We’ll be honest—stocking stuffers aren’t exactly Santa’s strong suit. After spending weeks scouring the web for the best gifts for kids and then staying up until an ungodly hour wrapping said gifts, we usually make a late-night mad dash to the drugstore for something—anything—to put into the kids’ stockings. But this year, our children deserve—nay, need—some fun playthings in their festive socks that have been hung by the chimney with care.
30 Stocking Stuffers for Kids That Will Surprise & Delight
From Legos to light-up bath cubes
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What Are Good Stocking Stuffers for Kids?
The best gifts for kids of all ages can span any dollar amount, from basic gumballs to an elaborate Lego set they may or may not get around to building. But when it comes to stocking stuffers, there are a few things that make them “good.” First, they should be small enough to literally be stuffed in a stocking. (Alright, a few special somethings that are wrapped and set just beside a kid's stocking hung by the fireplace are A-OK.) They should also be relatively affordable: most stocking stuffers will be under $50, and the majority under $20 even. But most importantly, good stocking stuffers will be things that fit with the child’s likes and interests, and bring a smile to their faces when they furiously rip open the wrapping or unearth it at the bottom of their stocking.
So without further ado, here are the 30 best stocking stuffers for kids, ages 0 to 10, that will surprise and delight.
The Top 10 Best Stocking Stuffers for Kids At a Glance
Best for Keeping Kiddos Occupied As the Rest of the Fam Wakes Up
Omy Ultra-Washable Markers
Best for Baby’s First Christmas
Your babe may not technically need a stocking stuffer, but this one—a gift for you as much as for them—feels sentimental and sweet. Simply pop a 4x4 printed photo inside upon arrival and this wood and glass picture frame, which comes with a red velvet ribbon already included, is ready to hang. Better yet, sneak it into your partner’s stocking when they’re busy wrapping and mark it From Santa and it will become instant family heirloom the whole fam will cherish year after year.
Best for Keeping Kiddos Occupied As the Rest of the Fam Wakes Up
These kid-tested, mom-approved markers live up to their promise: They truly are ultra-washable. (We easily removed the ink from our kids’ hands, their clothes, even the couch—oops—using just soap and water.) But that’s not all. The vibrant hues are double-tipped—one side is thick, the other thin—and the richness of color means that creativity comes easily for kiddos with a blank sheet of paper, which btw, is the perfect thing to bust out to keep your child occupied while you brew some coffee on Christmas morning.
Best for Nostalgia
Take a trip down memory lane when you, er, Santa, pops a View-Master in your kid’s stocking and they get to experience a 3D view of some of the best sights around the world—safari animals, ocean life and dinosaurs all included. In fact, this special edition set comes with five reels total, which means it’s a toy they can keep going back to and learning from with every click.
Best for the Kid Who Dreads Bath Time
These bath bombs will make any child excited to get clean. They dye the water, but not the tub, and the scents aren’t too cloying for grown-up noses. And yes, the toy inside is very exciting every time—kind of like fancy Cracker Jacks (but all cleanliness and no corn syrup–coated yumminess).
Best for the Kid Who Always Wants to Tinker With Your Apple Watch
OK, so this isn’t the most budget-friendly stocking stuffer. But it sure is a lot cheaper to give your kid one of these instead of letting them play with your own Apple Watch. (It’s not entirely crack-proof, after all.) This high-tech pick lets kids take pictures and videos, play games and tell time. Genius.
Best for the Kid Who Could Use Some Motivation to Brush Their Teeth
OK, so we promised no boring gifts in your kid’s stocking this year, but this battery-operated (and character-covered) electric toothbrush is a necessity that also feels fun. How so? You can pick and choose from a range of familiar favorites like Bluey, Batman, Pokemon and more. Kids will love the soft bristles, plus the ability to control the on/off switch themselves; parents will love the sparkling clean teeth after consuming so many cookies. (It’s worth noting that 1 replaceable AA battery comes included.)
Best for Kids Who Are Just Starting to Dabble in Art
Our Executive Editor—and mom of two—Alexia Dellner swears by this New Zealand-made crayon set. “They’re made from honey, so are perfect for little kids who put everything in their mouths (ahem, my kid),” she says. “They’re also big and chunky so even a 1-year-old can hold on to them.”
