Whether your child’s 2 or 10, you likely have an idea of the toy(s) they want Santa to bring for Christmas 2018. They’ve probably been keeping an eye on TV ads and all the latest playground crazes…
But what do you put in their stocking? It’s not like St Nick’s going to shell out for loads of amazing stocking fillers, is he?
So, we’ve rounded up some budget-friendly toys, sweets, novelty gifts and games perfect for stuffing Christmas stockings, all for £5 or less.
(Planning to splash a bit more cash on your child’s stocking this Christmas? Check out our favourite £5 to £10 stocking filler ideas.)
Here are 23 of the best children’s stocking fillers for under £5…
GOLD winner, Best Stocking Filler, 2018 MadeForMums Toy Awards
What it is: A tub of incredibly rare unicorn poo. Well, OK, clear, stretchy, glittery goo in either pink, pale pink or purple. Also comes in larger tubs with a unicorn figure inside.
Why we love it: It’s a happy tub of silliness that’s guaranteed an excited giggle from unicorn-mad children everywhere.
“Jaime loves this. It’s silly and fun and she loves unicorn stuff. If your child loves slime, it’s a winner!” says tester Danielle, mum to Jaime, 4. “It looks very pretty and Bohdi coos over it. Fun and not too pricey,” adds Tara, mum to Bohdi Rae, 6.
Available at: Amazon
What it is: A non-irritant, stain-free, !00% degradable powder which can be mixed with water to create (warm) ‘snow’ – which you can mould into snowballs.
Each pack contains 4 25g sachets, making about 15 snowballs each, so you’ll get at least 60 in total.
Why we love it: Who wouldn’t love the chance to have snowball fights when it’s not even snowing? Our child testers has their minds blown mixing the ‘magic’ powder and making snowballs to chuck about.
Their parents also got in on the fun, with certain dads and grandfathers getting rather carried away… “I can’t believe we’re making snow! Can we make snow every day? said one 4-year-old tester, while another added: “Making snow is spooky and magic. I like how it feels – it’s funny! And throwing the snowballs is the best!”
Available from: Amazon
What it is: A super-soft, air-drying crafting clay for moulding and squashing into models or rolling into bouncy balls. Comes with a resealable bag and 4 non-smudging ‘paints’ for colouring and decorating. Dries within 6 hours.
Why we love it: It feels lovely in your hands, and squishes really nicely. All confirmed by our child toy testers, one of whom says it “feels like velvet”. So, it’s fun to play with even before you start making models.
Also, it leaves no mess, even if you go a bit wild and mix up all the paints (hurrah).
Available from: Alphabet Pie
Age: From birth
What it is: The smallest soft toys (7cm, 15cm and 22cm) in this range of distinctive plush characters with big eyes. Choose from a selection of Christmas characters, and a few others: including owls, penguins and seals, either in more traditional colours or in way-out patterns and neon.
Why we love it: They’re very soft, often quirky – and completely collectible. Small-child cuddle magnets for sure.
Available from: The Entertainer and Claire’s
What it is: A mermaid that hatches from an ‘egg’ that you place in warm water – it dissolves in a thrilling bubbly fizz. There are 12 to collect, with interchangeable tails that change colour when you put them in cold water.
Why we love it: The fizzing as you dissolve the egg is loads of fun. And the fact that you can collect more, and play with the colour-changing tails means the excitement keeps going after the first ‘hatching’ session.
Available from: Find Me A Gift
Age: 6 months+
What it is: 7 colourful (and cheerful!) 8cm-high plastic beakers that can be stacked into a 34cm tower.
Why we love it: These beakers have a variety of functions: you can stack them, sort them, use them in the bath, use a puzzle… they’re also stimulating, and encourage thinking and fine motor skills in your little one.
They’re also easy to keep clean with water. Handy, especially if they end up in the soil or the snow…
Available from: IKEA
What it is: A LOL Surprise pack of accessories featuring 1 spy glass, 1 fashion set, 1 pair of shoes and 1 gel. There may also be an extra accessory, if you’re lucky.
Why we love it: LOL Surprise has never been more popular, so we like that there’s a purse-friendly option for kids’ existing dolls.
(P.S. Our pick of the best LOL Surprise toys currently on the market is right here. There’s a LOL Surprise advent calendar, too!)
Available from: George at ASDA
What it is: A shiny mini packet (in pink, yellow or blue) containing 2 Moj Moj squishies and 1 cross sell poster. There are around 95 to collect.
Why we love it: The excitement of possibly getting a rare or ultra rare squishy is SO fun, plus we like that you get 2 squishies in the pack. It’s also a bit different to a few other blind bags out there, as the toys are nice and soft.
Available from: Smyths Toys
What it is: A 30g tube of plastic that’s blown into balloons – and are so tacky at first that they can be moulded to make balloon animals! There are 4 colour options: red, yellow, green or blue. Comes with instruction.
Why we love it: They don’t pop – and they’re extremely versatile. Making 3D models is definitely a novelty, something that the whole family can take part in on Christmas morning.
Available from: Hawkin’s Bazaar
What it is: A collectible blind bag that comes with 1 LEGO party-themed minifigure (one of 18), plus a mystery minifigure, at least one accessory and a base.
Why we love it: Series 18 of the hugely popular blind bag toy doesn’t disappoint. The characters are cool and colourful, and include everything from Cactus Girl and Unicorn Girl to FireWork Guy and LEGO Brick Suit Guy. SO much fun to discover which you’ve got on Christmas morning.
Available from: The Entertainer
What it is: A 10cm-long classic toy aeroplane to attach to your child’s bicycle handlebars.
