40 Great Gifts to Buy Your Grandkids This Holiday Season

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CHILD'S PLAY

It's hard finding the perfect gift for any loved one, let alone when there are multiple generation gaps between you. Grandparents doing their holiday shopping for grandchildren may easily feel overwhelmed by the excess of toys, both old and new, available online and in stores, so here are a few of this year's most-coveted gifts to consider buying to make the kids' holidays special. (Note: Prices and availability are subject to change.)
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HATCHIMALS

Price: $55 | Buy It on Amazon
Hatchimals have been among the most coveted toys both this year and last for the 5-and-up crowd, thanks to a novel concept that sees the individualized fuzzy, robotic creatures hatch from eggs and mature through three stages of development with a child's encouragement. They can also talk, dance, and play games.

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GREEN TOYS RECYCLING TRUCK

Price: $20 | Buy It on Amazon
This particular mini-vehicle from Green Toys -- made from recycled milk containers -- embodies the company's environmentally friendly approach while providing parents or grandparents the opportunity to talk about such issues. But beyond that, the Recycling Truck is large, well-designed, and durable enough to survive a run through the dishwasher. Green Toys is one of a dwindling number of U.S.-based toymakers.

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STAR WARS DROID INVENTOR KIT

Price: $100 | Buy It on Amazon
There are now working versions of Star Wars robots available to buy on Amazon (not cranky C-3PO though, thank goodness), but for the creative tech-inclined grandchild, it may be more cost-effective and rewarding to have them build their own with this STEM-friendly droid inventor kit. They can experiment with their original R2 unit's reconfigurable, individually functioning electronic blocks to build a new unique and interactive personality. In fact, there's an ever-expanding universe of Star Wars gifts, as well.

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UGLY DOLLS

Price: $20 | Buy It on Amazon
For the tween grandchild that's too old for a teddy bear but still wouldn't mind another sort of stuffed animal, an Ugly Doll may make the perfect gift. The artist-designed plushies are all unique and undeniably cute despite their name and offbeat designs, equally appealing to preschoolers with the urge to cuddle and high schoolers with a good sense of humor.

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HOLY STONE PREDATOR DRONE

Price: $40 | Buy It on Amazon
If your grandchild is interested in tech or the current trend of recreational drone use, this reasonably priced "training" quadcopter may be the perfect place to start with this modern hobby, provided the child is at least 14 years old and diligent enough to peruse the manual properly. The drone incorporates three different speed settings, a "headless flight system" that makes stable flying easier, and a six-axis stabilization system that helps in executing aerial stunts and flips.

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SPIROGRAPH

Price: $14 | Buy It on Amazon
Invented in the late 19th century, the Spirograph is a drawing tool that lets anyone create hypnotic mandala-like designs. Modern Spirograph sets include multiple sizes of drawing wheels and different colored pens that allow children or adults to get creative with this uniquely mathematical design toy.

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NINTENDO SWITCH

Price: $300 | Buy It on Amazon
For the grandparent who likes to go all-out in their gift giving, the latest gaming system from Nintendo is popular this year with good reason, given its versatility and relatively low price tag for a new console. The Switch functions as both a home system and portable tablet, so games can be taken anywhere and played in multiple styles, or with others playing on multiple consoles.

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TUPPERWARE SHAPE-O TOY

Price: $29 | Buy It from Tupperware
Most children probably grew up with something like this rattling ball toy from Tupperware, which has yellow geometric pieces that fit through cutout spaces. Infants and children from 6 months to 6 years can work on identifying shapes and increasing dexterity while playing, then store the pieces within the ball so they aren't immediately lost.

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OPERATION

Price: $13 | Buy It on Amazon
A variation on a buzzing carnival game invented in 1964, most children who grew up playing Operation probably had no idea it was testing their eye coordination and fine motor skills the entire time. The toy, which is best for ages 6 to 14, is still easily found online and in stores today, often in themed versions where the patient is Shrek, Homer Simpson, and other characters.

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VTECH KIDIBEATS DRUM SET

Price: $18 | Buy It on Amazon
This toddler-friendly drum set lets kids from 2 to 5 years of age bang miniature LED-lit drum-pads freestyle or with pre-programmed melodies that encourage them to follow along while teaching them letters and numbers. It's fun, cheap, and simple while also aiding in sensory development.

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CONNECT 4

Price: $8 | Buy It on Amazon
A little like a more-involved, gravity-based form of tic-tac-toe, Connect 4 is a cheap, portable two-player game that's simple enough for young children, yet involves enough strategy to engage adults too. There are many versions produced today of the 1974 Milton Bradley original, including a "Twist and Turn" version.

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FISHER PRICE CHATTER PHONE

Price: $14 | Buy It on Amazon
This beloved rolling toy still has the same old-fashioned rotary dial as it did upon its initial release in 1962, having undergone a short-lived update to push buttons in 2000. The design is no longer modernized, but young toddlers around 2 years of age still enjoy the chatter phone's flashing lights, ringing noises, and moving eyes.