Best for Doodlers
Melissa & Doug
Whether your kid is just beginning to practice their pen grip or reaching the point of being a professional doodler, this mega set of rainbow scratch paper—which comes with a wooden stylus included—will be something they use again and again for crafts, creating cool illustrations or simply jotting down notes. Bonus: Kids can work with a range of colors, but the end result is mess-free.
Best for Bug Obsessives
This affordable stamp set comes with two different ink pads and an assortment (25 in total) of buggy shapes and textures—think antennae, wings and legs—so that your kid can recreate their favorite creepy crawlies or dream up their own. It’s also an editor favorite: “A set like this occupies my kid for hours,” says Rachel Bowie, Senior Director of Special Projects. “I also love that it champions inventiveness.”
Best for Expressive Kids
If your kid has been pleading with you to take them to the salon to dye their hair purple, a decision you know they will quickly regret once their bestie deems purple “so last week,” you can compromise with this temporary, completely washable hair color. It’s also editor-approved: “This hair makeup is so fun for kids,” according to PureWow’s assistant editor Delia Curtis. “It glides on like mascara and comes out with a single wash. It’s also an easy way to incorporate funky-colored hair without the permanency of dye and minus the mess.” Did we mention they also recently did a Barbie collab?
Best for Game Lovers
Only two players are required to play this classic game. Chances are that you remember this one from your own childhood, but here’s a quick recap in case you’ve forgotten the rules: The goal here is the usual race to empty one’s hand, but game-changing action cards (like skip, reverse and color-changing wild cards) can either help or hinder a person’s strategy. Still, this oldie but goodie has been given a fun upgrade thanks to popular emojis including—you guessed it—the poop emoji (so yeah, your kid will love it).
Best for the Kid Obsessed with Gooey and Slimy Things
Sure, your kid loves the latest high-tech gadget or super realistic video game, but trust us on this one—ooey, gooey putty never gets old. Especially this non-toxic version that won’t dry out and comes in multiple fun colors including this very cool star dust shade. Better yet, it’s a great sensory activity for kids.
First, an explainer: Tonies are character-driven audiobooks, songs and stories that rest atop a portable music player, called a Tonie box. Assuming you already have the box—or, shhh, maybe you’re gifting one under the tree this year—popping a character Tonie or two in your kid’s stocking is the perfect surprise. In fact, several parent editors on our team rely on Tonies for screen-free fun—and there are so many options to choose from, priced affordably at just $15 a pop. “Your kid will love it and you get 45 minutes to an hour of quiet time,” Dellner says. “My son has been begging me for this Batman one, so that’s my stocking stuffer plan this year.”
Best for Game Board Collectors
Checkers, Backgammon, Dominos—this deceptively simple board game comes with multiple game options to play and folds away neatly to a compact 8.7 by 5.1 inches, making it great to take on car trips or in a backpack. The rules of moving the magnetic pieces around the board before your opponent can is a great exercise in strategy and steely patience.
Best for STEAM Learning
The ocean animal configurations are endless with this brand-new Clixo set. Your kid will love assembling underwater creations ranging from a Great White Shark to an Angler Fish, but also relish the chance to rely on their own imagination to dream up their own deep sea creatures. Cool details about this particular set: It comes with glow-in-the-dark pieces, but also fins and tentacles to bring your kid’s ideas to life.
Best for Expanding Vocabulary
Once kids start to talk, they don’t stop. Like, ever. But watching them learn is a wondrous experience, and books like this one will help them develop language using fun facts, words, and even sounds. (It comes with the required two AA batteries—phew!) Tap a picture to learn about colors, science, animals, and more. Bonus: It even includes Spanish should you want your child prodigy in the making to be bilingual.
Best for the Kid Who Loves Potty Humor
OK, so this one might turn out to be a bit wider than your kid’s stocking, but you can set it right beside it. The rules of play go like this: Kids take turns feeding this silly kangaroo donuts until, well, he has to go doo-doo. Here’s where the hilarity hits—you never know when the urge will hit, but when it does the kangaroo’s potty starts to shake. Be the fastest to retrieve the donuts, not the poop, and you’ll come out ahead.
