Great Kids' Gifts Under $30
- Flip Phone Walkie Talkies
They look like cell phones, but the best thing about them is they're not. Your little guy can have a buddy over and talk to him on the walkie talkie from up to 1,000 feet. They can play spies or act like they're conducting business deals over the phone. (Discovery.com, $19.95).
Or try the Disney Pixar Cars Walkie Talkies, in the characters McQueen and Mater. If you've got two young kids like I do, the best thing about walkie talkies is there's one for each of them.
(Toys R Us, $18.74)
- Gelarti Activity Pack
For the more artistic crowd, this activity pack comes with five paints, a marbling tool and over 50 stickers to decorate. The stickers come in varied designs, are actually quite cute and can be used on different surfaces without marking them up (so you won't spend hours trying to scrub them off walls and windows). An activity book is included. (Toys R Us, $16.99)
- Hot Wheels Turbo Garage Play Set
There's a ramp, a crane, a car elevator and a washing and refueling station in this compact little play-set -- good for hours of play. If it sounds too complex, try the Hot Wheels Angry Birds Sling Shot Launch Track Set. The set up is easy and your child will have fun launching the "angry bird" around the house. (Toys R Us, Turbo Garage Set $29.99, Angry Birds Launch $9.99)
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer Operation Game
Who didn't want the original Operation game when it came out? In this game there's a twist: Bumble the Abominable Snow Monster is the patient. Every time the surgery goes off the mark, Bumble roars and Rudolph's nose glows. There are lots of fun, holiday-related items to pull out of Bumble like mistletoe, a cold shoulder and a sweet tooth. Kids better their motor skills by operating with care. (Indigo.ca, $29.95)
- Sno Stompers
Get the kids out of the house with these colourful foot attachments that resemble really colourful snowshoes. Children can make tracks with the dinosaur or bear options and play hide and seek or pretend like they're animals in the wild. (Indigo.ca, $24.95)
- Spot It!
It's a game that will keep them busy during those winter afternoons when it's too cold to throw on the Sno Stompers. Spot It! is a simple recognition game in which players try to find the matching symbol on every two cards. The player who spots the matching image first gets to keep a card, and the person who collects the most cards in the 55-card deck wins. The game travels well in a small tin, and can accommodate up to eight players. (Amazon.ca or Indigo.ca $13.95)
- Wonder, by R.J. Palacio
A book about a boy in fifth grade with a facial deformity who's starting at a new school, Wonder has received rave reviews and is for young readers of all ages (though even adults could learn a thing or two from this story). Some of the themes explored are acceptance, compassion and the power of kindness. The story is told from the boy's point of view as well as from his classmates and family member's perspectives. (Amazon.ca or Indigo.ca, $13.67)