Better break out the wrapping paper and ribbon, because we're knee deep in holiday shopping season, baby. If you're like me, you're shaking your head, asking where the time went. Well, wallets, rejoice!: There's some seriously sweet loot to be had for less than $10, for all the kids on your list.
Whether you're looking for a stocking stuffer, or a cheap gift that looks more ritzy than its modest pricetag, here are some results from six months of combing through junk to find the best gems for ten bucks or less. Some of my favorite cheapies for kids in third and fourth grade are below. If you're curious about other age groups, check out the full list. Or better yet, steal the widget!
The frog pins in this game are so cute, it's a shame to knock them down. And actually, it's not that easy, either! But this set of six tiny wooden ribbiters is a breeze to tote around for spur of the moment bowling, and it also helps eight and nine-year-olds develop hand-eye coordination, patience, and dexterity. Plus, the frogs can double as dolls for pretend play when the bowling's over. Big fun in a small package. (Sassafras, $8.95)
Pocket Watercolor Set
Nothing beats the fluidity and brilliant color of watercolor paints. Get your child started with this kid-friendly kit, which contains 18 half-pans of pigment and a brush in an easy-to-tote aluminum tin. Tuck a small pad of watercolor paper in your child's pocket, and he'll be good to go—just add water! (Art Alternatives, $8.50)
This classic hardwood yo-yo is made in Vermont. In addition to the patience your child will develop as she learns to Walk the Dog, Shoot the Moon, go Around the World, or other tricks using this wooden beauty, having a yo-yo in her pocket with her own name engraved on the side is sure to bring a smile too. Up to 4 lines, 15 characters per line, is included in the very reasonable price. Now start watching those yo-yo YouTube videos. Practice makes perfect! (Maple Landmark, $9.28)
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