Grandparents are experienced enough in the gift-giving department to know that the value of a gift isn't always related to the price tag. Cheap toys can provide lots of fun and often outlast the trendy toy of the year. Check out these ten toys under $25. You're sure to find one that will be tons of fun for a grandkid or two.
Grandparents will like this toy because it draws upon and hones a host of skills. Grandchildren will like it because it's just so cool. The person holding it instantly becomes the target of pleas to share. There are three places to start, so it's essentially three mazes. It's totally self-contained, so it's welcome entertainment when road trip games lose their charm. In addition to this Perplexus, there's a Rookie that's a little easier and a Perplexus Epic that's a little harder. This one is suitable for ages 6 and up.
Stomping on a launch pad generates a blast of air that propels the rocket into the air. The Ultra Stomp Rocket, designed for kids 8 and up, claims a maximum blast height of 200 feet, but we've never achieved such lofty heights. Still, the grandkids will be amazed at how far they can propel the rocket with simple stomp power. A smaller version, the Junior, is designed for kids 3-8. These are not the sturdiest toys on the market, as one might expect from the price tag. Oversee their use if you expect them to last for a while. They are, however, dependable generators of fun.
The I Spy Puzzles combine the challenge of putting together a puzzle with the fun of locating dozens of objects. My grandkids' favorite is the 63-piece Monster Workshop, but there are sizes and styles for all ages, from simple kits for kiddies to 500-piece monsters for the oldest grandkids. One caveat: The puzzles are advertised as having "riddles to solve," but there aren't actual riddles, just items to search for.
Grandkids will love the Glow Book, the newest product from Crayola, which lets them create their own flashing neon art. Little artists draw on the four clear plates using special markers, then put them into the Glow Book base. With a push of a button, the drawings come to life! My grandkids especially love taking their creations into a dark closet for viewing. The toy is suggested for ages 6 and up, but the older grandkids won't be able to keep their hands off it, and it may prove equally tempting to grandparents.
I'm a big fan of grandparents making photo books for family gifts, but here's a new wrinkle: Let the grandkids make a book for you! This kit is designed to make it easy for children as young as 9 to create a book online using their own digital images. The price of the kit buys you one finished book, and extra books can be ordered. It's a good way to encourage writing and photography skills, as well as encouraging project completion. (Books that aren't worked on for 45 days are deleted.) All in all, PhotoStory is a good stepping stone that will allow interested grandkids to eventually move up to the more sophisticated photo book sites.
Give a grandchild a piece of history as well as a soft, cuddly toy. Some modern sock monkeys are knitted rather than being made from socks, but these Ozark Mountain sock monkeys are still created the traditional way. They are the most authentic you can buy without going vintage, as they are created from the classic red-heeled socks developed by the Nelson Knitting Company, which was taken over by Fox River Mills in 1992. If you have a grandchild over 10, order a kit and make your own!
Since 2007 Hoppop has been building a reputation for sleek, minimalist products for kids. The Hoppop Rambla is a trio of toys for tykes. Each makes a distinctive sound when picked up, and they are soft to the touch yet waterproof. When a baby who is just learning to reach for toys touches one, it will reel and wobble and make its special sound. Great for encouraging tummy time for infants, yet interesting enough for toddlers.
The Wiggle Bones series combines the fun of sculpting clay with the discipline of building a model. The grandkids will love covering the plastic skeleton with Modeling Magic, then using the special tool to pop some dots, which give the chameleon his bumpy charm. This kit is fairly time intensive, so if your grandchild has a short attention span, you might consider one of the simpler kits in the Presto Dots line.