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FURREAL FRIENDS TORCH DRAGON

Price: $60 | Buy It from Toys R Us
One of the more reasonably priced critters in this line of interactive FurReal friends is Torch the dragon, a baby-blue companion with more than 50 unique responses involving sound and motion. Children 4 years of age and up can make Torch breathe fire-colored mist to roast a fake marshmallow treat or just pet him to see if he'll respond with a giggle or burp.

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WATER WHEEL PLAY TABLE

Price: $35 | Buy It on Amazon
Toddlers of all ages will love splashing around on this outdoor play table complete with a spinning waterwheel that drains into a basin molded with tiny moats and canals for the toy boats to sail between. Even indoors during cooler seasons, the toy works perfectly as an ordinary play table.

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DALMATIAN VET KIT

Price: $32 | Buy It on Amazon
Young children with a passion for animals will love playing veterinarian with this set including play versions of a stethoscope, syringe, and pet carrier that doubles as storage space for all the separate pieces. They can pretend to heal their own pet with the play tools or use them on the fuzzy stuffed Dalmatian included in the kit.

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BILIBO

Price: $27 | Buy It on Amazon
Imaginative youngsters find dozens of ways to play with this surprisingly versatile and sturdy toy -- as a hat, as a tortoise shell, or as a seat to spin around in. Because the bilibo doesn't have one specific use, it can be a great way to encourage creative play for children with excess energy, from as young as 2 to as old as 10.

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EZYROLLER

Price: $99 | Buy It on Amazon
Adults and kids alike may be competing for the next ride on the EzyRoller come Christmas morning. This low-riding, sit-down scooter has the rider pump their feet to keep moving with an extendable foot bar, making for comfortable and fun rides fitting for both kids and their grandparents.

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FANTASY FORT BUILDING SET

Price: $40 | Buy It on Amazon
Children with a passion for pillow forts will love the chance to build their forts with something a bit sturdier, like the lightweight yet durable connectable panels that make up this construction kit. The panels look like wood-grain and can easily form structures large enough for young ones to crawl inside and play.

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LATCHES WOODEN ACTIVITY BOARD

Price: $21 | Buy It on Amazon
Toddlers from ages 3 to 6 can build dexterity and other skills trying to master the six different latches holding the doors shut on this activity board from beloved toy-making company Melissa & Doug. Behind the doors are different colors and numbers to keep young kids learning.

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Q-BA-MAZE 2.0

Price: $37 | Buy It on Amazon
Unlike most marble-run sets, this one was made by an architect who made sure the pieces would snap together to ensure the marbles stay on-track. The colorful playset empowers children to get creative in making miniature engineering marvels, and then enjoy their work by unleashing multiple marbles at once to navigate their maze.

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SPINNYOS YO-LLER COASTER

Price: $22 | Buy It on Amazon
The Yo-ller Coaster from Fisher Price is a curvy, colorful playset containing multiple tracks for yo-yo-like spools to spin down and launch off of. Children put the spinners on the launchers and find fun ways to modify the tracks and change their trajectory. The unique toy takes some assembly but will entertain toddlers to preschool-age children just as well as, say, a marble-run toy.

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BUDDHA BOARD

Price: $35 | Buy It on Amazon
Here's something older grandchildren may appreciate for their bedroom workspace or dorm room. A "zen-like Etch-a-Sketch," the Buddha Board lets anyone create elegant temporary artworks that fade when the water evaporates, encouraging amateur artists to experiment in the moment or maybe even to hone their calligraphy skills.

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WATCH YA' MOUTH

Price: $15 | Buy It on Amazon
Few kids or adults will be able to resist cracking up after a few rounds of Watch Ya' Mouth, a simple-but-hilarious game in which players try to pronounce complex phrases with dentist-style cheek retractors in their mouths. The game originated via viral videos but has since become a hot gift for friends and family unafraid to laugh at themselves.

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RORY'S STORY CUBES

Price: $7 | Buy It on Amazon
Rory's Story Cubes are simple and cheap but capable of inspiring endless creativity. Players roll dice with different images on each side, then try on their own or with other players' help to employ all those images into their own made-up-on-the-spot story.

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WORRY EATING PLUSH PALS

Price: $23 | Buy It from UncommonGoods
These cute and colorful plush dolls for kids 3 and up can also serve as a unique coping tool for kids going through a rough time. The kids write their worries down on a small slip of paper, then place inside the dolls' zipper-shut mouths to acknowledge their anxieties before zipping them away.

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MEGA BLOKS BLOCK SCOOPING WAGON

Price: $26 | Buy It on Amazon
This toddler-friendly vehicle will give your young grandchildren both colorful blocks to build with, and a fun incentive to pick the pieces up themselves once they're finished. Kids from 1 to 5 years of age push or ride in the miniature wagon that picks up and stores blocks as it passes over them.

