Parenting

The perfect stocking stuffers for kids—all under $25

Fill their stockings with toys they'll actually play with.

Credit: Getty Images / Rawpixel

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One of my favorite tasks each holiday season is filling my children's stockings with a selection of little gifts. This year, as part of my ongoing effort to reduce the amount of garbage we, as a family, produce, I'm making a point to only fill their stocking with items that I know they'll use for a long time.

If you're also trying to cut down on "stuff" this Christmas, but you still want to fill your child's stocking with goodies they'll love, we've come up with a list of 14 stocking stuffers that won't end up in the trash a mere day or two after Christmas.

Whichever items you put in their stocking, don't forget to tuck a fresh orange into the toe of each stocking, just like in The Sweet Smell of Christmas.

1. New art supplies

Art supplies
Credit: Alex Toys

A paint palette with 36 colors will excite artistic kids.

Whether your child is a budding Picasso or absolutely void of artistic talent, you can't go wrong with a stocking full of art supplies. A fresh package of washable markers, a box of shiny new crayons, and a clean watercolor palette not only encourage creativity, but also fill their stockings without spending a lot of cash.

2. Fresh Play-Doh

Play-Doh
Credit: Play-Doh

A Play-Doh party pack fits perfectly in a Christmas stocking.

Granted, Play-Doh can be messy, but if you're willing to put up with a small amount of colorful dough getting ground into your carpets, this is a creative toy that will keep them occupied for hours. Put a party pack of minis in their stockings and a Play-Doh Pizza Oven under the tree, and you just might be able to enjoy an entire cup of hot coffee before they get bored.

3. Classic toy soldiers

Toy soldiers
Credit: Singer's Toy

An 18-pack of toy soldiers provides hours of entertainment.

Toy soldiers are the ultimate old school gift, and there's a reason for their longevity: They provide hours of open-ended imaginative play for kids at a wide-range of ages. Skip the bad-for-the-Earth plastic versions and opt for this classic metal set that includes both soldiers and vehicles. These also make a great portable toy to take on airplane trips or out to restaurants.

Get an 18-pack of toy soldiers on Amazon for $14.98

4. A seasonal bubble wand

Bubble wand
Credit: Art Creativity

This festive bubble wand also lights up.

Even if the weather outside really is frightful, bubbles still make a great stocking stuffer. This festive bubble wand not only looks like Santa, but it lights up, too. The bubble solution is contained in the attached bottle, which makes this a great stocking stuffer for younger children who usually end up dumping all the soap out of traditional bubble wands.

Get a light-up Santa Bubble Blower Wand on Amazon for $13.97

5. A personalized yo-yo

Yo-yo
Credit: Yoyo King

Kids will love their very own personalized wooden yo-yo.

Children ages five and up are at the perfect age to learn to use a yo-yo. You can't go wrong with a classic wooden yo-yo, especially when it's personalized with the recipient's name. For older kids who can read and have a bit more dexterity, pair their personalized yo-yo with a copy of Yo-Yo Tricks: Learn to Yo-Yo Like A Pro.

6. Kid-friendly bath products

Color my bath
Credit: Color My Bath / Two Sisters

Skip the rubber ducky and opt for one of these bath products instead.

Toss out all of your moldy rubber bath toys and put some color in their bath instead. My kids love the Color My Bath color changing bath tablets because they can turn their nightly soak into a rainbow extravaganza. Add a festively-scented bath bomb to their stocking as well if you need an extra incentive to get your kids to bathe.

Get Color My bath color-changing bath tablets on Amazon for $12.99
Get an Oh Christmas Tree Bubble Bath Bomb on Amazon for $6.99

7. Beautiful hair accessories

Hair accessories
Credit: Wunderkin

Wunderkin's handmade hair accessories are a beautiful stocking stuffer.

Barrettes and hair bows are an excellent stocking stuffer for kids who love to accessorize. Wunderkin's accessories are handmade, durable, and beautiful. My daughter loves their whimsical barrettes, and I'm partial to the velvet hair bows that pair perfectly with her holiday finery.

8. A box of Band-Aids

Band-Aids
Credit: Band-Aid

Band-Aids are available in a wide variety of themes.

Most, if not all, kids love Band-Aids, and they provide major bang for your buck when it comes to both entertainment factor and stocking stuffer. I always make sure to have plenty of Band-Aids on hand in case of injuries, real or imagined. Whether your child prefers Pokémon or princesses, they'll be thrilled to receive a box of bandages just for them.

9. Silly lip balm

Lip Balm
Credit: Lip Smacker

Cute lip balms to keep their lips hydrated all winter long.

Frigid winter temperatures and dry air means that almost everyone is suffering from chapped lips. Give your child the gift of emoji lip balms so they'll enjoy keeping their lips hydrated wherever they go. Bonus points for the fact that you will no longer have to share your lip balm with your germy children.

Get the Lip Smacker Disney Emoji Lip Balm Duo on Amazon for $9.99

10. Card games

Card Games
Credit: Hoyle / Gamewright

Card games are just the right size to fit inside a Christmas stocking.

Card games are a great addition to Christmas stockings for kids of any age, and a great idea for families who like game nights. Little kids will love—and laugh—at Old Maid, which is one of our family favorites. The Hoyle 6-in-1 fun pack includes six games: Go Fish, Memory, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Slap Jack, and Matching. Slightly older kids might like Sleeping Queens or Set, and the tweens and teens in your life will get a kick out of Not Parent Approved.

11. A crystal growing kit

Narwhal crystal
Credit: Klutz

This science project is cute and fun.

Add a little science to their stockings this year with a grow-your-own crystal Narwhal. The cute kit includes an instruction booklet packed with information about crystals, plus an adorable Narwhal figurine that grows sparkling crystals on its tail and horn when soaked in the included solution.

Get the Grow Your Own Crystal Narwhal on Amazon for $12.99

12. Coloring pads

Water mania
Credit: Scent Masters

Mess-free coloring pads are great for Holiday travel.

Mess-free coloring books are a must for toddlers, especially when traveling. Scentco's Water Magic reusable coloring pads come with scented water pens (one smells like blackberries, the other like fruit punch) and feature cupcake and doughnut-themed activity pages that kids can color over and over again. The jumbo-sized water pens are easy for little hands to grip, and the scents make these pads even more fun than the original unscented ones.

Get a 2-pack of Scentco Water Magic Activity Pads on Amazon for $9.99

13. A pack of WikkiStix

WikkiStix
Credit: WikkiStix

WikkiStix provides mess-free fun.

WikkiStix are made of knitting yarn coated with colorful food-grade wax. While the description may sound boring, what makes WikkiStix fun is the fact that they easily mold together so kids can create 3-D shapes and creations. They're non-toxic, reusable, and a great toy to have on hand for when you're at a restaurant and need something to entertain an antsy child.

Get a WikkiStix Rainbow Pack on Amazon for $3.40

14. An adjustable jump rope

Jump rope
Credit: Homello

An adjustable jump rope is ideal for younger kids.

Jumping rope not only improves coordination, but it's also really fun. These colorful jump ropes are a great addition to your child's stocking because they have soft foam handles and the length can be easily adjusted.

Get a 2-pack of adjustable Jump Ropes on Amazon for $12.99

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Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.

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