My kids have been singing about ‘The Baby Cheeses’ at the top of their lungs and making me stay up til all hours making nativity costumes… so it must be that time again. Before attempting any Cyber Monday shopping, I like to be armed with a list of presents that will last past Boxing Day, and preferably ‘proper’ gifts that aren’t going to be dismissed as stocking fillers just because they cost less than a tenner. Below is my own ’10 under 10′, my list of the ten best Christmas gifts for kids for under £10. Which are your favourites,and what what would you add?
Author of Lady Lollipop and Sophie Hits Six, Dick King Smith is one of the country’s favourite children’s authors. My children really enjoy the books – they’re full of charming characters, funny little animals, and the stories are really funny – what’s not to love? Your six / seven year old will be super proud of reading them to herself, so make sure you get a cute bookmark to go along with this gift. This collection of 12 books is normally nearly £60 but is available at the moment for £9.99.
Whether they’re matching up the dots or knocking them over, my kids play with our wooden dominoes for hours. Best £2.49 I’ve ever spent! Best for ages 5 and up.
I’ve never seen a child whose eyes didn’t light up when they heard the word Hama. The absolutely love Hama. In fact, they absolutely love the cutesy cat and duck set, so I cannot wait to see their faces when they see the Pirate set. The bonus is that positioning the tiny little beads is pretty much the best fine motor activity ever, and may well be the only way to get your little boy to sit still. Best for ages 5 and up.
They’re cute, indestructible, and the little ones will play with them for years. At first, the eggs will mostly be sucked and drooled on – babies learn lots about shape using their mouths! As they get older, they’ll actually match up the patterns, or mismatch for funny results. Best for babies and toddlers, and superb for preschoolers to play with their baby brother or sister.
Award-winning Rory’s Story Cubes are deceptively simple – there are 9 dice, each with 6 different images prompting ideas about the characters, setting and events in a story. It’s a wonderful way to trigger some truly imaginative storytelling. It also comes in a neat little box so is perfect for those long haul flights! Best for ages 6 and up (but the preschoolers will love it too).
This marble run has 24 pieces you can fit together in pretty much any order, and the kids will spend ages building all sorts of different marble run routes and cheering on their favourite marbles. Great fun on a rainy day, and they’ll come back to it day after day, month after month. Best for ages 4 and up. Careful around the younger kids – they tend to try and eat the marbles.
Usborne’s range of Dressing Up sticker books is fantastic. Our two spend ages every morning scrunched up on the floor sticking and chatting – the little boy’s favourite is Pirates & Long Ago, and our little girl has requested Victorian Fashion in her letter to Santa. It may seem like a bit of a cop-out Christmas present when there are so many ‘luxury edition’ books out there and character sticker books, but I guarantee this will be a hit. The stickers and the pages are much better than any ‘character’ sticker book I’ve come across – the kids can peel them off and reposition a few times, something your 5 year old will almost definitely do. Best for ages 5 and up.
This is the sort of Play Doh set you always wanted when you were little, so if you buy this for Christmas please warn the kids that you’re going to hogging it! Best for ages 4 and up.
My adult neighbours and I played this for over an hour before noticing that all our kids had left the room to build a fort. It’s basically Kerplunk, but reimagined with some little monkeys hanging off the sticks. It’s really simple but a great family game. The age recommendation is 3 and up, but they don’t have the attention span for a proper game, so we’d say 6 and up.
I love these BrainBox memory games – we’ve got some basic phonics versions and one about the Vile Victorians, and can’t wait to add the Roald Dahl game to our repertoire. The idea is that the child has to study the card for a set period of time (10 seconds for an adult, maybe 20 or 30 seconds for a child). You then flip it over and they have to correctly answer a question about what they saw. Easy to play but really fun, and a great way to build observation skills and memory. Perfect from about age 6 or 7, but you can tailor it to younger children by reading the card aloud to them and only asking questions from the Roald Dahl stories they know. Recommended for readers ages 6 and up.
I hope you found some great ideas for Christmas presents that won’t break the bank! Please share with your friends, and feel free to leave your own recommendations below.
Note that the prices vary day to day – all of the above ranged from £2.49 to £9.99 at the time of publication.