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GIANT MICROBES

Price: $20 | Buy It on Amazon
Giant microbes are another sort of unconventional plush toy, this one designed to teach kids about disease and single-celled organisms while still providing them something soft with which to cuddle. These adorable teaching tools come in various themed gift-sets featuring cuddly versions of famous historical plague germs, blood cells, or even STDs.

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KIWI CRATE

Price: Varies | Buy It from KiwiCo
Kiwi Crates are tailor-made gift sets that lets you customize the contents to ensure they're perfect for a grandchild's age range. Subscribe for a predetermined length of time and receive monthly crates with free shipping within the U.S., each designed to teach STEM skills in fun, interactive ways in the comfort of a child's own home.

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ZIPFY FREESTYLE LUGE SNOW SLED

Price: $49 | Buy It on Amazon
If your grandchild can't wait to start sledding in the snowy season, it may be time to buy them a sled that's lightweight, easy to control, and strong enough not to break the second it hits an icy patch. This Zipfy sled runs a little pricey but functions more effectively and safely than competing sleds while still accommodating adults who want to hit the slopes as well.

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GREEN TOYS ROCKET WITH ASTRONAUTS

Price: $17 | Buy It on Amazon
Another toy both sturdy and environmentally friendly, this rocket playset comes with two mini astronaut figures and features a detachable top capsule so kids from ages 2 to 8 can be a bit more creative with how they play. It's another example of a toy that has enough features to entertain while still being plain enough to enable a child's imaginative side.

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LEGO MINIFIGS

Price: $5 to $30 | Buy It on Amazon
Before they were a film franchise, Legos were still a timeless toy equally encouraging to obsessive perfectionism and boundless imagination. Even if a grandchild wouldn't enjoy the chance to build with the classic bricks, they might get a kick out of their minifigures, which come in both themed sets and as individual figurines in hilariously unique outfits.

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LEGO CHAIN REACTIONS CRAFT KIT

Price: $16 | Buy It on Amazon
Alternately, try this award-winning Lego set that includes plastic balls, paper ramps, string, and ordinary blocks, which together can be used to create working machines based on an 80-page instructional booklet detailing 10 modules. The chain reactions are fun to set up and then see in action, but children will need additional Lego blocks from their own collection to make some.

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MAKE YOUR OWN KALEIDOSCOPE SET

Price: $17.50 | Buy It on Amazon
Kaleidoscopes have fascinated adults and children for centuries, but rather than buy your grandchild a common plastic one, encourage them to customize their own with this reasonably priced kit, which includes glass marbles, gemstones, and dried flowers that become the basis for the geometric shapes they'll see when it's finished.

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PRINCESS CASTLE PLAY TENT

Price: $22 | Buy It on Amazon
Indoors or outdoors, there's something magical about being in a tent for a young child, and especially if it reminds them of their favorite fairy-tale stories. This easily assembled pink structure gives children ages 3 to 8 their own private and imagination-inspiring space to play in or even sleep inside.

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WOOLY WILLY

Price: $3 | Buy It on Amazon
First produced in 1955, this simple but classic toy uses a magnetic wand to move metal fillings like hair follicles around a bald cartoon face. Inspiring several knockoffs, Wooly Willy survives as a toy today because it's creative, entertaining from a young age onward, and still wonderfully cheap.

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PANDEMIC

Price: $29 | Buy It on Amazon
If you have a would-be board game enthusiast for a grandchild, this collaborative game in which players act as disease specialists preventing outbreaks and curing illness around the world may be the perfect way to start them out. Pandemic is easy enough to understand for children over 8 after a round or two, but strategic enough to inspire hours of real discussion and teamwork.

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PLAY-DOH TOUCH SHAPE TO LIFE STUDIO

Price: $12.50 | Buy It on Amazon
This enticing Play-Doh product is just one of many modern app-paired toys that allows kids to get interactive with their physical creations. In this case, they scan a creature they design by hand or with included cutouts, then play with the character in unique worlds on the Play-Doh Touch app.

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GEOMETRIC STACKER

Price: $16 | Buy It on Amazon
The geometric stacker -- made up of wooden dowels upon which rainbow-colored blocks are stacked descending in size -- is the definition of an oldie-but-a-goodie in the toy world. It's best for children around ages 2 to 4 just figuring out how to recognize shapes, colors, and patterns.

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RADIO FLYER WAGON

Price: $26 | Buy It on Amazon
First produced in 1923, Radio Flyer's red wagon became an icon of American childhood for a simple reason: It encourages kids to get outside, whether they're riding in the wagon or hauling it around themselves. Today there are different models to suit different ages, like the toy version above, the full-fledged original ($78), and a more rugged all-terrain variation ($134).

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SIMON

Price: $20 | Buy It on Amazon
Simon is an electronic memory-based game in which players try to remember and repeat an increasingly long sequence of flashing lights and tones. Though it's no longer the pop-culture phenomenon it was in the late '70s and early '80s, Simon remains a simple yet challengingly effective form of entertainment for anyone older than 7.