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15 stocking stuffer ideas for kids—all under $25

Fill their stockings with things they'll use

A green holiday background with a box of markers, a bath bomb, aa pink jump rope, toy soldiers, and sleeping queens card game. Credit: Getty Images / Karolina Madej / Crayola / Two Sisters / Gamewright / Homello / Singer's Toy

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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 stockings with items that I know they'll use.

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 15 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

A paint palette with 36 colors
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. Acne patches

Two packages of Peace Out Acne Dots
Credit: Peace Out Skincare

Acne dots are a useful stocking stuffer for teens and tweens.

If you're stuffing a stocking for a teen or a tween, why not throw in a package of acne patches? Peace Out Skincare's Acne Dots contain salicylic acid, vitamin A, and aloe vera for a healing and soothing combo. Plus their logo and packing will look great sticking out of your teen's Christmas stocking.

Get the Peace Out Acne Dots for $19

3. Fresh Play-Doh

A stack of small jars of Play-Doh in a selection of different colors.
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 Noodle Party play set under the tree, and you just might be able to enjoy an entire cup of hot coffee before they get bored.

4. Classic toy soldiers

An 18-pack of toy soldiers provides hours of entertainment.
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 $15.68

5. Kid-friendly bath products

On the left: A bottle of Color My Bath tablets. On the right: A red bath bomb
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.

For older kids, a festively-scented bath bomb is the perfect thing to take their self care to the next level.

6. Beautiful hair accessories

On the left: a set of 6 different colored velvet hair bows. On the right: 6 pastel colored pom pom barrettes.
Credit: Meri Meri

Unique hair accessories look pretty tucked into a stocking.

Barrettes and hair bows are an excellent stocking stuffer for kids who love to accessorize. Fill their stockings with a set of festive hair bows or whimsical barrettes so they'll have just the right thing to wear to Christmas dinner or New Year's Eve fetes.

7. A box of "Bravery Badges"

Colorful bandages are great for injuries both real and imagined.
Credit: Welly / Reviewed / Anna Lane

Colorful bandages are great for injuries both real and imagined.

Welly has the best selection of bandages in kid-friendly prints, and we love that they call them "Bravery Badges." Add a tin or two to your child's stocking so that they have plenty on hand for the next time they get a boo boo.

Shop Bravery Badges at Welly starting at $4.99

8. Lip Balm

Minnie and Mickey Mouse shaped lip balms.
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 an emoji lip balm so they'll enjoy keeping their lips hydrated wherever they go.

If you have teen or a tween who fancies themself "too old" for Disney emoji balms, put a tube of Lanolips in their stocking instead. The pure lanolin ointment soothes even the most badly cracked lips.

9. Card games

On the left: A pack of 6 different card games. On the right: Sleeping Queens card game
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.

10. A crystal growing kit

A narwhal-shaped figurine with crystals growing on its tusk and tail.
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 $12.45

11. Coloring pads

Water Magic mess-free coloring pads
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 $11.99

12. A pack of WikkiStix

WikkiStix rainbow sticks
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 $7.29

13. An adjustable jump rope

A pink jump rope and a green 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 $11.99

14. A book light

A book light shaped like a sunshine with a smiling face
Credit: Urban Outfitters

Book lovers will be thrilled to find a cheery book light in their stocking.

Kids who love to read will be excited to find this sunny book light in their stocking. The smiling sunshine-shaped light clips on to the edge of a book, and the adjustable gooseneck makes it easy to read even after "lights out."

Get the Icon Book Light at Urban Outfitters for $20

15. Socks

On the left: a pair of legs wearing socks that glow in the dark. On the right: the back of the same pair of legs wearing the socks
Credit: Sock it to Me

A pair of glow-in-the-dark constellation socks will be a conversation starter.

It's pretty much a given that tween and teen boys will only wear shorts no matter how cold it is outside. Make sure that at least their feet and lower calves remain warm, and put a pair of cool socks in their stocking. We like these glow-in-the-dark constellation socks because they're cool enough for even the most discerning teen, but still fun.

Get the Constellation Youth Crew Socks at Sock it to Me for $7.50

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