It’s almost Christmas! Are you done shopping? This year we’re staying home and don’t have any big plan. RB40Jr will get a 2-week winter break so I’ll take it easy too. We’ll watch movies, read, play games, and enjoy our time at home. 2020 has been a tough year for many families, but we’re doing pretty well. We have a comfortable home and our income is still holding up okay. I feel very fortunate to be able to celebrate Christmas almost like a normal year. We’ll see families via Zoom calls so it’s not that bad. In the old days, we’d have to call on the telephone. How barbaric!
Anyway, it’s a difficult year for many families so I’m updating this post to help with frugal Christmas gifting. This was originally written in 2015 when our son was 4 years old. Now he’s 9 and tried most of these toys. I’ll share the top 10 toys that worked well for us over the years. Unfortunately, inflation reared its ugly head over the last 5 years. Some of these items are approaching $20. I’ll make sure the price is under that mark. Also, I think it’s almost too late to get things shipped to your home for Christmas. You might need to visit the store or just tell the kids to wait a few days.
*Note: Most of these toys are for boys. I don’t know anything about girls. Feel free to add some suggestions in the comment section!
*Disclosure: We may receive a referral fee if you use the Amazon affiliate links below to purchase an item. Thank you!
1. Hot wheels – about $1 each
Who doesn’t love hot wheels? The best thing about these little vehicles is that you can pick them up pretty much anywhere. They come in a huge range of makes and colors so you should be able to find just the right cars for each kid. I picked up a yellow convertible Corvette and a red DeLorean for Jr.
Update – It’s been 5 years and he still likes the hot wheels.
Jenga is a fun game to play, but the real value for little kids is in the wooden blocks. Kids can build all kinds of things with the Jenga blocks – house, maze, pyramid, etc… We have a box of wooden alphabet blocks and we can build much better with the addition of the Jenga blocks. It’s a great imagination toy for a very cheap price. Wooden block sets are surprisingly expensive.
Update – I still think this is a great toy. Junior occasionally brings this out when his friends come over. He used to play with it a lot more when he was young, though.
3. Uno and Sorry! Revenge card games
Uno is a great game for kids. It teaches them the basic concept of matching numbers and colors. Of course, we have to let junior win most of the time. He is not a good loser.
Sorry is even better than Uno. It teaches kids how to count and add. RB40Jr is amazing at adding to 21, thanks to this card game. This game might have been discontinued.
Update – We rarely play Uno and Sorry anymore. He kind of outgrew them. They’re still great games, though. We take them on trips so we have something fun to do. Oh, we don’t have to let him win all the time anymore. He learned how to lose gracefully. Finally!
4. Sushi Go and Monopoly Deal card games
Sushi Go and Monopoly Deal are great card games. RB40Jr enjoys playing these games a lot. A game only takes about 15 minutes so we can squeeze it in anytime. Both of these games teach kids to think strategically and some easy math. They are a lot of fun too.
RB40Jr loves volcanoes. He’s been obsessed with volcanoes since we visited Hawaii in 2014. We went to Mt. St. Helens a couple of times in 2015 so he had fun seeing a volcano up close and climbing around in the lava tube. The 4M kit contains a volcano mold so you can make multiple plaster casts if you’d like.
Update – This is a cool kit. We made the volcano and had fun with it. I even got some extra plaster with the intention to make another one. However, we never got around to it. The mold and the plaster are in the basement. Maybe we should give this away to the local Buy Nothing group.
These cute plastic figurines shoot soft foam balls from their mouth when you squeeze the body. They have dinosaur, pig, shark, penguin, reindeer, and many more. I’m sure you’ll be able to find just the right one for the kids.
Update – We got this for our son a while back. It’s a lot of fun for little kids. However, he hasn’t used it much since he got some nerf guns. I think it’s still a great value. He played with it a lot from 5 to 8 years old. Ok, we found it and he’s playing with it again today.
7. Piggy bank
RB40Jr loves money. He’s been picking up coins since he was 2 years old and he’s always on the lookout for more. Seriously, he finds a few coins every week. The kid has sharp eyes. He busted his piggy bank a few months ago and he’s been saving his coins in a plastic takeout container. We probably should get him a new piggy bank soon. This one cost a little more than $10, but every kid needs a piggy bank.
Update – Unfortunately, RB40Jr lost the eye for coins on the sidewalk. He rarely sees them now. I guess he grew too tall. Well, I don’t want him to pick anything up from the ground in 2020 anyway so it’s okay. The piggy bank still comes in handy for gifts.
I’m not a huge fan of the Monopoly board game. A game takes too long and it’s all luck. However, RB40Jr loves this game. He loves getting money, buying properties, flipping the chance cards, and going around the board. Oh well, we’ll play with him and limit the time to about 45 minutes. We have a bunch of board games and Monopoly is still his favorite. He also loves to play chess and beat me regularly. I’m a horrible chess player because I’m so impatient.
9. Kinetic sand
Have you played with this stuff? It’s oddly relaxing. The kinetic sand is made from 98% sand and 2% polymers. It feels like slowly flowing sand. It’s difficult to describe so you’ll have to try it out at your favorite science museum store. This one is probably better for the older kids.
The Lego Battle Packs have 4 minifigs and usually a small vehicle. This is actually a great deal for around $15. A minifig blind bag already costs $6 each and you don’t know what you’ll get. The hottest battle pack this season is the Mandalorian battle pack! I think they’re all sold out online so you’ll have to try your luck at the store. Other battle packs are available online.
A good chess set cost much more than $20, but I think it’s a great game. If your children like it, they’ll learn to think strategically. RB40Jr loves it. He beats me regularly because I’m so impatient. You probably should go get a chess set from your local game store. The quality of the online chess sets seems sketchy from the reviews.
A fast-paced dice game. Everybody gets their own set of 10 colored dice. All you have to do is to throw them down, pick up the ones that don’t match, and keep rolling until you have a set of 10 matching dice. There are many variations on this game so it should be fun for the whole family.
So those are some great gifts for $10 to $20. These toys will help get your kids off the screen during the holidays. Enjoy the holidays with your children while they’re young. They’ll be adults before long.
Are you done with Christmas shopping? Do you have any suggestions for gifts under $20? Happy holidays!
Source: Retire By 40
Originally posted 2020-12-18 21:30:13. Republished by Blog Post Promoter