Best gifts for grandchildren
Cheapism
Best gifts for grandchildren
Cheapism

Child's Play

It's hard finding the perfect gift for any loved one, but especially so when there are multiple generation gaps between you. Grandparents shopping for grandchildren may easily feel overwhelmed by the excess of toys, both old and new, available online and in stores. Here are a few of your best bets, from coveted toys to high-tech games to classic favorites.

Prices and availability are subject to change.

Related: Unique Gift Ideas for Everyone on Your List

Dalmatian Vet Kit
Amazon

Dalmatian Vet Kit

$23 from Amazon
Shop Now

Young children with a passion for animals will love playing veterinarian with this 15-piece set including play versions of a stethoscope, syringe, and other instruments, along with a 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.

Related: Best Gifts for Dog-Obsessed Humans

PlayStation 5
Amazon

PlayStation 5

$400 from Amazon 
Shop Now (pre-order)

This new console is officially rolling out Nov. 12, and it won’t need to be on sale to entice buyers. Pre-ordering is a good idea to ensure your favorite gamer can get their hands on one by Christmas Day, and you’ll want to keep an eye on all major stores to have that chance. (The same goes for the Xbox Series S and Series X, set to be released Nov. 10.)

Related: Popular Gifts Likely to Sell Out in 2020 (and What to Buy If You're Too Late)

Hasbro Don’t Step In It!
Walmart
Blooming Lollipops
Uncommon Goods

Blooming Lollipops

$20 from Uncommon Goods
Shop Now

This set of eight lollipops makes for a unique small gift for an older grandchild. The suckers have botanical-inspired flavors such as sage and marshmallow, rosemary and mint, and lavender and lemongrass, but the real surprise is that the seed-embedded sticks can be planted when you're done with the candy to grow real plants.

Related: 25 Snack Box Subscriptions for Every Type of Eater

PlayMonster Original Wooly Willy
Courtesy of amazon.com

Wooly Willy

$5 from Amazon
Shop Now

First produced in 1955, this simple but classic toy uses a magnetic wand to move metal filings like hair follicles around a bald cartoon face. Having inspired several knockoffs, Wooly Willy survives as a toy today because it's creative, entertaining from a young age, and still wonderfully cheap.

Related: Holiday Gifts You Can Get at the Dollar Store

Kanoodle
Amazon

Kanoodle

$8 from Amazon
Shop Now

Kanoodle is a cheap, solo game pack with hundreds of possible puzzle variations ranging from easy to difficult, accessible to everyone older than 3. Basically, it consists of several colored, connected beads that can be stacked to construct unique designs and help children improve their spatial reasoning. It'll give them something to do by themselves on the go that doesn't involve staring at a screen.

Related: Incredibly Fun Toys for Adults

Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio
Amazon

Play-Doh Touch Shape to Life Studio

$17 from Amazon
Shop Now

This enticing Play-Doh product is just one of many modern app-paired toys that allows kids to make their physical creations interactive. 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.

Related: Unusual Gifts They'll Never See Coming

EzyRoller Classic Ride On
Walmart
Hasbro Classic Operation Game
Amazon

Operation

$15 from Amazon
Shop Now

Most children who grew up playing Operation, a variation on a buzzing carnival game invented in 1964, probably had no idea it was testing their hand-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, or another character.

Related: Fun Gifts for the Entire Family

Green Toys Dump Truck
Amazon
View Master Boxed Set
Amazon

View Master Boxed Set

$17 from Amazon 
Shop Now

You probably spent some time clicking through one of these as a kid — now it's time to give your own grandkids the same pleasure. Consider it the original VR headset.

Spirograph Design Tin Set
Amazon
Radio Flyer My 1st Wagon
Amazon

Radio Flyer Wagon

Price: $20 from Amazon
Buy It

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, including this miniaturized version, the full-fledged original ($100), and a more rugged all-terrain variation ($140).

Related: 19 Gardening Must-Have Gifts for Anyone With a Green Thumb

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot
Amazon

Ozobot Bit Coding Robot

$120 from Amazon
Shop Now

Here's a cutting-edge way to nourish a child's early STEM skills: Ozobot Bit, the coding robot. Children older than 6 can have fun while gaining valuable foundational skills, customizing their bot with character stickers, and coding with a marker before taking on included activity challenges and advancing to edit programs online.

