in many ways it is. Obviously you don’t want to buy a doll for a boy or a model train set for a girl. But there are a lot of toys on the market these days that can be considered “gender ambiguous”, or in other words, an option for either a boy or a girl. How can you determine if these toys are a good option for the child you are buying a gift for? Many toy websites will categorize toys by their popularity amongst boys and girls, and give you a list of options to choose from.

Next, you want to be sure you pick out an age-appropriate toy. As children continue to grow, their minds become more developed and they are able to comprehend more complex toys as they get older. Again, start by selecting the boy or girl option on the website. Then you can filter the selections down even more by selecting a specific age group. Let’s say you are shopping for a 3-year-old girl. In that case, you might want to look here. But if it’s a 12-year-old boy you are shopping for, here would be a good place to start. If you want to keep your options open and shop for both boys and girls at a specific age group, you can do that as well by selecting the Shop by Age feature.

Now if you’ve really done your homework and you have a specific genre of toy in mind, you might try searching toys by their category. For example, if you are buying for a child who really enjoys music, you might start your search in the Music and Video Toys section. Or if you happen to be shopping for an aspiring artist, the Arts and Crafts Toys section would probably be a great place to look first. Or let’s say you get a recommendation from a savvy toy-buying parent who likes a particular line of toys.  You can search by specific toy brands by clicking the Shop by Brand feature.

Hopefully these helpful steps will make the toy-buying process a lot easier for you in the future. There are few better feelings than seeing the excited look on a child’s face when you’ve bought him or her the perfect toy as a gift. And the more educational the gift is, the happier the parents will be too!