Right, so Santa’s sorted the big-item presents (or is working on it – eep!) but what fun little toys are going to get stuffed in those Christmas stockings?
Unpacking their stocking is often the first thing your child rushes to do on Christmas morning – usually quite a few hours earlier than we parents were hoping for! So, among the little reindeer socks, the chocolate coins and the regulation satsuma at the bottom, it’s wise to stash your child’s stocking with some well-chosen, pocket-sized toys that’ll keep them happy and busy while you stagger out of bed and find your festive sparkle.
We’ve scouted the (online) shelves for great stocking filler toys for toddlers to preteens, looking for the ones that really stand out for play potential and value for money. And we’ve found some brilliant, budget-friendly buys.
Here’s our pick of the best stocking fillers for boys and girls of all ages – all for under £10
Best stocking filler toys under £5
1. Kinetic Sand Single Container, £3
What it is: An 8cm-high resealable tub containing 140g of squeezable, mouldable playsand that doesn’t stick to skin and doesn’t dry out. Available in various colours, including a rainbow mix.
Why we love it: Playing with soft and stretchy kinetic sand is a brilliantly sensory activity that appeals to primary-school children as much as preschoolers. We particularly like the castle-shaped tub which your child can use to make squidgy sandcastles. And because the sand sticks to itself, not the carpet/furniture/clothes, it’s all (pretty much) mess-free.
2. BigJigs Safari Animal Cube Puzzles, £4.99
Age: 10 months+
What it is: A set of 9 wooden puzzle cubes in a 10.5cm-square wooden box. They can be arranged in 6 different ways to reveal 6 different safari animal pictures.
Why we love it: It’s colourful, cute, well-made and very portable. And the cube themselves are nice and chunky for toddler hand to hold and turn. For a wooden toddler toy puzzle, it’s really not bad value at all.
3. LEGO Minifigures Harry Potter Series 2, £3.49 each
What it is: A blind bag that comes with 1 Harry Potter LEGO minifigure (from a total of 16 collectible characters), at least 1 accessory, a base and a collector’s leaflet.
Why we love it: The mystery element of blind bags is always lots of fun and these little LEGO figures are cute and nicely detailed. This new series includes Luna Lovegood, Bellatrix Lestrange, Griphook and Moaning Myrtle.
4. IKEA Mula Building Beakers, £2.75
Age: 6 months+
What it is: A set of 7 8cm-high plastic beakers that can be stacked into a 34cm tower (and then knocked down).
Why we love it: These beakers are really colourful and engaging. We like that they make great pouring and splashing bath toys, too. They’re pretty indestructible and also really easy to clean.
Available from: IKEA
5. SnoBall Battle Pack, £4.99
What it is: A pack of 4 sachets of Gelli Snow powder that you mix with water to create mouldable ‘snow’. The mixture is stain-free and 100% degradable powder and each 20g sachet contains enough to make around 15 snowballs.
Why we love it: Who hasn’t imagined having a family snowball fight on Christmas Day? And this ‘snow’ isn’t cold, which is a definite bonus! Huge fun – but do be careful if you have your snowfight indoors: it can make the floor pretty slippery.
6. Sylvanian Families Baby Party Collectible Series, £3 each
What it is: A blind bag containing at Sylvanian Family baby figure (from a total of 9 collectible characters) and 1 mini party accessory.
Why we love it: A purse-friendly way of adding to your child’s Sylvanian Families collection with super-sweet characters – we particularly like the Bear Baby with his little hoopla game. It’s worth knowing that some of the accessories are really tiny (a little hat, a bell shaker), so it’s definitely a stocking filler for the over-3 only.
7. Rocket Baff Bombz, £3.99
What it is: A rocket-shaped 110g bath bomb which fizzes around the tub, leaving a trail of red, yellow and orange. Biodegradable and stain-free.
Why we love it: This bath bomb is actually quite exciting to watch as it takes off around the tub, leaving a colourful trail in its wake. It also changes the colour of the bathwater but won’t leave a mess for you to clean up.
8. Petooties Mini Plush, £2.99
Age: From birth
What it is: A super-soft 10cm-high toy animal. There are 17 designs to collect, including dogs, cats, rabbits, cows and even unicorns.
Why we love it: All of the pets in the range are very cute – and very cuddly. We have a special soft spot for the reindeer and the penguin. And we like that each one comes with its own name and birthday.
Best stocking filler toys under £8
9. Plug and Play Puzzler, £5.99
What it is: A compact 8cm-high 3D puzzle that doubles up as a fidget toy. The aim is to fit the 8 differently shaped pieces into the cube frame in a particular pattern. Comes with a booklet of 48 challenges ranging in difficulty from easy to expert.
Why we love it: This is a puzzle to get older children scratching their head – some of the challenges are not at all as obvious as they look! We were so impressed by our child tester feedback on this brainteaser of a toy, we chose it as one of our Top 100 Xmas Toys for 2020.
10. Ty Beanie Boo 15cm Soft Toy, £5
Age: From birth
What it is: A little plush toy with big eyes and snuggly fur. Choose from unicorns, owls, ostriches, dragons and flamingos – and loads more – in traditional colours or bright neon patterns.
Why we love it: Beanie Boos are absolute small-child cuddle magnets, and the 15cm ones (there are other, bigger versions) are great value for money. They’re very soft, come in super-appealing – and often quite quirky – designs.
11. Hot Wheels 5-Car Pack Assortment, £6.99
What it is: A pack of 5 different 1:64 scale die-cast toy cars with sporty detailing and flash paintwork.
Why we love it: It’s a great value buy, this one: 5 cars for less than £1.50 each. And the cars themselves are colourful and flashy and a great quality for the price. All you need to add is your best ‘vroooooom’ voice…
12. Plush Dino Snap Band, £5
What it is: A dinosaur-themed, cushioned band which ‘snaps’ around your child’s wrist, to be worn as a bracelet. Choose between a diplodocus, stegosaurus, tyrannosaurus rex or triceratops.
Why we love it: We love that the classic snap band toy has been given a plush makeover! The dinosaurs are strokably soft and nicely detailed, and we especially like the T-Rex’s orangey animal-print band.
Available from: Natural History Museum
13. Mokuru, £5
What it is: A 9cm-long wooden fidget toy that’s weighted at each end. It can be flipped, tossed and spun, either on its own or with others. Comes in 7 different colours.
Why we love it: This is a stylish, smooth, solid beech take on your average plasticky fidget spinner and, judging by the zillion videos on YouTube, there are umpteen cool ways to play with it.
Available from: Amazon
14. Eugy, £7.99
What it is: A craft kit for a little 3D animal. Slot the biodegradable-card pieces together in numerical sequence and secure them with the included glue. Choose from lots of different designs, including an alligator, a whale, a meerkat (all pictured above), a unicorn and 3 different dinosaurs.
Why we love it: It’s a great 20-minute craft activity that’s not too fiddly and creates almost no mess. The finished models look really good. We were so impressed, we chose this as one of our Top 100 Xmas Toys for 2020.
Best stocking filler toys under £10
15. Pirate Skittles, £9.99
What it is: A set of 6 pirate-themed wooden skittles, each 8cm high, and a wooden ball to knock them down with.
Why we love it: These little skittles are a nice small, child-friendly size and ever so well painted – with fun details like eye patches, freckles, patched clothes, and even a little battle scar. Don’t forget to show your child how to roll the ball along the floor, rather than chuck it in the air…
16. Bright Starts Shake And Spin Activity Balls, £8.99
Age: 6 months +
What it is: A pack of 5 small activity balls featuring different textures, colours and sounds, including a rattle and a spinner.
Why we love it: These are bright, mesmerising and fun for little hands to grab – and the sounds are nicely varied, too. A lovely stocking filler for babies.
17. Unicorn Squeeze Popper, £8.99
What it is: A mini (10cm-high) unicorn-shaped air-powered shooter that shoots soft balls from its nose when you squeeze its tummy. Comes with 6 rainbow-coloured foam balls, which can travel up to 20ft.
Why we love it: We’re not going to lie, it’s pretty daft and, although the balls don’t hurt when they hit, it has the potential to cause chaos. But that’s why your child will love it, of course! A cross between a cuddly toy and a (hilarious) weapon; you may want to get 2 so you can defend yourself.
18. Orchard Toys Farmyard Heads & Tails, £8.30
Age: 18 months+
What it is: A set of 24 wipe-clean, chunky cards, each featuring half of a farmyard animal, tractor or farmer. Your child can match them up or play a simple game. For 1 to 4 players.
Why we love it: The cards are big and thick, just the right size for toddlers. A great-value toddler stocking filler that will last a long while and help develop memory and matching skills.
19. Hexbug MoBots MiMix, £8.99
What it is: A 10cm-high robot with spiky hair which can record, play back your messages and disguise your voice. Available in green, blue or orange. Requires 3 x AAA and 2 x LR44 batteries (included).
Why we love it: He’s very cute and he does make your voice sound funny – you can change the pitch, speed it up and even add a robot effect. Great for some super-silly fun and chosen by us (along with its slightly more expensive MoBot companions Ramblez and Fetch) for our Top 100 Xmas Toys list.
20. In The Night Garden Talking Iggle Piggle Soft Toy, £9.99
Age: From birth
What it is: A 23cm plush Iggle Piggle (from popular CBeebies show In The Night Garden) with his red blanket. Squeeze his tummy to hear 7 recognisable sounds and phrases. Requires 3 x LR44 batteries (included).
Why we love it: He’s soft and cuddly and the sounds are fun – though it’s perhaps not that easy for small children to find the right place on Iggle Piggle’s tummy to press. Good value for a talking character toy but be warned that the batteries don’t last very long.
We’ve more top toys, all tested and rated by parents and children…
- Top 100 Christmas toys – for all ages
- Best toys for 2 year olds
- Best toys for 3 year olds
- Best toys for 4 year olds
- Best toys for 5 year olds
- Best toys for 6 year olds
- Best toys for 7 year olds
- Best toys for 8 year olds
- Best toys for 9 year olds
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- Best toys for babies (6-12 months)
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