With Christmas and Hanukkah right around the corner, parents everywhere are probably doing what I’m doing right now – wondering what in the hell to buy for their kids! I find that the older my kids get, the more difficult it is to decide what to give them as presents. They have grown out of all the “little kid” toys, and they already have too many books, puzzles, toys, and games to count. And I just donated a bunch of them to make room for whatever they’re going to get this year!

When I do find gifts that I think my kids might like, there are two factors I cannot overlook – it can’t make noise and it has to be affordable. So while I am personally at a loss for what gifts to buy this year, maybe I can help you with some suggestions of toys I have found that keep my kids entertained for hours on end.

COLLECTIBLES

Shopkins, Grossery Gang, Hatchimals – I could go on, probably forever. There are SO many little tiny toys that come in tiny little bags or boxes, and your kid just HAS to collect them all. Why? Because it says so right on the package, of course! I really would love to hate these wretched little things, but the truth of the matter is, they keep the kids busy for hours! My kids got this Mushy Slushie Playset last year and played with it nonstop for five straight days. I’m not even exaggerating.

Pros:
– No batteries not only means they’re good for your pocketbook, but it also means they don’t make any noise.
– Many of them are squishy, so that means they don’t hurt when you inevitably step on them.
– They are small, so they don’t take up much room.
– Kids will sit and play with them for an entire afternoon.

Cons:
– They are small, which means when they get lost, they are more difficult to find.
– They aren’t tiny enough to “accidentally” vacuum up when you’re cleaning.
– Cookie Swirl C – need I say more? (If you don’t know what that is, consider yourself lucky)

These pictures illustrate neither pros or cons, but just fair warning that you may come upon scenes like this, which seems to be a Shoppies doll getting ready to lead her Shopkins minions into battle.

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Or this, because some of the Grossery Gang change color in the freezer.

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SLIME & GOO

All things gooey and slimy seem to be the rage this year. While I now stay away from slime because it leaked onto and ruined a nice piece of furniture, I can’t say enough about Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. If you haven’t gotten this for your kids yet, I highly recommend it. It’s gooey and squishy without the slime factor, and fun for hours.

Pros:
– There are many different types (like glow-in-the-dark, hypercolor, and magnetic) with different textures.
– Most, if not all of them, can be transformed in to a bouncy ball when rolled up into a sphere.
– They each have different “tricks” that can be found on their website.
– They always seem to be coming out with new varieties.
– The kids get really creative with it.
– Again, it’s quiet and requires no batteries, which is always a plus in my book.

Cons:
– It can get stuck to carpeting, clothing, and upholstery. My kids play with it a lot and that’s only happened to us one time. If this does happen, it can be cleaned by using rubbing alcohol to dissolve it. Their website has instructions on how to to remove it.

Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty seems to be sold mostly in independently owned toy stores, and isn’t available at stores like Target or Walmart. They have a store locator on their website, but if you don’t have a store near you, they also sell their products on Amazon.

PERPLEXUS

I first played with one of these 3D mazes at my dentist office while waiting for my appointment and was immediately hooked. I was planning on purchasing one for my kids (yeah, sure… for my kids), but we lucked out and found one at a garage sale!

Pros:
– NO BATTERIES (are you sensing a theme here?). – It’s challenging for your child, but not so much so that they get discouraged and give up, or decide to use it as a soccer ball instead. – Each ball has several different mazes inside, making sure to keep those kiddos occupied for a while.
– They sell different mazes with varying difficulty, starting at 5+ and going up from there.

Cons: 
– If you have multiple kids, but only one Perplexus, there may be some fighting over it, but on the plus side, it’s a great way to foster that sharing thing people are always talking about.
– The click-clack of the little ball rolling around inside the sphere can become slightly irritating.

KID-O MAGNATAB

I was just introduced to this toy this past weekend. It is awesome! It mesmerized kids of all ages, as well as adults. Each of those little holes contains one metal ball, and the stylus is a magnet. As you run the stylus along the tablet, the balls are brought up and stay in place. Then, when you’re done, you simply push the metal balls back down and start again!

I can’t comment as to any pros or cons, as we don’t actually have one yet. But I will be purchasing one for my kids for Christmas, so I’ll update this as soon as we’ve played around with it for awhile.

UPDATE: The Kid-O Magnatab did NOT disappoint! This is a great toy to keep kids of all ages occupied. I even found that adults can be mesmerized by it as well, which brings us back to that whole “sharing” thing. 

It’s a small list, and unfortunately for me, my kids already have all of these toys, so it doesn’t help me in the slightest. But I hope I gave you some good suggestions that your kids will love, and you will hate to love. Happy shopping!

*This post contains affiliate links. If you click on any of the links and end up purchasing a product, you pay the same price, but I make a small commission! I only promote products that I have personally used and with which I’ve had a good experience.

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