22 Great Kids’ Gifts Under $20 and $500 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

$500 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway on www.foodiewithfamily.com

DISCLOSURE: This post contains Amazon.com affiliate links. If you click through and then purchase something to which I’ve linked, I will receive a small commission which in no way effects the price of the products. The Amazon.com Gift Card Giveaway is sponsored by myself and a group of other bloggers. We were not compensated to host this giveaway and paid for it ourselves.

Whether you celebrate Hannukah, Christmas, or something else, no one can deny ’tis the season for giving! With five sons in our house (and five birthdays between October 10th and January 4th) it can seem like money is flying out the windows this time of year.

We have made a conscious effort to keep our purchases to a minimum while at the same time trying to choose gifts that aren’t junk. It sounds like an uphill battle, but it really just takes a little bit of planning. We have a pretty solid bias in favour of constructive play things, so this list is pretty short of electronic beepy things. (This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that I can’t STAND being ignored because of something that isn’t sentient! Or it may have something to do with the fact that I feel a little stabby when I have to listen to the same BeepbeepBLOOP over and over and over. You choose. Either way, the result is the same.)

Since I’ve already done all the footwork, I thought I’d share some of the great finds we’ve discovered and why everyone in our family loves them. Each of these has been road-tested in our high-stress laboratory on site (translation: by five boys of various ages and their friends in our living room) and received the approval of all the kids AND we the parents.

Games

Rory’s Story Cubes: This game is a tiny package with a huge amount of fun included. The box is slightly larger than a pack of playing card and holds 6 dice that have pictures on them. The player rolls the dice and makes a story about the pictures that surface. The beauty of this is that the kids can play solo or with as many brothers or friends he can muster. This gets a special mention for being under $8!

Rory’s Story Cubes Add Ons: Even cooler, there are two add-on sets “Actions” and “Voyages” which each have nine additional cubes. You can buy all three sets in one fell swoop for under $20.

Make and Break: This is another game that accommodates as few as one or as many players as you have handy. There are sturdy wooden blocks, a timer, and cards with patterns of varying difficulty levels that you need to replicate. It’s insanely fun for all ages! Of all the board and other games we own, this one gets the most play by far.

Qwirkle: My kids love this game. It consists of 108 tiles that come in a certain number of colours and patterns. You line them up strategically to form a grid, accrue points, advance and win. Loads of fun. Loads of strategy. It’s way cool.

Spot It: This is another awesome game. Cards are dealt to between 2 and 8 players. Players have to find what the similar characteristic is between the cards. The first person to find it wins that round. There is always only one similarity between the cards. It’s fast paced, competitive, brain-expanding, and wicked fun.

Triominos: Our love of this game goes back to my own childhood. My dad had a set that he kept tucked away in his office (which was in our home). If we were really good and promised to take good care of it, we got to play it. If we were really lucky, Dad would play with us. My kids love this game as much as I always did, too. Wonder of wonders, it’s a quiet game. It encourages quiet play, and in a house with five boys, I try to do that as much as possible!

Toys

Nerf N-Strike Blaster: This one-shot Nerf blaster is the one that most of my boys owned as their first Nerf gun. It shoots far (up to 75 feet!), has a light beam trigger (Laser like lights! Woohoo!), and has a tactical rail where you can add on accessories. It’s a fantastic entry-level Nerf gun. (My advice: Add eye protection to eliminate any worry!)

Stomp Rockets: Man. If I had a dollar for every hour my kids have spent playing with these, I’d be rich. I’d say they’re best suited to a child who has good leg strength (and understands just how much trouble they’ll be in if they try to launch it indoors, say, near the wood stove or delicate vase. Also? Got boys? Put that delicate vase in storage until they move out. That advice was free of charge for you and hard won by me.)

Darice 80-Piece Art Kit: This is my almost-8-year-old’s most treasured possession. He received one for Christmas last year and has guarded it from marauding brothers, scandalous chihuahuas, and thoughtless parents. Two of his older brothers take private art classes and this makes him feel like he’s in on something big. This is a surefire hit for any kidlets you have with an artistic bent.

Measuring Tape: I am not even kidding. My kids love to measure things. They even invented a game where they see who can extend the tape longest without it buckling. I’m telling you, if your kids are bored, have ‘em talk to mine. It won’t last.

Lego Bricks and More Brick Box: There are only 232 pieces in this set, but there are some fun versatile pieces and the box is worth it’s weight in gold as a great storage solution for Legos. It has the added bonus of being of such a size that you can store smaller creations in it.

Lego Creator Thunder Wings 3-in-1 Kit: This cool windswept wing fighter plane kit can also be built as a futuristic car or a robot. Any Lego kit that is under $20 is a bargain!

