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The best stocking stuffers for kids is serious business. You want to get them excited for the main event (Christmas presents!) but you also want to gift them thoughtful items that won’t just wind up forgotten in a toy box or broken within 30 seconds of using them. Cheap plastic items? No thank you. An abundance of candy? Edibles are great and all, but kids are already hopped up on the excitement of the holidays, so it’s probably best not to overdo it in the sugar department. More socks? Well, let’s just say those aren’t exactly high on a child’s list of Christmas hopes and dreams.
When it comes to being a successful Santa, here are some universal tips:
- In most cases, the gift should fit inside the stocking, with some exceptions for items like puzzles or bendy books
- Gifts should typically range between $5-$20, unless lower-costing items are practical or of quality
- Stocking stuffers are never meant to outshine the main event
- Wrap some or all presents to help build excitement
- If you have more than one kid, customize each stocking
- Avoid hurt feelings by including the same number of items for each kid
Need some more specific ideas? We’ve rounded up 20 stocking stuffers for the kids in your life so that Santa can stuff those stockings even faster and move on to the good stuff (read: milk and cookies).
1. LEGO Adventure Bracelets
BEST FOR BUILDERS
Kids can take their love of LEGOs on the go with these creativity-sparking bracelets. The DIY kit comes with everything a crafty kid needs to create their own unique bracelets, and maybe make one for a sibling or friend while they’re at it. The best part is that when they’re done creating they can reset and do it all over again, coming up with various wearable designs.
2. Floss & Rock Rainbow Fairy Water Pad and Pen
BEST FOR BUDDING ARTISTS
These magic water cards are pretty much every parents’ dream, in addition to being a wonderful stocking stuffer. Young kids can “paint” to their heart’s content with the water-filled “pen,” creating colorful creations without getting ink or paint all over themselves … and everything else surrounding them.
3. Musee Bath Do You Believe in Magic Bath Balm
BEST BATH SURPRISE
There are few things kids love more than magical creatures, but a colorful bath bomb inspired by one such magical creature definitely makes the list. Kids will love watching this handcrafted bath bomb “explode” into all kinds of fun colors come bath time, but the real surprise is the nifty unicorn bracelet hidden inside. Now, who wouldn’t love a two-in-one gift like that?
4. Artist’s Box Craft Kit
FOR CREATIVE KIDS
Allow the kid in your life to get his or her creativity on with this packed kit, which comes with everything they need to make unique animals, cute cards or other crafts of their choosing. Plus, if your little one is the type who needs some prompts before getting their glue stick out, this set comes with seven cards that challenge them to take their craft skills in a new direction.
5. Dylan’s Candy Bar Sugar-Free Lollipops
BEST FOR THAT SWEET TOOTH
Kids love sweet treats, but they get a lot of them over the holidays. If you’re worried about cavities or sugar rushes, get Santa to stuff those stockings with some sugar-free lollipops instead. This 1/2-pound bundle comes with enough suckers to fill all of those extra spaces in any stocking, plus there will probably be some leftovers for you to enjoy while wrapping all of those darned gifts.
6. Fuzzy Puzzle Rainforest
Puzzles are the stocking stuffers for kids that keep on giving because as soon as your kid is done they can dismantle it and start all over again. They’re also an excellent resource for older kids when it comes to independent play, freeing up your time to scroll your phone or to make yourself a little snack. We love this unisex set because it features animals that extend beyond the barnyard bunch that other playsets typically offer, doubling up on the learning opportunities.
7. The Original Slinky
Yup, this retro toy is still around and nope, you don’t have to be an adult to appreciate how much fun it truly is. Kids will have fun walking their brand new slinky down the stairs, seeing how far it can stretch and bouncing it from hand to hand. Before long you’ll be untangling it for them just like your parents did for you once upon a time. This stocking stuffer for kids is truly one for the ages.
8. Paw-Patrol Themed Band-Aids
Let’s be real: kids love plastering themselves in band-aids, which are basically glorified stickers. That means parents are always struggling to ensure the first-aid box has enough of them for true emergencies. In that vein, caregivers and kids alike will be pumped about this stocking stuffer for kids. After all, when you’ve got an emergency boo, everyone knows that Chase is on the case.
9. Color Your Own Fairytale Storybook Pillowcase
Coloring is so much more exciting when you get to color something that’s usually forbidden — like fabric. That’s half the genius of this customizable pillowcase, which features a variety of fairytale characters, castles and scenery just waiting for a splash of ink. Then, flip it over and the other side features a place for kids to write their own fairytale as well. The kit comes with 10 washable markers, which means you can throw it in the wash when your budding artist is done and they can do it all over again the next day.
10. Toothbrushing Turtle Timer
TWIST ON AN ORIGINAL
Tons of kids get toothpaste and toothbrushes in their stockings, but this turtle takes oral health to a whole new fun level. Kids can attach the water-resistant turtle to the bathroom mirror or place it on the counter, then set it to go as four LEDs guide them through a two-minute brushing routine. Practical and cute? Now that’s the stuff that great stocking stuffers are made of.
11. Smack It Card Game for Kids
FOR GAME LOVERS
Card games are portable and a great alternative for screen-time-loving kids, which makes them the perfect stocking stuffer for kids. Smack It is a modern take on War/Slap Jack that takes just a minute to learn and anywhere from seven to 14 minutes to play. Given that, even kids in younger grades can get a whole lot of smacking joy out of finding this one in their stockings.
12. The 3 Minute Gratitude Journal for Kids
FOR KIDS WHO HAVE EVERYTHING
It’s never too early to start the practice of gratitude, especially around the holidays. This specific journal makes it easy for kids to get started thanks to easy prompts that can be done in a matter of minutes. Each day the journal asks your kid to list things they are thankful for, someone who brought them joy and how they feel about their overall day. It’s a practical tool to help children appreciate the value of non-material things and to be thankful for all that they already have. Oprah would be proud.
13. Great Explorations Glow In The Dark Wonder Stars
A pack of glowing stars is practically guaranteed to make bedtime more fun for kids of most ages, which is why it’s one of our favorite stocking stuffers for kids. This pack comes with 50 stars and adhesive backing so that you and your kiddos can decorate ceilings, walls and any textured surface in their bedroom. If Santa is bringing these for a stocking stuffer, plan to stick them where they’ll receive direct light in order to “power” them up. Otherwise, the glowing effect won’t last as long.
14. Pop Fidget Sensory Toys
Kids will love these colorful, stress-relieving toys, which are great for sensory play or for when your little one needs to calm down. Younger kids can also make it a game to see who can pop four in a row or who will pop the last bubble. We also love that this set comes with two in a pack, so you can split them up into two stockings or pop them both in one. (Pun definitely intended.)
15. Kinetic Sand The Original Moldable Sensory Play Sand
Kids love sand. Parents? Not so much. Enter kinetic sand, which magically sticks together and contains mess in a much more effective way than any sandbox. This stuff comes in a variety of colors and works with your basic sand toys. Just toss it in a large plastic container or a deep metal baking tray and let your kids have at it.
16. Crayola Silly Scents Twistables Crayons
Crayons are all right, but smelly crayons? Those are kind of where it’s at. These twistable, fruit-scented crayons appeal to kids who may be a bit too old for regular crayons, but whose parents aren’t quite ready to set them loose with the markers. And with 24 different smells to get through, kids will be occupied whether they have a blank piece of paper or a giant coloring book in front of them.
17. Melissa & Doug Scratch Art Rainbow Mini Notes
Scratch art is mess-free and fun, which makes it a double win for parents and kids. These notepads are perfect for kids to create fun messages and doodles, especially once they realize there are fun rainbow colors to unveil underneath. The accompanying wooden stylus is great for younger kids to practice fine motor skills, while older kids can practice their printing and note-writing abilities.
18. Gamewright Qwixx
BEST FOR SECRET LEARNING
If Santa knows you’re in the market for more quality family game nights, this dice game is great for crews with kids who are eight and older. It’s a fast-paced game which means you should have no trouble keeping children’s attention even when it’s not their turn, plus it’s just a fun and easy way to sneak a bit of extra math into your family’s life.
19. Hot Wheels Monster Trucks
BEST ON WHEELS
There are Hot Wheels, and then there are monster truck Hot Wheels. If you’ve got a kid who loves anything and everything on wheels, this two-pack may be the best stocking stuffer for kids. They’re built for maximum smashing action but are also ideal for sensory boxes and outdoor play, which may make them your kid’s new favorite portable pocket toy.
20. Lip Smacker Marvel Avenger Chapstick Party Pack
Chapped lips in the winter is a real thing, and what kid doesn’t want their own tube of chapstick for their own personal use? This pack covers all of the major Avengers characters which makes it perfect for any MCU-loving kid, or you can split the pack up and drop tubes into each family member’s stocking. Because Santa is just practical like that.