Related: The Hottest Tech Gifts This Holiday Season

Nintendo Switch Lite
Amazon

Nintendo Switch Lite

$200 from Amazon
Shop Now

For the grandparent who likes to go all out with their gift giving, this versatile system from Nintendo is popular for good reason. It can be taken anywhere and has a relatively low price tag for a gaming system. The Switch Lite — which comes in yellow, turquoise, and gray — is compatible with all physical and digital Nintendo Switch games that support handheld mode. 

Related: Great Tech Gifts for Seniors

Kiwi Crate
KiwiCo

Kiwi Crate

Varies from KiwiCo
Shop Now

Kiwi Crates are tailor-made gift sets that let 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 United States. Each crate is designed to teach STEM skills at home in fun, interactive ways.

Related: Meaningful and Unique Gifts That Give Back

Tupperware Shape-O Toy
Tupperware

Tupperware Shape-O Toy

Price: $30 from Tupperware
Shop Now

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.

Related: 29 Retro Gifts That Kids Will Still Love Today

VTech KidiBeats Drum Set
Amazon
Exploding Kittens
Exploding Kittens, LLC
Hasbro Connect 4 Game
Amazon
Basic Fun Fisher Price Classic Chatter Phone
Amazon

Fisher-Price Chatter Phone

$16 from Amazon
Shop Now

This beloved rolling toy still has the same old-fashioned rotary dial 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 old still enjoy the chatter phone's flashing lights, ringing noises, and moving eyes.

Related: 50 Last-Minute Gifts You Can Pick Up at the Drugstore

Mr. Potato Head Marvel Agents Of S.p.u.d.
Amazon
Kid O Bilibo Orange
Courtesy of amazon.com

Bilibo

$27 from Amazon
Shop Now

Imaginative kids 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.

Related: Hottest Holday Gifts From Amazon

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts
Costco

$15 Krispy Kreme Gift Cards

$45 from Costco (4 ct.)
Shop Now

Cover a lot of grandkids easily if you shop at Costco. For instance, this pack of four Krispy Kreme gift cards gives you three sweet stocking stuffers for them, plus a freebie $15 gift card for yourself.

Related: 25 Gifts Under $25 for Food Lovers

Watch Ya' Mouth Family Edition
Amazon

Watch Ya' Mouth

$16 from Amazon
Shop Now

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.

Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board
Amazon

Melissa & Doug Latches Wooden Activity Board

$21 from Amazon
Shop Now

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.

Related: 30 Holiday Gifts to Buy Early

MindWare Q-BA-MAZE 2.0: Big Box
Amazon

Q-Ba-Maze 2.0

$42 from Amazon
Shop Now

Unlike most marble-run sets, this one was made by an architect who made sure the pieces would snap together to keep the marbles on track. The colorful play set empowers children to get creative in making miniature engineering marvels, and then enjoy their work by unleashing multiple marbles at once to navigate the maze.

WowWee Baby Shark Song Puppet
Amazon

WowWee Baby Shark Song Puppet

$18 from Amazon 
Shop Now

Be the hero in your toddler grandkid's life by gifting this plush puppet that plays the "Baby Shark" song (doo doo doo doo doo doo). The tempo slows or speeds up depending on how fast you move the mouth.

Lego Creator Expert Gingerbread House
Lego
Rory's Story Cubes
Amazon

Rory's Story Cubes

$10 from Amazon
Shop Now

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 incorporate all those images into their own made-up-on-the-spot story.

Related: 30 Gifts Under $10 for Your Co-Workers

Leapfrog Water and Count Veggie Garden
Target
Klutz LEGO Chain Reactions Craft Kit
Amazon

Lego Chain Reactions Craft Kit

$17 from Amazon
Shop Now

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. An 80-page instructional booklet details 10 modules, although children will need additional Lego blocks from their own collection to make some of them. The chain reactions are fun to set up and then see in action.

Zipfy Two Tone Series and Freestyle Luge Snow Sled
Amazon

Zipfy Freestyle Luge Snow Sled

$46 from Amazon
Shop Now

If your grandchildren 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 is a little pricier than the typical slab of plastic but functions more effectively and safely while still accommodating adults who want to hit the slopes as well.

Related: Outdoor Gift Ideas Under $50

Intermediate Wooden Model Building Kit
The Grommet

Intermediate Wooden Building Kit

$20 and up from The Grommet 
Shop Now

If you have an older grankid who still likes to build things and work with their hands, these transportation-themed modeling kits make a unique gift. Geared toward adults and older kids, each piece is laser-cut plywood, and the kits require no tools or glue.

Green Toys Rocket with 2 Astronauts Toy Vehicle Playset
Amazon

Green Toys Rocket With Astronauts

$22 from Amazon
Shop Now

Another Green Toys plaything that's both sturdy and environmentally friendly, this rocket play set 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 encourage a child's imaginative side.

Related: Clever and Creative Gifts for Book Lovers

Lego Brickheadz Luke Skywalker And Yoda
Courtesy of target.com
Giantmicrobes Themed Gift Boxes
Amazon

Giant Microbes

Price: $22 from Amazon
Buy It

Giant microbes are a sort of unconventional plush toy, designed to teach kids about disease and single-celled organisms while still providing them something soft to snuggle. These adorable teaching tools come in various themed gift sets featuring cuddly versions of famous historical plague germs, blood cells, and more (even STDs!).

Hatchimals Pixies
Walmart

Hatchimals Pixies

$32 from Walmart
Shop Now

Hatchimals' Pixies toys go for the ultimate magic factor. Kids can hatch four versions: Crystal Canyon, Polar Paradise, Wishing Star Waterfall, or Glittering Garden. Each egg includes a glitter-winged pixie, three mystery accessories, and a pixie bed.

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker
Amazon

Melissa & Doug Geometric Stacker

$17 from Amazon
Shop Now

The geometric stacker is the definition of an oldie-but-a-goodie in the toy world. Children stack rainbow-colored blocks in descending size on wooden dowels. It's best for kids around ages 2 to 4 just figuring out how to recognize shapes, colors, and patterns.

Simon Electronic Memory Game
Amazon
WowWee Fingerlings Light Up Narwhal
Amazon

Fingerlings Narwhals

$14 from Amazon
Shop Now

The craze continues the Fingerlings universe with Narwhals. They come in blue, purple, turquoise, or pink and respond to sound, touch, and motion with all sorts of cute movements and noises, including a "mood horn" that lights up in different colors. If you're looking for something not quite so sweet, check out the Untamed Velociraptors.

Rocketbook Everlast Mini
Amazon
Z-Man Games Pandemic Board Game
Amazon

Pandemic

$36 from Amazon
Shop Now

If you have a grandchild who's a budding board-game enthusiast and has been glued to the television lately for pandemic updates, this collaborative game may be the perfect way to start them out. Pandemic is easy enough for children over 8 to understand after a round or two, but strategic enough to inspire hours of real discussion and teamwork. Players act as disease specialists preventing outbreaks and curing illness around the world.

Related: Gifts No One Wants to Get This Holiday Season

Sunprint Kit
Amazon
Peropon Drinking Animal Planter
Firebox

Peropon Drinking Animal Planter

$15 from Firebox
Shop Now

This retailer calls these the "Gene Simmons of the ceramic animal plant pot world," and we can't stop giggling. These little cuties only need someone to keep their water dishes filled, and they'll thrive. Available in cat, dog, panda, and frog versions — and a great way to get a kid excited about gardening with grandparents.

Related: The Best Gifts for Plant Lovers and Green Thumbs

JLab JBuds Pro
Best Buy

JLab JBuds Pro

$20 at Best Buy 
Shop Now

Don't have a big budget for headphones? That doesn't mean your grandkids have to resign themselves to a wired pair. Bluetooth-enabled JBuds get surprisingly great reviews for the price. Get up to six hours of playback on a single charge. They're also sweat- and water-resistant.

Lego Classic Creative Bricks
Amazon

Lego Classic Creative Bricks

$13 from Amazon 
Shop Now

While it comes with a few ideas for small projects, this classic, colorful set of Legos promotes open play. The brick-shaped storage container is an adorable bonus.

Knock Knock Original Personal Library Kit
Amazon

Knock Knock Original Personal Library Kit

$18 from Amazon 
Shop Now

Perhaps you have a grandkid who takes their personal library so seriously that they'll want to check books in and out the way they used to do in public libraries. This kit comes with 20 return-date slips, 20 self-adhesive pockets, plus a date stamp and ink pad.

Soundbot Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker
Amazon

Soundbot Waterproof Bluetooth Speaker

$17 from Amazon 
Shop Now

A great gift for kids who like to take the party anywhere, this waterproof speaker has universal compatibility, a built-in mic, and high-definition Bluetooth wireless connectivity.

Beautyblender Makeup Sponge
Amazon

Beautyblender Makeup Sponge

$20 from Amazon 
Shop Now

If your grandkid is getting into makeup, this is a great tool to get them started. High-end Beautyblender sponges have racked up plenty of awards and a big cult following among makeup lovers. These edgeless, reusable sponges are water-activated and promise even application of foundations, powders, and other products.

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