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10 Grand Gifts for Kids: $30 or Less!

We all know Christmas spending can easily get out of control. But really, most young kids like a $20 gift as much as a $200 gift — they don’t know the value of money, it’s just about having some fun!

So, in that spirit, I thought I’d share some gift ideas that I think are “winners” under the $30 price range. Some are products that were sent to me to review and some are simply things I’ve come across on my own.

1. Walrooz sleds: These cheerful sleds have a super-cute walrus design that my kids immediately loved. I admit I felt a tad disappointed when I received a sample of the large sled ($11.95) and a smaller connecting sled ($7.45) — they seemed smaller and thinner than I expected. But then I remembered that my absolute favourite sled as a kid was a Krazy Karpet (if you grew up in the 70s, you know exactly what I mean, don’t you?!). Anyhow, we haven’t had a chance to actually test these out on snow, but both kids (age 3 and 9) keep practicing down the stairs in the house and they are a real hit. The handles have held up to all the abuse and the linking mechanism is so perfect for how kids really do like to sled.


2. LeapFrog Fridge Words: I have yet to meet a child who wasn’t fascinated by LeapFrog’s series of magnet toys ($19.99-29.99). My kids have loved them all. You can read a post here on this toy and “interesting” ways in which my daughter has played with it. Tip: Keep it stored inside the kitchen cabinet and pull it out only when you really need some child-free time, like when you’re cooking dinner.

3. Warriors: Power of Three Box Set: If you’re going to give a book, it always feel a little more special to give a boxed set. Some of my favourites gifts from when I was a child (and I still have them in my book case!) are the Anne of Green Gables, and The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe, and the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory sets. I still love these sets and would still recommend them for kids today. But if you are looking for something a little “now,” both boys and girls are really enjoying this series called “Warriors.” Although the name sounds a tad violent, it is a series about a clan of cats. The starter set in the picture below is priced at $17.10 and was given to Stella on her 9th birthday by a good friend. (For more book recommendations from Stella, check out the right hand column of this blog, where she had identified a number of them.)

Warriors: Power of Three Box Set

4. Sculpey Sculpturing Compound: Available from Lee Valley (the sampler pack is $29.50), this set is for the imaginative child who dreams, doodles and talks of fantasy creatures. It’s a great treat to pull out on a weekend with some hot chocolate, and the bonus is that unlike so many other crafty activities, it makes so little mess.

Sculpey® Sculpturing Compound - Gifts

5. National Geographic Kids subscription: Remember how exciting it was to have a letter arrive to the house with your name on it? Well, even though mail is rarely ever delivered to homes anymore and people rarely ever send letters anymore, kids still LOVE getting mail! A magazine subscription is a gift that lasts the whole year. Owl ($39.50) has a science bent, Kayak ($21.95) has a historical focus, and National Geographic Kids ($22.00) covers a lot of critters and creatures. To present as a gift, pick up the current issue in the stores and wrap with a ribbon and a little explanatory note. Tip: If you are buying more than two magazines subscriptions, you can purchase from the Magazines Canada site and receive the third subscription for free.

Little Kids cover

6. Little Dottie Bracelet: Stella & Dot have the sweetest jewelry sets for girls. And the best part is that they come in a gorgeous little tin (okay, okay, I am a sucker for packaging!). My favourite is the Little Dottie Bracelet ($16.00) and matching necklace ($29.00). Stella isn’t into jewelry really, but I recently gave my niece the bracelet for her birthday present and she absolutely loved it.

Little Dottie Bracelet

7. The Tiny Perfect Dinosaur: It’s no secret that many children are afflicted by a serious dinosaur obsession at some point in their lives. Stella went through a full year period where she insisted that her middle name was “Dinosaur.” Naturally, then, we have spent our fair share of time at the Canadian Museum of Nature. The gift store is always a highlight, but you can skip it and buy online if you’d like. Here, the Stegosaurus of The Tiny Perfect Dinosaur series is shown below, but the entire series is now on sale for $5.95 each. It includes a book, a poster, and a dinosaur egg that has the skeleton inside which you are to put together yourself.

Stegosaurus: The Tiny Perfect Dinosaur Vol. 4

8. Cook & Play Potsy: My son is three and he just loves to play house and cook like his Dad. But trying to find imagination toys related to the home in any colour other than a gawdy pink, at a reasonable price, isn’t an easy task! So I was quite pleased to be sent this Leap Frog toy to try out. The packaging features two girls playing with this toy, but as you can see, the pot looks pretty gender neutral and has a fun animated face on it. Like all Leap Frog toys, it has a ton of educational features built into it and it’s priced at $24.99.

9. Art workshop with 4 Cats Arts Studio: This studio for kids is an amazing concept that is taking off all across Canada. In Ottawa, we have a location in Hintonburg (which I profiled here for my 40th birthday party). Rather than a concrete gift, you might want to consider giving an experience — the winter workshops that are being offered in the upcoming season range from $18-20 — and really are fabulous value for money. Age ranges run from 3 up to 15 and there’s a variety of offerings.

10. Zoob: For the child who gravitates to lego and building blocks, Zoob is the cool new kid on the block. Bright, colourful and easy to use, it’s recommended for children aged 6 and up. I was first introduced to Zoob sets by the owner of My Toy Shop in Manotick, but since then I’ve noticed that Tag Along Toys, Mrs Tiggy Winkle’s, and Scholar’s Choice also carry them. The 75-piece set below is priced just under $30.

I hope that this has renewed your faith in reasonably priced toys and gifts! There are so many out there, and kids are just thrilled with them. If you have other faves to add to these, feel free to leave a note in the comments. 


  1. Love the Walrooz sleds what a great idea!! My kids are going to absolutely love them, I can’t wait to try them out! Thanks for the great gift ideas!

  2. In the games category there’s UNO and Squarrels… both are very portable (we bring them with us when we travel) and very fun. 

    • Ah, yes, UNO rocks! But I haven’t heard of Squarrels before. Thanks so much for that tip — I think Santa might be leaving that in a stocking this year at our house now! 😉

  3. My boys have that sampler pack of modelling clay and have spent hours and hours creating. As a parent I love that they don’t have to paint their creations afterwards. 

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