A Few of Their Favorite Things: Gift Ideas for Kids
Now, mind you, I am surrounded by boys. I have a 5 year old son, 11, 13 and 18 year old nephews. So, I’ve really only ever shopped for boys! But every once in awhile I’ve bought a gift for a little cousin, or a friend’s daughter, so I do know a few things that speak to little girls too.
I also don’t really buy into gendered stereotypes though, or even suggested age ranges. I feel it is up to the parents to know what their kiddo will like best and what is most age appropriate for where they are developmentally! So, this is just one big list of gift ideas. Pick and choose to best meet your needs.
I actually find that kids are the easiest to shop for. The littler they are, the easier they seem to be to please. However, as they get older, things can get a little more complicated.
In any sense, I’m sharing a few ideas for gifts that have been hits for me and the kids in my life, to make your life a little easier this holiday season.
Again, most of these gifts will fall in the under $50 range, since budgets are tight these days. And again, prices posted in this guide are subject to change. To snag the sale prices advertised at the time of publishing, act quickly!
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Gifts for Kids – $50 & Under
As creepy as it is, kids love this 46-in. Bozo Bop Bag! We were first introduced to this at a friend’s child’s birthday party last August and my son wanted one immediately. So, we got him one for Christmas last year. It’s on sale for $17.09 as part of Kohl’s Black Friday sale right now. You might enjoy bopping this bag around too. Especially the adorable little squeak it makes when you punch Bozo in the nose.
My mom got this Let’s Feed the Very Hungry Caterpillar Game for my son on a trip to California a couple of years ago, and he still enjoys playing it at 5 1/2 years old. This is a quick and easy family game, that is great as a starter borad game for younger children. Plus, we all know and love the beloved book The Very Hungry Caterpillar, so it’s a fun spin on the old classic. Kohl’s has this on sale for $13.49 as part of their Black Friday sale!
Speaking of games, my friend Sarah who has five children, told me about the Yeti in My Spaghetti game, which is also a fun one for small children. It basically comes with a bowl full of fake spaghetti noodles and a little Yeti figurine. You pile him on top of the spaghetti and take turns pulling out one noodle at a time, hoping he doesn’t fall into the bowl! It’s kind of like “pick up sticks” like many of us played as children, but with a fun twist. This family game runs for $12.89 at Target.
For some reason my son is obsessed with this toy he got when he was a baby. I’ve tried getting rid of it a few times now that he’s a little older, but he has saved it from the Goodwill donation bag more than once. It’s special to him, and I’m not entirely sure why, but that means it’s a winner in my book. It’s the VTech Count & Chomp Dino that he can pull around on a little string and also feed fruits and vegetables. Kohl’s has it on sale for $18.99.
I’m sure you’ve seen these around, but the Casdon Toys DC24 Dyson Ball Toy Vacuum is a hit with kids. We have the actual Dyson Ball Vacuum that looks just like this, so it is adorable when we go to vacuum and he pulls out his little kid’s toy version. I will say, while it is advertised to actually vacuum, the dust cup is so so tiny, that it really does nothing. So, don’t get your hopes up that your kid will actually help vacuum the floors with this one. It’s truly just for fun in my opinion. Target has it for $26.99 which is a decent price for this!
I scored this FAO Schwarz DJ Mixer Toy Music Mat on clearance for around $20 this summer, which was a STEAL. It is a two player game so if you have more than one kiddo, this is something they can actually do together. It comes with 6 built-in tracks featuring a variety of music styles, like Hip Hop, EDM an Pop. It is currently on sale at Macy’s for $39.99!
The Sharper Image RC Robotic Trainable Robotosaur was last year’s Christmas gift from Santa and he still plays with it to date. He asked for a robot for Christmas and this was my spin on it. It is currently on sale for $41.99 (down from $59.99) at Kohl’s. He can sniff, prowl, growl and roar and his eyes change color depending on his mood.
My mom has previously given my nephews subscriptions to Highlights Magazine as gifts and I think this is a wonderful idea. I remember receiving the monthly magazine myself as a child and I was always eager to read it. It was the magazine I reached for at the doctor’s office during visits as well. They have a subscription for younger kids (recommended age range of 2-5) called High Five that runs for $29.64/year. The price goes down if you subscribe for longer periods of time. The older kids version (6-12) is the same price.
Speaking of subscriptions, my son has been getting monthly Kiwi Crates from KiwiCo all summer long. They have a wide variety of crates, all with a STEM related theme for kids of all ages from 0-104! They are also running a Black Friday special that will get you 1, 2 or 4 months FREE depending on the length of the subscription you select. Monthly subscriptions start at $9.95. We opted for the Deluxe Monthly Subscription which comes with a book as well. My husband and son have enjoyed making these together each month. It’s the gift that keeps on giving all year round!
If you are members of the Willy St. Co-op like we are, they are offering Holiday Gift Boxes, including one for kids this year! The Kid’s Box includes candy (for stockings!), socks, bath bombs, a bath toy, a puzzle, sketchbook and colored pencils. This seems like a great gift for all ages and they are $50 each. You can order for curbside pick up, or have them ship one to you. Something like this makes gift giving super easy! So, this would be great for sending to someone you maybe can’t see this holiday season due to the pandemic.
A little birdy told me (in the form of a monthly newsletter) that the Madison Children’s Museum will also be offering holiday craft kits for $50 (for non-members, or $45 if you are members) this season, which will be available on their web site starting Friday, November 27th. Each box will include everything you need to make four different crafts, including dyed-silk scarves, a planter, a winter house, and string art. Be sure to check the web site on Friday because there will only be 100 available and I’m sure they will go fast!
Gifts for Kids – Over $50
Tegu Magnetic Wooden Blocks have been a hit in our house, for both kids and adults alike. They are made in Honduras out of sustainable hardwood and come in a variety of sets and colors. Tegu blocks won the Toy of the Year Award in 2014. It is a great way to foster creativity, but also provides a fun spin on traditional blocks. I recommend you get a set with wheels so you can make a few cars too, like this 52 Piece Original Set which is currently priced at $140 at Walmart. They have smaller sets that are more reasonably priced, such as this 14 piece set currently on sale at Michaels for $43.49. A smaller set like this one for $32.24 that comes with a carrying pouch is also great for traveling!
In keeping with the magnetic theme, Magna-Tiles are always a hit as well and come in a variety of different sets. We have the 37 piece Magna-Tiles Clear Colors set from Target, which is currently $58.99, which to be honest never feels like quite enough. Which is why I would recommend the 74 piece set for $99.99 instead.
Now, I’ll admit we were lucky enough to find this guy fully assembled at Goodwill for just $5 (steal of the century!), but the Meccano 2.0 Personal Robot would be a fantastic gift for any kid that is interested in STEM fields. Or just likes robots. Stock is low at Walmart, but they have it for $229.99. It’s fun for adults too because he does actually take commands and can do silly things like karate and ballet. He also says fun phrases like “Word to your Motherboard.” I know Amazon has these too.
Speaking of Mothers…the Mother of all Gifts this year is probably a trampoline. Which were impossible to get your hands on earlier this summer, along with inflatable swimming pools. However, Kohl’s has several available and if you are planning ahead for next summer, this Upper Bounce SKYTRIC 15-ft. Trampoline is $100 off right now at $399.99 and comes with $120 in Kohl’s cash as part of their Black Friday deals. So, that’s a deal you probably want to jump on! (Haha, get it?) I will say, trampolines make me nervous though…buy and use at your own risk!
Lastly, my husband just surprised the family with this RCA 720P HD Home Theater Projector which comes with a Roku Streaming Stick! It is a pretty amazing deal at $99 and the quality has been really good. We’ve already brought this outside for a socially distant outdoor family movie night with one other family, and have hooked it up to the Wii to play Mario Cart on the BIG screen. I would highly recommend this as a fun gift for the whole family!
I hope a few of these ideas will work for you this holiday season!
Happy holidays and happy shopping!