17 of the best stocking fillers

From play snowballs to light-up bubble guns and unicorn squeeze poppers, we've found the top stocking-filler toys for kids this Christmas, all priced below £10...

Toy Awards Best Stocking Fillers

As well as those longed-for, big-item toys, pocket-sized toys in those Christmas stockings can be just as much fun. Opening stocking gifts in bed is a sweet way to start a day of festivities, so check out these genius, great-value stocking fillers for boys and girls of all ages. And don’t miss our award-winning picks within the list, as voted for after hours of toy testing by the MFM team, toy experts, Toy Awards judges and our all-important home testers.

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Here’s our pick of the best stocking fillers, tried and tested…

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1. Snowball by Schylling, from £2.99 – best for squidginess

Age: 3+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Stocking Filler – Gold

What it is: A 2.5-inch snowball-effect stress ball. Designed for stress relief and pure squeezy fun, the squishy ball will always return to its globe shape after being squeezed, flexed and poked.

Why we love it: Ok, so this one isn’t strictly for the kids and would work equally as well in a grown-up’s stocking. But our judges and at-home testers LOVED it!

Mandy, mum of Olly, 2, says, “This is a great make-believe toy. It sounds just like feet squelching in the snow as you squeeze the ball, and my son used it as if it was an actual snowball!”

Available from: Tobar and Amazon

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2. Sylvanian Families Baby Outdoor Collectible Series, £3.99 – best for cuteness

Age: 3+
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Stocking Filler – Silver

What it is: A cute Sylvanian Family figurine accompanied by an equally mini outdoor accessory – think safari hat, treasure chest or flag. Which figurine you get is a surprise, as the product is blind-bagged.

Why we love it: We love a surprise! The combination of sweet Sylvanian characters in baby form, with adventure-inspiring add-on, is oh-so-cute. Just add imagination. The figures and sets can be expensive, so this is a purse-friendly, collectible option. Though you might find one isn’t enough.

Samatha, mum of Roman, 4, says, “I think if he didn’t have more than one character to play with the fun would end very quickly. As his play continued he mixed up the items with each character to extend his play options.” The ‘surprise’ premise of the Sylvanian Collectible series is similar to the LOL ball, further down our list.

Available from: Sylvanian Store Keepers

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3. Nanables, assorted, £4.99 – best for collectibles

Age: 6+ years
Awards: MadeForMums Toy Awards 2019 Best Stocking Filler – Bronze

What it is: Sticking with the ‘small and cute’ theme, here are some mini houses and the tiny characters, Nanos, who inhabit them.

Why we love it: Rainbows, glitter and unicorns – they are all here. There are two places for the Nanos to ‘hang out’ in each house; what they do is up to your child to invent. The ‘sweet as sugar’ design will be many children’s idea of perfection; and the price is pretty heavenly, too.

You can also download an app to unlock fun games to get more play out of them. Jo, mum of Jessica, 8, says, “When they arrived, Jessica and her sisters played with them for hours by making towns, letting their imaginations go wild. Jessica loved the colours and size and said she would spend her pocket money on them and collect the rest, but said her worry is that they are very small and she could easily lose them when playing.”

Available from: Smyths Toys and Argos

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4. Play Dirt Bugs in a Jar, £7.99 – best for no-mess mess!

Age: 3 +

What it is:  From ‘sweet as candy’ play houses to a tub filled with fake earth, made from all-natural non-toxic materials, and two hidden plastic bugs that kids can rummage about for.

Why we love it: This really is good clean ‘dirt’ fun for days when outside play is off the menu. Do be warned that the bugs are in a plastic bag, so you may want to unbag them and rebury them before handing the jar over.

The jar is great size for a stocking filler, and the bugs are large and colourful,says Donna, mum to Finley, 3. “He says the play dirt feels Eeeew!He also enjoys hiding coins in the dirt and pretending it’s buried treasure!”

Available from: Amazon

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5. Hot Wheels Die Cast Assortment, from £6.99 – best for value for money

Age: 3+

What it is: A pack of 5 1:64 scale die-cast vehicles that work well as car toys on their own, and also work with the (sold separately) Hot Wheels Volcano Blast.

Why we love it: Unlike a lot of collectibles, you get more than one, so you’ve immediately got a little collection. Of course, there are more to collect if you want to. We also like the fact there are a few, so siblings can play cars together at no extra cost. Cars never go out of style – what toddler doesn’t love pushing one around, making ‘vroooooom’ noises?

Available from: Smyths Toys, Argos and Amazon

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6. BigJigs Pirate Skittles, £9.99 – best for game play

Age: 3+

What it is: A stylish set of six pirate-themed wooden skittles, each 8cm high, and a wooden ball to knock them down with.

Why we love it: Stocking fillers are supposed to be fun, and keep little ones occupied over the Christmas period. A wooden skittles game is always a good one to play, and is a more classic choice than some of the more ‘plastic fantastic’ toys on the list. It involves physical activity, co-ordination, and can be used to teach younger siblings, who might be watching, counting skills, too.

Available from: BigJigs Toys, Wooden Toy Shop and Amazon

LEGO Batman™ vs. The Riddler™ Robbery

7. Lego Batman vs. The Riddler Robbery, from £6.97 – best for imaginative play

Age: 4+ years

What it is: A 59-piece LEGO set with 2 mini figures, a bat mobile, a skateboard and an ATM.

Why we love it: This is a lovely little construction set that should spark lots of imaginative play as Batman tries to foil The Riddler’s robbery plans. Not too complicated to make, so it won’t take all of Christmas Day, either! Like Sylvanian toys, LEGO can be expensive, so this is a nicely priced toy that ticks the box without breaking the bank.

Available from: LEGO, John Lewis and Amazon

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8. LOL Surprise! Pets, £9.99 – best for thrill

Age: 6+

What it is: An 8.5cm mystery ball containing seven surprise layers, in which you find a LOL Surprise pet (there are 35 different ones) all in its own litter box, with a secret message sticker, a collectible sticker sheet, a water bottle charm, a scooper and two accessories.

Why we love it: It’s one of the cheaper LOL balls on the market – and isn’t so doll-y as many of them. But there’s still the same unwrapping thrill, similar to the Sylvanian blind bags: will you get a puppy, bunny, kitten or hamster?

Available from: John Lewis 

Multicoloured Unicorn Purse

9. Multicoloured Unicorn Purse, from £2.80 – best for design

Age: 3+

What it is: A small 10cm x 9cm coin purse, perfect for collecting Christmas money! Reminiscent of one you had as a child, right? But maybe yours had beads on…

Why we love it: The colourful unicorn and rainbow design is sure to bring a smile to the face of any unicorn fan. It fastens well and, although small, fits a lot of coins. Team up with the Nanables unicorn house, if you are going for that theme.

Available from: Amazon

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10. Bright Starts Shake And Spin Activity Balls, £8.82 – best for sound

Age: 6 months +

What it is: A pack of 5 small activity balls featuring different textures and colours, including a rattle, sound-maker 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 baby stocking filler – don’t miss Iggle Piggle for babies, further down our list, too.

Available from: Amazon

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11. Orchard Toys Heads & Tails, £7.97 – best for simplicity

Age: 18 months+

What it is: A set of 24 wipe-clean, chunky cards featuring parts of farmyard scenes. Your toddler can match them up or, when they are older, play a simple game. For 1-4 players.

Why we love it: The cards are big and thick, just the right size for toddlers. A great-value stocking filler that will last a long while. If you are looking for classic toys, did you spy the wooden skittles, further up our list?

Available from: Amazon

In The Night Garden Talking Iggle Piggle Soft Toy

12. In The Night Garden Talking Iggle Piggle Soft Toy, from £9.99 – best for softness

Age: From birth

What it is: A snuggly, soft 23cm version Iggle Piggle from CBeebies’ In The Night Garden. You can also buy an Upsy Daisy version.

Why we love it: He’s super-soft and, when his stomach’s pressed, he makes an assortment of fun sounds.

Available from: Amazon

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13. Tangle Jr. Metallics, £6 – best for fidgeting 

Age: 5+

What it is: A 4.5cm x 6cm x 6cm toy that your child can twist and turn into a variety of shapes with their hands. Available in gold, yellow, pink and blue.

Why we love it: It works well as a fidget toy, as well as stocking filler. No fuss, no batteries required, just some good old-fashioned fun, getting creative and making shapes. And hopefully keeping them quiet while the Queen’s speech is on, at least.

Available from: Science Museum and Amazon

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14. Unicorn Squeeze Popper, from £8.99 – best for novelty

Age: 4 +

What it is: A mini unicorn toy which spits out rainbow-coloured pellets made of (soft) foam, up to 20ft.

Why we love it: Continuing along the unicorn theme, we present a slightly rebel version. Yes, some kids might take this toy and run a bit riot – but all kids’ stockings need to include a bit of anarchic novelty factor, right?

Available from: Wicked Uncle and Amazon

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15. Mokuru, £9.99 – best for quality

Age: 6+

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. Our child testers had a great time trying to perfect their flip ’n’ roll skills.

Available from: Amazon

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16. Ultraviolet Bubble Gun, £9.99 – best for entertainment

Age: 6+

What it is: A see-through gun that releases bubbles at the pull of a trigger, and incorporates some funky lighting to make for a bubble show. Needs 3 x AAA batteries, which aren’t included. Comes with one bottle of bubble solution.

Why we love it: This is ideal if your child loves bubbles, but is rubbish at blowing them. Likewise, you could use it yourself to put on an entertaining show for the kids – when you are too stuffed with dinner to move off the sofa. The light/bubble combo is enough to mesmerise them for a good amount of time, parents say. We also like that the gun is see-through, so inquisitive little ones can watch the bubble-making in action.

Available from: I Want One Of Those

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17. Tonka Tinys, set of three from £4.99 – best for portability

Age: 3+

What it is: Teeny-tiny (1cm x 2cm x1cm) models of the classic Tonka construction and emergency-service vehicles. Each one comes inside a stackable storage crate. Can be bought as one mystery vehicle or packs of three where one is a surprise. There are 22 to collect.

Why we love it: Bargain price, really portable, and our child testers loved the surprise of opening the crate to see what vehicle was inside. A less fluffy version of the ‘surprise’ LOL and Sylvanian-blind bagged toys, further up our list.

Available from: The Range and Amazon

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