You have those Christmas stockings hanging up, but what do you put in them? Here are some suggestions for what you can stuff in those stockings. They're all inexpensive and most are fun for kids of all ages. Some are even fun for the whole family.
1. Brain Quest
Brain Quest sets are perfect for inquisitive kids. Each set contains cards with three or four hundred questions, depending on the set. Sets are available for kids of all ages and grade levels, starting at age two and going up to grade six. The sets are made up of cards that are bound together so that they are easy to use and easily transported. The vary slightly in size, but are approximately 7.5" x 2". You can put a set in your purse and take them out at a restaurant, grocery store line or anywhere else that kids get restless. Consider your child's abilities and knowledge when choosing a set. Your child might do better with a set meant for older kids. My son loved these sets.
The Set Card Game is a challenging game of visual logic. The set contains 81 cards made up of three different symbols: ovals, "squiggles," and diamonds. Each card contains one, two or three of the same symbol. The symbols can be either red, green, or purple, and they can be solid, outlined, or lightly shaded. Players must find trios of cards that are related by one quality: number, color, shading, or shape. For example, a set might include one purple oval, two purple squiggles, and three purple diamonds. Each card shares the quality of color. The game is recommended for kids age 6 and up, but your 4 or 5 year old might enjoy it. The game is for one or more playes, which is great since your child can play alone if no one else is around!
If your child loves numbers and math, then this is a perfect stocking stuffer. It comes with 5 dice: 3 6-sided dice and 2 12-sided "target" dice. Kids roll the 3 regular dice and one of the target dice. Then they have to perform math operations to come close to the target number. For example, if they throw 3 sixes with the regular dice and a nine with the target die, they would add the 3 sixes to get nine. They may not be able to get the exact number on the target die, but they should come as close as possible. Younger kids can start with addition and subtraction, but older kids can do more. Kids can also throw both target dice and add the numbers to get a higher target. A pouch is included for storing and transporting the dice.
Pairs in Pears, made by the same company that makes Bananagrams, consists of 104 plastic alphabet tiles that come a soft green pear-shaped pouch. The tiles are made up of four full sets of an alphabet, each one in a different "style": outline, dots, lines, and solid. The goal of the game is to sets of intersecting words with three or more letters. For example, one could create the word "hot" horizontally and then "rod" vertically. There are several variations of gameplay, which makes it interesting for kids of all ages. Pairs in Pears can be played by two to four players, age five and up. However, gifted kids as young as three might enjoy the game.
Do you have a hard time getting your child to come to the table for dinner or staying at the table without complaining or getting fidgety? If so, Beginnger Dinner Games would be a perfect stocking stuffer. You get a container with 51 different games you can play at the dinner table. One game is "Rainbow Dinner." Someone names a color and everyone then has to think of foods with that color. Another game can encourage your child to drink milk or eat vegetables. "Thumbs Up" has everyone either giving a thumbs up or thumbs down at the same time. The one who is different has to take a drink of milk or take a bite of vegetable. Family members can take turns picking a card and reading the game to play. The laminated cards are easily cleaned.
7. Rubik's Cube
Who doesn't know about Rubrik's cube? In case you're one of those who don't, Rubrik's cube is basically a cube made of smaller different colored cubes, nine on each of the six sides. When you first get the cube, you'll find side of the cube is made up of smaller cubes of the same color, so, for example, one side will be green, one white, one red, one yellow, one blue and so on. The fun begins when you twist the sides of the large cube around mixing up the colors. The goal is to get all the cubes of the same color to appear on the same sides again. The game is said to have 43 "quintillion" moves, but just one solution. It's recommended for kids 8 and up, but some younger kids who are great with puzzles and logic might have some fun too!
Remember slide puzzles? Those puzzles with pieces in a frame you had to slide around to place numbers in the correct order? ThinkFun's Fifteen Puzzle is one of those slide puzzles. It's made of stainless steel, with the pieces covered in white and red enamel. Each piece has a number from one to fifteen. It comes with a red plastic cover. Kids of all ages should enjoy this puzzle.
Slide puzzles with fewer pieces that create a picture are also available. Younger kids enjoy those slide puzzles.
When most people think about Legos, they think of the boxed sets, many of which are large and expensive. However, Lego also sells mini sets in bags, which are perfect for putting in Christmas stockings! Many of these small bagged items are characters, vehicles, or creatures. Some of the larger bags, though, consist of other items like a siege cart, which is perfect for knights and castles. The best part of giving your child a small lego item is that if he or she has lost any interest in legos, that interest will be renewed - at a very low cost! But if your child hasn't tired of Legos, the new item will open the door to more creativity.