Best for Cold Weather Fun
It’s true that bubbles bring year-round joy, but come wintertime, ice bubbles take it to the next level. They don’t pop! Better yet, at temps below 18 degrees Fahrenheit, they start to freeze. Kids can catch them on their sleeve or surround themselves with delicate snow globes in their backyard for non-stop fun.
Best for a Better Bathtime
These water-activated light-up cubes—sold individually or as a set—will make bathtime a delight. Simply pop ‘em in the water and they’ll start to glow, then towel them dry and they’ll instantly turn off. Great for sensory play, but also imaginative story-telling: Each cube rests inside the face of the Glo Pal, which means kids can easily bring each character to life.
Best for a Christmas Day Read-Aloud
Truth be told, this stocking stuffer is also a great one to open on Christmas Eve. Written and illustrated by the unstoppable duo that is Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen, this book features a hilarious exploration of how the heck Santa gets down the chimney—especially if there is no chimney to go down? Bottom line: Prepare to laugh out loud and also interview your child about their own hypothesis on this topic.
Best for Keeping Their Toes Warm
The reinforced heel and toe, the ability to add a name tag—the devil’s in the details when it comes to gifting socks. In this case, we’re in it for the cute and holiday-themed patterns. Think Santa’s beard, holiday decor and more.
Best for the Kid Who Wants a Toy with Extended Use
It’s a parrot! No, wait—it’s a fish. Now it’s a frog. The multi-use joy that stems from LEGO’s 3-in-1 sets is unparalleled. Here, the 253-piece set can be built (and re-built) to follow a rainforest theme. Tuck this inside your child’s stocking and prepare for massive gift-opening delays.
Best for the Kid Who Loves a Mess-Free Crafts
OK, this editor-endorsed favorite is topping every list. The perfect stocking stuffer (or precursor to the rest of the Christmas Day gifts), this foil-focused craft allows kids to attach foam stickers to beautiful backdrops, then press colorful foil on top to bring their picture to life. You can also gift a variety of themes—from animals to dinosaurs to princesses—there’s something for every interest level. (Per the editor who tried it, Foil Fun is also fun for adults.)
Best for Keeping Baby Busy
Crate & Barrel
What’s that crinkly sound coming from my stocking, your baby will wonder as you help them bust everything out. This Octopus activity toy has eight tentacles—each one made from a different material and many holding a different sea-themed item (think fish, a life preserver, even a clam). Did we mention it’s also stroller-friendly?
Best for Encouraging Conversations About Emotions
A puzzle that helps kids articulate their emotions? Genius. Your kid will love the bright and colorful illustrations that bring life to common feelings like curiosity and gratitude and bravery. Also, with just 36 pieces, it’s something that you can accomplish over breakfast—then the real present opening can begin.
Best Winter Staple
We’re huge fans of the quality of this Finnish brand. Sustainably made from super soft organic cotton and available in six different colors, you can pick and choose the beanie that best suits your child’s style. Yes, it’s a winter essential, but it’s also the kind of item that is fun to replace each year. Hey! Santa can be practical, too.
Best for the Kid Who’s an Aspiring Francophile
Your kid will love the chance to mix and match these colorful—and vanilla scented—erasers while doodling (and daydreaming) about the Eiffel Tower. Oh la la. Five erasers in total come included, which makes them the perfect item for your kid to pop in their pencil case in carry back to school post-break.
Best for DIY Manicures
This two-color nail polish set tucks easily inside a stocking, but also will spare parents any worry about spills given it’s water-based and washable. (No nail polish remover required.) To add to the fun, stickers are also included so kids can put the finishing touch on their DIY nail designs.
Best for the Kid Who Loves to Dress to Impress
‘Tis the season, after all. Your jewelry-loving kiddo will relish the chance to bedazzle themself with this extra sparkly jewel set, which allows them to mix and match and choose from a pink heart pendant necklace, two rings and two earring sets. (FYI, ring sizes are adjustable.) Just think of how their bling will look over their matching holiday PJs.
Best for the Kid Who Loves Practical Jokes
Little Stinker Store
What’s Christmas without a little reindeer-related fun? Your kids will LOL at Santa’s sense of humor when they pluck this bag of peppermint-flavored cotton candy—we mean, reindeer farts from their stocking. It’s nut-free and melts in your mouth.
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