Granted, the video game crowd is hard to impress, but every kid deserves a goody-filled stocking on Christmas morning. To keep from breaking the bank on this beloved Christmas tradition, think cheap when you’re looking for stocking stuffers.
Traditional stocking stuffers that are relatively inexpensive and easily found at places like Walgreens and Target include crayons, markers, coloring books, jump ropes and balls. But if you’re look for something a little different, here are some stocking stuffers that should cost you less than a Hamilton.
Note: Prices fluctuate so you may find them to be higher or lower, but these are all excellent, inexpensive choices for last-minute kids’ stocking stuffers.
Playfoam: This stuff is so neat to play with. You can mold Playfoam into shapes, roll it, and squish it around, and it’s great to strengthen fine motor skills and dexterity. It’s not as messy as Play-doh and it doesn’t dry out. The pack can be cut in half and used for 2 stockings.
Wikki Stix: Wikki Stix are flexible wax sticks that can be used to create shapes, letters, or even build small structures. They’re great to use while waiting in a restaurant or when kids just need to fidget.
Magazines or books: These days you can get a magazine subscription for a bargain, or you can pick up an issue of their favorite type of magazine or comic book in a store. Another inexpensive option is to stop by a used book store and pick up a book in their favorite genre.
Flingers: Buy a pack of these and split them up among the nieces and nephews, but be warned — while the kids will unanimously name you “funnest adult ever,” their parents might uninvite you from family gatherings. You weren’t planning to go this year anyway, right? So take a shot by stuffing the kids’ stockings with these chicken finger slingshots.
Fidget toys. Kids love toys that they can fidget with. Whether you choose a fidget spinner, pocket fidget puzzle, or other tinker toy, these options can calm an anxious child. Just make sure you know the school’s rules of using these during class.
Small games or cards: Monopoly Deal, Uno, Travel Scavenger Hunt Card Game, Old Maid, War, playing cards, or even Mad Libs make for good electronic-free time spent with family or friends
Die-cast cars and trucks: This old-fashioned mainstay of kids’ toys is back in again — and in a big way. Now the selection goes way beyond the usual Hot Wheels or Matchbox cars; you can buy die-cast tractors, monster trucks, the Space Shuttle, and just about any other type of die-cast vehicle.
This top-selling die-cast Monster Truck duo would make a great last-minute stocking stuffer for kids.
Temporary tattoos or kids’ nail polish: Let them express their style in a easy-to-remove way.
Grow capsules: Bath time fun, or fun at the sink watching them expand into shapes. You’ll often find these Grow Capsules along with magic expanding washcloths at the dollar store.
Silly glasses. These zany drinking glasses would zing the tickle bone of many kids. What’s more fun than sending your Kool-Aid on a trip around your head before you drink it?
Stickers. What is it about kids and stickers? They love to peel them and stick them. For them, the cheapest ones will do. For older kids, peg this gift to their interests — trains, cars, princesses, etc. These emoji stickers are fun, too. They bring the texting world onto paper. There are also plenty of options at the Dollar Stores, so these are easy to pick up at the last minute.
Retro toys! How about a nose flute, a parachute toy or a bag of marbles. Many of the toys you played with as a child are still around, and for good reason. They’re fun! Choose old-fashioned jacks, yo-yos, or a Slinky.
Play-doh: Kids love to create, and Play-doh is a great tool for this type of play!
Character or decorative band aids: Cuts and scrapes always feel better when adorned by a decorative band-aid
Art supplies: Markers, colored pencils, crayons, color gel pens, paint, washi tape or whatever medium your budding artist prefers
Sidewalk chalk. Release the inner artist in your child with sidewalk chalk in a profusion of cool colors. If you live in a snowy area, the hard part will be waiting for the sidewalks to be cleared.
Water bottle: Get them new reusable water bottle – you could even fill it treats, stickers, or other small surprises for a 2 in 1 gift!
Bubble bath or bath bombs: For kids who enjoy a soak in the tub, these additions are a fun treat
Fun socks: Until the washer stops eating socks, your kids will always need more socks. Pick out a fun pair, and they won’t think of it as a boring, practical gift.
Chocolate gold coins: You can usually find these in dollar stores or with holiday candy displays.
Slime or putty: Kids LOVE slime. If “Santa” buys it for them, maybe they won’t make a mess of your kitchen trying to DIY slime! Find it in your dollar store or Target dollar spot. These glitter putty eggs can be purchased by the dozen.
Hair accessories: Girls can NEVER have too many hair accessories…they seem to disappear daily!
Jewelry: It’s easy to find inexpensive earrings and rings for at jewelry discount stores in the mall.
Toothbrush: It’s probably time to replace anyway, and their favorite character or color of toothbrush will make the “chore” of brushing more fun.
Fruit, fruit snacks, and gum: We always found these in our stockings on Christmas morning, so they just feel like tradition to me. Skip the orange or banana route and get creative by giving them a pomegranate, starfruit, or other fruit you don’t typically have around.
Don’t forget the most important item in any kid’s stocking–candy (think chocolate, chocolate, chocolate).