All too often, the big gifts during the holiday aren’t surprises. Kids being kids, they’re usually pretty set on what they want, and they’re usually not shy about letting you in on their wish list. Stocking stuffers are the best ways to really surprise your little ones during the holidays (provided they’ve been good, of course). Look below for some of the best small gifts available for Santa to stuff in stockings hung with care this year.
Make baby’s first holiday season a memorable one (for you, at least – maybe they’ll be able to watch the videos a few years down the line). Guava Mitts are soft, comfortable mittens made from cotton and cellulose from bamboo. The mittens are designed for infant hands, to prevent babies from getting their hands scratched, or from scratching their face. They’re soft, comfortable, and come in several different designs. They’re also reversible, so it’s kind of like a 2-for-1 deal. The design on the other side is black and white, and is made for developing eyes. One pair of Guava Mitts costs $12 on Amazon, but you can get a two-pack for $22, as well.
Technology can’t replicate the feeling of playing with action figures, mostly because technology can rarely force kids to use their imagination so vividly. They perfectly straddle the line between just enough structure in play and more than enough freedom to create.
Also, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. You just can’t go wrong, even though Michael Bay tried his hardest. This set of nine action figures from the series includes Raphael, Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo, April, Splinter, the Shredder, Krang, and a Foot Soldier (sadly, Casey got left out). They’re poseable, they have all their usual weapons from the franchise, and they’re ready for pizza time. Get a new generation started on a pop culture classic with these guys – the whole nine piece set is going for about $80 on Amazon.
Add a little color to your kid’s stocking this year with Array, a new board game from Funnybone Toys. The game features a deck of cards with two, three, or four colors on them. From there, it’s kind of like playing Dominos with colors, albeit with a few twists. Players can make the chains sprout off into multiple directions, or separate one chain into two, in their quest to get rid of all their cards. Board games still tend to have enough charm to pull the whole family together for a good time, and it looks like this one should be good for more than a few hours of fun. You can get Array for $15 on Amazon.
Following up on the success of the dancing, singing Fijit Friends are the Yippits - tiny versions of their full-sized companions. These multicolored little guys sing and dance to their own tunes, and can harmonize with each other as well as interact with Fijit Friends. It’s been suggested that Yippits are like puppies to Fijit Friends, and no wonder – they can even do tricks. The more your kids play with them, the more tricks they’ll perform. They even come with puppy-like sound effects that play when kids play games or interact with them. Each Yippit is $35 on Amazon, but keep in mind that Yippits become much more fun when there are several of them. I know, as a parent, you’re probably not thrilled to hear that. But come on, they’re adorable.
The AR is for augmented reality, which is what makes this alien shooter special. The whole set comes with a gun that serves as a dock for an iOS or Android smartphone and a couple of augmented reality markers. The rest is done by the app, which casts the player as an elite commander tasked with fighting off invading aliens on Earth before chasing those undesirables back from whence they came. Kids will be able to take their smartphone-infused blaster around the house, gunning down enemies that only they can can see through the lens of the smartphone’s camera and the magic of augmented reality software. If you can find other kids with Elite CommandAR, a two-player cooperative mode is also available. Elite CommandAR is selling from WowWee for about $25.
Smartphone playtime is on the rise – might as well make the most of it with a friendly face backing up your iPhone 5. The Animal Parade Cases series for the iPhone 5 includes cute koala and tiger cases. The soft silicone cases leave all the necessities uncovered – camera lens and flash, Lightning connector, and headphone jack. You can also download a free app that will make your iPhone’s background match the case, for a little extra flair. The Animal Parade Cases for iPhone 5 are selling for about $20 each on the Griffin website.