Why we love it: A simple way to jazz up your little adventurer’s bike. As your child rides, the propellers spin round, making riding even more exciting!
Available from: Mulberry Bush
What it is: Each pack contains a small Sylvanian Families character, with an instrument, and a little outfit. Collect a whole Baby Sylvanian Families Band of 8 players.
Why we love it: Sylvanian Families are always cute, but we know some of the bigger playsets can be expensive. So, we like that there’s a purse-friendly option for those who still want the figures.
Available from: Sylvanian Families
Age: 18 months+
What it is: A compact wooden puzzle – 125mm tall and 125mm wide – consisting of a wooden tray and 9 cubes. They can be arranged in 6 different ways to reveal 6 safari animal illustrations, including a zebra.
Why we love it: Lots of jigsaws and puzzles are space-takers, but this one is compact enough to fit inside your child’s stocking.
It’s well-made (BigJigs do some lovely toys) and we think the bright colours and unusual animals are just as stimulating and educational as the problem-solving element of the puzzle.
Available from: Wooden Toy Shop and Mulberry Bush
What it is: A mini memory game with 24 pairs (48 total) of Frozen-themed cards.
Why we love it: A great learning game to practise memory skills with. And it’s Frozen. Win-win.
Available from: Amazon
What it is: A solid paint stick in a plastic tube that twists up and down like a glue stick, does not need water and dries almost instantly. Works on paper, card, canvas, board and even glass. Available in packs of 6 or 12, in classic, metallic or day-glow colours.
Why we love it: These are just genius! Great for chubby little hands to grab and very suitable for (supervised) kids under 3, we reckon. The smudge-proof results really do look like paint, rather than wax crayon.
Easy to wipe off the ‘wrong surfaces’ too, as the mum of one of our testers found out when confronted with some excitable tester ‘graffiti’ on a wooden sideboard…
Available from: Amazon and Ryman
Age: 3 months+
What it is: A set of 12 brightly-coloured rings in a variety of textures – ridged, lumpy, bumpy and ‘squiggly’ – that can link together.
Why we love it: Perfect for baby’s first stocking, these rings are made for little hands to grab, touch and feel, and yes also probably put in their mouth and bang off the occasional surface. Your baby will get to develop fine motor skills by trying to link the rings together, too.
Parents find this toy is multi-functional – as you can also clip them to your baby’s buggy, bouncer, car seat or activity centre to keep them mesmerised while out and about.
Available from: Amazon
Age: 3 – 7
What it is: A small plastic ‘blind bag’ containing 1 of 70 possible Thomas & Friends TV character minifigures. No way to tell which one you’re gonna get, and that’s all part of the fun…
Why we love it: It might seem a lot, £2.50 for a little toy, but there’s no denying the delight that collecting these toys brings little ones. It may be worth purchasing a couple so your child gets a few different characters.
Parents say that if your child’s a Thomas fan, these mini trains won’t put them off playing and dreaming up their own Thomas adventures – sometimes for hours.
Available from: The Entertainer
What it is: A novelty, gloopy green substance that looks suspiciously like… you know the rest.
Why we love it: It’s small, no-fuss and a straightforward choice for little ones who live for the gross-out factor.
Available from: Robert Dyas
Age: From birth
What it is: A 10 x 2cm wooden toy in the shape of a make-up palette, with a small mirror and 2 pretend lipsticks.
Why we love it: Children often show an interest in make-up – especially if they see mum or older siblings putting it on – so this sweet wooden set is a great way for them to play pretend without making a mess of the real stuff.
Also ideal if you don’t think they’re quite old enough to start experimenting with real shadows and lippies. Of course, the right age for that is up to you!
Available from: HEMA
What it is: A milk chocolate frog (15g) with crisped rice. No belly full of jelly (like the brand name suggests), but you do get one of 16 collectible wizard cards, too.
Why we love it: Isn’t it obvious? A Christmassy sweet treat for the festive season. Perfect for mini Potter fans.
Available from: John Lewis
What it is: A dinosaur-themed, cushioned band which ‘snaps’ into a curl around your child’s wrist, to be worn as a bracelet. For £4, you’ll receive 1 of 4 dinosaur designs/colours, but you don’t get to choose which – it’s a surprise!
Why we love it: Snap bands are classic toys that we remember fondly from our own childhoods. We really like this up to date design.
We know lots of little ones are dinosaur fans, so we imagine they’ll enjoy plenty of adventures with their new pal around their wrist.
Available from: Natural History Museum
What it is: A gem (bead) bracelet that can be twisted into animal shapes. Each single pack contains 1 of 70 collectable pets, in a variety of colours, animals and styles (metallic, pearlescent, rainbow or pastel). Pictured here is the ‘magicool unicorn’.
In store, you can pick your fave, but if you buy online, you’ll get given a random one from the assortment.
Why we love it: Just the kind of kitsch, straightforward toy that stockings need. Not only is it a cute accessory for little ones to wear with their Christmas outfits, it’s also a fab collectible – an alternative to the ever popular LOL Surprise dolls. It can also be attached to nursery or school bags and backpacks.
Available from: Smyths Toys
What it is: An 141g castle-shaped tub of kinetic sand – a special type of sand which isn’t sticky on skin, is gluten-free and never dries out.
Why we love it: Slime and floam and other ‘feelable’ toys and games are so in – and if your child’s into touch-based toys, then kinetic sand is up your alley.
It’s not the kind of beach sand that goes everywhere, instead it’s soft and stretchy, and sticks to itself and not to skin. You squeeze it, pull it, get creative and make shapes with it – so it’s really good for imaginative play, and just letting them explore and be inventive.
Available from: Ocado
Images: Product websites
Find more Christmas 2018 toys on MadeForMums: