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1. An Uno "Nothin’ But Paper" card game made from fully recyclable materials (for the first time ever). Now kids can get as much enjoyment from helping Mother Earth as they do from dropping a Wild Draw Four card whenever they play.
For ages 7+
Promising review: "Soy-based inks, recycled content paper, no harmful chemicals and no plastic (well, except the Amazon envelope it came in — sadly). Exactly what we wanted for our family to play with!" —Borys & Lindsay
For a larger budget, check out our toys and gifts under $50.
Get it from Amazon for $6.49.
2. A 12-sided fidget toy (aka a dodecagon) with gears, buttons, a joystick, switch, stress balls, and more for keeping fingers (and more importantly the mind operating those fingers) unstressed and focused.
3. A mini dinosaur terrarium featuring quick-grow seeds and adorable dino decor that'll help the kiddos in your life practice responsibility, patience, and nurturing skills (so they can become a future plant parent!).
For ages 6–8+
Promising review: "Got this for a young family member and he was so excited over it. Came with many stickers to decorate the plastic egg. The dirt was more than enough, and the colored sand, little pebbles, and colored dinosaurs added to the brightness and fun of this egg. We added half the chia seeds and used the eye dropper to water them, and then put it in a window sill out of everyone’s reach. Within a few days we had a full 'forest' of chia growing behind the dinosaurs. He was so excited to watch it grow and transform the area. Really fun and easy. Great gift idea, easy to put together, low energy project (for the assistant) - all around a real treat." –Adulting101
Get it from Amazon for $8.99+ (also available in mermaid and unicorn terrariums).
4. A Lego Dots "Bag Tag" Unicorn for little builders who like to get crafty and adorn their backpacks with their blocky creations.
5. A floating octopus interactive bath toy so little ones can learn all about cephalopods (take that rubber ducky, you're not the one) while practicing some ring toss skills.
6. An eight-pack of pop tube sensory toys for building letters, numbers, or any sorts of shapes creative little minds can come up with while acting as a stress reliever (what with that super satisfying popping sound each tube makes).
7. An eight-pack of Educational Insights playfoam that's squishy and squashy (great for tactile stimulation) and never dries out (meaning it won't become petrified in the carpet, on the couch, or all over kids' clothing.
8. A "Bug Bungalow" insect-catching kit to keep all those creepy crawlies from crawling creepily all over the house as future entomologists get a chance to truly bug out with their backyard findings.
9. A big ol' 5,500-piece bucket of Perler beads for the artsy kids (and the fartsy kids too, so, like all kids) to create their own colorful designs and patterns that adults will fuse together with an iron. Yup, that's how it works.
10. An official Wiffle ball and bat set (just like the kind you find in that box randomly shoved in an aisle at CVS whenever the weather starts to warm up) that will most definitely be used as a light saber at some point.
11. A super-durable foam glider airplane that can soar up to 100-feet when properly tossed. Natural enemies include trees and roofs. Steer clear of those, kid, and it's smooth flying!
12. A 70-piece Plus Plus Triceratops construction puzzle set which can be turned into anything your child can imagine and also be combined with other sets to make even bigger creations. The best part: the pieces don't hurt when you step on them.
13. A set of Learning Resources ABC puzzle cards for learning that alphabet from A to Z. Double bonus: there's only one right answer for each puzzle and the handled box makes for easy cleanup and storage.
14. A Sassy ring stacking set with all of the skills (hand-to-eye, sorting, motor) to pay the bills (and a very reasonable bill at this for under ten bucks). Bonus: the different textured rings also help with teething!
15. A 125-piece Lego Miles Morales Spider-Man in mech armor that does whatever a spider can (in mech armor, I suppose). Comes with a mini Miles fig and a bunch of webs!
16. A three-pack of silicone rainbow push popper fidget toys to help relieve stress and anxiety in kids (and adults too) in a simple, colorful, and satisfying way.
18. A Melissa & Doug "decorate-your-own" wooden princess wand craft kit for crafty kiddos looking to explore the dark arts. Wait. What? Kidding, it's just a star on a stick to play some make-em-ups!
19. A super-realistic four-piece Schleich Shiba Inu playset which makes the ideal gift for the little dog-lover in your life who's not quite ready for that real pup yet. Plus, think of the memes you can make with these tiny toys!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "I am a grown woman who, nonetheless, collects figurines of cute animals. I got the Shiba Inu mother and puppy set. Both figures are adorable and a great addition to my collection. I like the Schleich brand in general because their figurines are fairly realistic and whoever paints them does a competent job. I expect to keep these guys on my display shelf for a long time." —Lauren Votava
Get it from Amazon for $9.32+ (a variety of animals including pigs, wolves, alpacas, lions, bears, and more).
20. A 10-pack of Play-Doh that there was no way in hell that you'd ever be able to avoid buying. Fortunately, it's all nontoxic, nonirritating, nonallergenic and the packaging is recyclable. But, yeah, it still smells like Play-Doh.
21. A pack of Crayola glitter sidewalk chalk for a little artist looking for some ~pizzazz~ in their favorite medium. Bonus points are award to you, who officially has the sparkliest driveway/sidewalk on the block!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "This is the chalk of ALL chalks. The glitter is fantastic. I was worried a little it wouldn't spray off. It cleaned up with a breeze. The chalk is the perfect size for little hands, and the pointed tip is perfect. I bought other brand chalk on Amazon, and this is all she'll use. The colors are vibrant and the glitter is beautiful."—Linsy Harrington
Get it from Amazon for $5.69+ (available in three styles).
22. Or some WikkiStix, if they prefer an artistic medium they can bend 'n sculpt into whatever their creative heart desires. Plus, these are non-toxic and reusable, so they can create 3D doodles again and again!
For ages 3+
Promising review: "Kept my toddler busy for a long time. Used these on a long haul flight. Great product and easy to use. Sticks come off easily and stick together nicely for any design one wants to make. They are reusable and you will be able to make lots of fun designs with them. Lots of fun. Would have been nice to have more designs included as inspiration. Thankfully these do not get dirty easy. Do not dry up and can be used after being kept in container for a long time." –Nino
Get a set from Amazon for $5.77.
23. A Gazillion Bubbles Hurricane Machine which – you guessed it – releases an impressive amount of bubbles for your kids to chase, pop, frolic through – whatever! And by the looks of it, this will be a big hit with your pets, too!
For kids of all ages
Promising review: "This little machine performed amazingly at my granddaughter's first birthday party. The kids loved it, and the older kids pretty much operated on their own. Great for pics! Highly recommend." –shopgirl
Reviews have been edited for length and/or clarity.