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 photo books and keepsake journals 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 6 to create a book. The book can either be created online or written and illustrated by hand and sent off for printing. The price of the kit buys you one finished 7 X 9 book. It's a good way to encourage writing and illustration skills, as well as rewarding grandchildren for project completion.
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.
This unique building toy, created in Denmark, allows for the creation of 2-D pictures and 3-D objects. You can get a basic set of 300 pieces for around $20 and add to it if the grandchildren like it. The soft rubbery feel of the pieces is inviting to children of all ages. This particular set holds the small size pieces so is not suitable for children younger than three, but sets containing larger sizes are also available.
10. Blast Bow by Toysmith
This cool-looking bow set by Toysmith is sure to be a kid magnet. Grandparents will appreciate the safety afforded by the soft foam darts. The darts can travel up to 40 feet, according to the vendor. It would be a good idea to buy extra darts, which could send the cost of the toy over $25, but it will provide lots of play for the money.