There’s no shortage of gift guides for kids, but don’t torture yourself reading every single one: the only round-ups that matter are the ones you can actually afford. If a frugal touch is needed for your holiday budget, make sure the inexpensive presents you’re giving to children don’t cheap out on the entertainment factor, or else you might find yourself on their naughty list...
Luckily, Canadian retailers have put out plenty of affordable options that speak to current trends and premium details. Here are some options that save you money without skimping out on fun:
All product choices are made independently by our editors. HuffPost Canada may receive a share from purchases made via links on this page.
The Hangrees Collectible Splatter Man
Just like last year, kids still love all things poop and slime. The Hangrees toys parody pop culture icons and are a low-mess way to get in on the gooey fun, with this version of Spider-Man sure to please superhero types. There is a convenient plastic “toilet” for the poop to be placed, so make sure that kids are aiming as well as they hopefully are in real life.
Baby Shark Play-Doh set
The siren song “Baby Shark” is inescapable, but this toy is a great compromise for parents looking to please their shark-obsessed child while preserving their peace of mind. This “Baby Shark” Play-Doh set will mercifully spare you from listening to the catchy tune for the umpteeth time, as little hands create artistic renditions of the Baby Shark’s family.
Disney’s “Frozen 2” light-up Elsa
There are only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the eternal popularity of Elsa from the “Frozen” franchise. With “Frozen 2” hitting theatres before the holidays, you might as well anticipate the icy queen’s reign over your kid’s heart with a doll in Elsa’s likeness. This edition comes with a patterned skirt that lights up.
Get it at: Canadian Tire
Remote-controlled toys are always popular. Why not veer from the usual trucks and cars and by bringing home a remote-controlled pal from the Jurassic era? You’ll make a future paleontologist very happy with the gift of making a pint-sized tyrannosaurus rex move forwards and roar with the flick of a switch. This specific edition is on clearance, so you’ll want to act fast if you want to get it under the tree.
Get it at: Walmart
PlayMonster Fairy Garden: Tree Hallow
If you’ve noticed your little one getting a case of the winter blues, why not encourage their green thumb with a garden of their own? Kids can grow real plants in this clever fairy-themed toy that doubles as a planter.
Get it at: Amazon
iDance Starpads Jr.
Every famous DJ starts somewhere: give your budding Marshmello a head start with this beat-making beast. There’s a surprisingly robust number of sounds available, presented with bright buttons that won’t overwhelm young minds. With many professional drumpads costing hundreds of dollars, consider the cost of this toy a massive steal.
LeapFrog’s 100 Words book
This interactive book is perfect for nurturing a strong grasp on both official languages. Cute animals chirp the English and French terms for any image tiny fingers touch, along with fun facts.
Ages: 18 months+
Get it at: Walmart
Rainbow Loom Loomoji
The kids at recess who could give their friends hand-made bracelets always seemed like a special brand of cool. This loom-making machine helps kids braid glow-in-the-dark bracelets with ease and will be the gift that keeps on giving, as anyone who gets a bracelet from the Loomoji’s owner can attest.
Busy Me Electronic Cash Register
This electronic cash register is one of Toys R Us’ best-selling toys for preschoolers, and for good reason: it comes with an actual calculator that can perform basic math, as well as a working microphone that will broadcast any cashier announcement loud and clear. Hopefully this toy’s popularity is because adult gift-givers are buying this to encourage math skills in play (and not business owners hoping to save some bucks on equipment).
Lightfury Dragon plushy
If your family still isn’t over “How To Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World,” the Dreamworks’ viking-themed trilogy finale, keep the love for scaly friends strong with this growling plush version of Lightfury.
Play-Doh Stamp n’ Top Pizza
If tiny kitchen helpers aren’t old enough for heavy-lifting, this mini pizzeria from Play-Doh can curb cravings until they’re big enough to work the oven.
Get it at: Amazon
Marvel Avengers: Electronic Gauntlet
Stand aside Thanos: the all-powerful Infinity Gems are now attainable. This gauntlet will make the “Avengers” battle re-enactments in your home that much more thrilling.
The Floor Is Lava board game
No wieldy instruction manual necessary: the board game version of this ancient make-believe tradition is a game that both adults and children can leap into.
Three-in-one magnetic game set
If you’re the kind of gift-giver who picks traditional over flashy, you can’t go wrong with this set. It comes with the classic strategic games chess, checkers, and backgammon, with magnetic surfaces that make keeping track of game pieces a breeze.
Crystal Growing Experiment Kit
Whether you’ve got a budding geologist or an astrology aficionado on your hands, this crystal-growing kit will create gorgeous rocks out of ammonium phosphate, a.k.a., salt that will last for a fairly long time. Some adult supervision is required: as one reviewer notes, boiling water is needed to create the crystals.
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