Lego Creator Construction Hauler 3-in-1 Kit: This awesome construction hauler kit can be rebuilt into a cherry picker or off-road transporter with a dune buggy. SCORE!

Lego Green Building Plate: Do not even laugh. My kids use this single $5 piece more than almost any other piece in their vast Lego collection and who gets to use it has even been the subject of numerous fights.

Bushnell Powerview Binoculars: These are for all. the. kids. My older boys love them, my littler boys love them. These compact, foldable, binoculars come with a handy neck strap and carrying case.  The boys love to take these out on nature walks, stand in the dining room and stare at deer or hawks out in the yard, and all sorts of other adventurous things. These aren’t some cruddy, plastic, toy binoculars, either. They’re good. My husband regularly borrows the boys’ so he can check out the size of the buck in the back yard.

 

Books

The Dangerous Book for Boys: Here’s another total time hoover for my kids. The guys have spent hours upon hours reading this book. That’s not all, though, they’ve done projects from it, taught themselves semaphore and morse code, learned to juggle and build a lean-to, and countless other amazing things from this book alone. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Have boys? Give them this book. Seriously.

Stuntology: This one should come with a warning. My little sister is a librarian and knows how to buy books that kids absolutely devour. The warning? Simply this. Give it to them along with a lecture about how you to pull pranks ethically. Otherwise, you might end up with a paper bag of flour or a wet towel plopping down on your head from a not-at-all-suspiciously-propped-open door. EXPERIENCE. Also? My sister’s 6-week old baby boy just may be getting this for Christmas in 8 years or so. Not that I hold a grudge…

How to Survive in the Woods: This book is a personal favourite of my 13 year old. He spends hours upon hours studying this book- WHILE in the woods. He knows -theoretically- how to survive a bear attack, why to stay away from deer in rut, how to make a fire pit, how to identify poisonous plants, ford a stream or a river, survive when stranded outside in inclement weather, build a fire, and all sorts of other handy things that fire a 13 year old’s imagination. If you have an outdoorsy kid, you simply can’t do better than this book.



Shake
: Do you have a dog lover extraordinaire among the little ones for whom you’re gift shopping? This book is new and ever-so-slightly breaking the rules. We grabbed it for my newly 10 year old for Christmas. He saw many of the photos on the site of the photographer who snapped these high-speed shots of hysterically adorable dogs shaking their heads. You wouldn’t think something so cute could look so very silly, but the proof is in the pages! The reason this is a rule breaker is it hasn’t made it to his hands yet, but judging by the reaction he had looking over the website, this one is going to be a huge home run for my boy who often says he wishes he was a dog.

Software

Learn to Play Chess with Fritz and Chesster: This is probably some of the best money I have EVER spent on my children. Every single boy has learned to play basic chess from it, and some of the boys are quite good. They play their dad (not me) because their dad loves chess strategy (and I love cookies.) It gives their daddy and I an inordinate amount of pride to hear them talk chess strategy and name gambits. SERIOUSLY- my kids can talk chess moves like I talk recipes. The best part of the whole thing is the way the game is constructed, none of them has ever felt like learning it was a chore. They LOVE it. They BEG to play it. $20 gives you all three levels of the game.

Movies:

 

My Neighbor Totoro: First of all, this movie isn’t just a favourite of my boys, but is a favourite of our entire family. It was the first Miyazaki film we ever saw and it completely and utterly pulled us into the realm of mega-Miyazaki fans. It is the beautiful story of sisters -ages 10 and 4- who move into an old-fashioned country home with their professor dad while their mom is in the hospital. In the enormous forest near their home, the girls discover a giant forest spirit (who looks like a cuddly bunny) named Totoro. Unlike many films ‘made for children’, this movie isn’t sappy or dumb. The children in the move aren’t brash, super-sweet, or any of the other extremes usually portrayed. They’re real kids in a fantastic adventure. It has beautifully quiet moments and my kids were absolutely enthralled when they saw it the first time and every time since. We all love this movie. In fact, we love it so much that I’m hand-making gifts inspired by the film for each of my kids and I know they’ll flip for them!

Spirited Away: Speaking of Miyazaki… Spirited Away is one of his best. In this story, Chihiro (a young girl) is trapped in a weird world of traditional Japanese spirits and needs to become braver and more plucky than she has ever been before in order to save herself and her parents. Again, Miyazaki uses quiet as a dramatic device and manages to produce a film that keeps both kids and adults completely riveted. The animation is lush and the story is wonderful.

 THE GIVEAWAY!

“Christmas is coming the geese are getting fat. Would you please put a penny in the old man’s hat?” Yes… How about fifty thousand pennies? That’s right. I’m asking whether anyone wants to win a $500 Amazon.com gift card to help with holiday shopping? