When the payload under the Christmas tree yields plenty of expensive toys from Mom and Dad, how do other relatives compete? Especially when you have half a dozen, maybe a dozen or more, nieces and nephews and assorted children for which to buy gifts?
Maybe it’s time to go old-school. Get a little funky and try something different. Here are 10 cool gifts you can buy kids for $10 or less. Remember, we did our shopping early in the month and most of these items weren’t on sale – so they could be even cheaper when you buy them. Also remember that prices can vary by store in different parts of the country. But we’re in the ballpark.
Here’s what we found.
Shimmer Glitter Tattoos are just the thing for the pre-teen who wants to look cool but isn’t ready for the real deal. They paint on with a stencil, are bright and sparkly, and wash or wear off in about 10 days. For ages 8 and older only. Bed, Bath and Beyond, $9.99. We found some even cheaper ones (though not as shiny) at Walmart and Target.
Walkie-talkies are so retro, and kids just love them. We found Hello Kitty Walkie Talkies for $9.99 at Marshall’s. Yes, they’re pink. But we can’t imagine a boy in the world who wouldn’t be intrigued by them anyway. Recommended for ages 7 and older.
How about some board games? Tell the kids they are 3-D – you get to actually touch and move the pieces yourself! We found Operation, Yahtzee, Chutes and Ladders, checkers, chess and more, all for less than $10 at Target and Walmart.
And don’t forget card games. You can buy a pack of cards for less than $5 just about anywhere – including the corner convenience store. Teach kids to play some simple games, like “go fish” or simple solitaire, and they won’t be pestering mom the next time it’s a snow day or the power goes out.
Hula hoops are back – and they’re sparkly and glow in the dark and what-not. We found them for $5.99 at Target. Besides being fun, they’re good exercise for TV-bound kids.
Snow toys are great if you live somewhere that gets snow. A simple saucer-style sled was $5.99 at Target. Sno-Brick Makers, plastic molds you fill with snow to make bricks to build igloos and forts, were just $2.99. What creative fun they can have with those.
Got a budding artist (or would like to have one) in the family? Check out the art supplies at discount stores for great prices on such retro media as fingerpaints and a giant tablet of paper ($4.99 each at Target, possibly cheaper elsewhere). We’re not talking high-tech here, and they may be totally thrilled by getting their hands dirty.
Kids love wildlife. How about a simple birdfeeder to hang in the back yard so they can watch the birds, and maybe start a list of what they see? Get a basic feeder for less than $10 at places like Walmart or Kmart, but we were particularly charmed by a wooden feeder you paint or stain yourself, available for $4.99 at Michael’s craft store. You’ll have enough left to buy a small bag of starter feed. They can identify birds online. Just click here.
Give a kid a magnifying glass, and she’ll spend hours examining everything from her own fingernails to the ants in the backyard. You can get a pretty nice one for $5.99 at Walgreen’s (look in the stationery department). Perfect for the budding scientist in the family. Or any curious kid.
You think an exercise ball is just to keep you in shape? Not so. Kids love them. They’ll sit and bounce on them, play a gentle game of giant dodge ball in the back yard, and even exercise on them (if you show them how). This is a seriously good way to get them to use some muscles instead of just being couch potatoes. We found a Gold’s Gym ball for $8.77 at Walmart.
Look for kids’ gifts in unexpected places – Home Depot or Ace Hardware, for example. They’ll get plenty of the hard plastic stuff – Barbies and Legos and such, from everyone else. But they’ll use and remember your gift. Betcha!
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