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Buying gifts for kids can be incredibly entertaining. They don’t want ties or underwear, they want presents that are fun and lively and sometimes a little bit zany. Here are some kid-approved gift ideas that are both cool and easy on any budget.
Here we go:
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Some of you are freaking out at this suggestion, because Lego sets can get expensive, right? Well, sure, if you’re going to buy the Millennium Falcon ($800). But for a lot less money, you can load up on plenty of fun little sets, including Lego Holiday Santa, firefighters and this Duplo airplane kit. If you buy on Amazon, make sure you get free shipping so you don’t end paying an outrageous price to ship 4 ounces of plastic. (This is where an Amazon Prime account can make a real difference.)
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You can pick up a cheap deck of cards from virtually any dollar store or toy department in the country. They cost just a couple of bucks, but they come with the potential for many hours of fun. For the younger set, look for games such as Old Maid or Go Fish that feature big numbers and bright graphics. Tweens and teens might like to receive a regular deck of cards and learn some grown-up games once the dinner dishes are put away.
3. Craft supplies
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You could spend $20-plus on a bundle of craft supplies, or you could make your own set for less than half the price. Head to the dollar store and look for construction paper, markers, ribbon, glue, beads and other crafty items. Arrange them in an inexpensive bin or basket and wrap it up with some wrapping tissue or cellophane for a fun and creative gift.
While we’re on the topic, check out: “15 Things You Should Always Buy at the Dollar Store.”
4. Temporary tattoos
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There’s something about temporary tattoos that children love. It’s like being given permission to write all over yourself. There are inexpensive sets in a wide array of themes — emojis, Avengers, unicorns — you name it. Another fun variation, Finger Monsters, combines tattoo mania with hand-puppet fun.
5. Coupon book
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You can’t beat free, and you don’t have to spend a dime to give your favorite kids a homemade coupon book full of little splurges. Coupons could be for an extra hour of screen time on the weekend, a night off from chores or even a night of dessert before dinner.
6. Give an experience
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You’ll guarantee good memories when you give an experience. (Younger kids might not quite grasp the concept, so this gift is best for those who are a little older.) Create a certificate entitling the child to a special date with you. It could involve taking your niece to see a matinee or going fishing with your grandson. Either pick something you know they’ll love, or let them make the call — as long as it is within reason.
If you’re looking for more ideas on gifts that are not material goods, check out “Awesome Gifts for Kids Who Have Too Much Stuff.”
7. Makeup bag
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For this one, if you aren’t buying for your own daughter, you’ll want to check with the child’s parents first. However, if you get the green light, most girls love the chance to play dress-up, and that includes experimenting with makeup. Pick up an inexpensive toiletry bag and stuff it with sample-size makeup items. If the girl in your life isn’t quite old enough for makeup, you could include lotions, soaps or other bath items instead.
If you’re buying for a teen, it could be that a gift card for popular makeup chain Sephora is a better bet than guessing on makeup. Check out “8 Great Ways to Save at Sephora.”
8. A share of stock
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Not all kids will appreciate this one when it comes out of the box, but if you make a wise choice, they’ll thank you later. Buy a single share of stock and wrap up the certificate in a box or card. Then, show them how to follow the stock value and explain that eventually this $10 gift might be worth a whole lot more.
For more ideas along this line, check out “8 Great Gifts That Teach Kids Math and Money Savvy.”
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Some hardcover books can be pricey, but there are plenty that fall in the $10-and-under range. And almost every kid loves some type of book. Even if they aren’t big readers, you can find Mad Libs, puzzle books or comic books that fit just about every level of interest.
10. Candy bags
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You simply can’t go wrong with candy. Mom and Dad might not be thrilled, but if you show up at the Christmas party with bags of sweets for every boy and girl, we’ll bet you suddenly become the younger set’s favorite relative.
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What is it about kids and flashlights? From making shadow puppets on the wall to usurping Mom and Dad’s authority and reading under the covers after bedtime, flashlights are a gateway to a whole slew of cool activities. Since these are kids we’re talking about, no need to buy top-of-the-line models. Get an eight-pack of colorful flashlights, and you’ll be good to go for the big family party.
12. iTunes gift cards
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It seems like every kid today has an i-Something, and that means you can’t go wrong with an iTunes gift card. These aren’t just for music. The under-18 set also likes to use these to download apps and games. If you belong to a warehouse club, check there to see if discounted cards are available.
13. Toe socks
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Socks are boring, but toe socks are the bomb. Not only do they fit feet like a glove, but they come in all sorts of fun patterns. You can get frogs, cats or, for the more conservative child in your life, solid colors. Personally, I’m partial to these apparently Japanese-inspired bunnies. Best of all, you don’t have to break the bank to buy this toe-tally awesome gift.
Those are 13 great kid gifts for less than $10, but they certainly aren’t your only options. If you’ve given a cheap gift that was a super hit, tell us about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
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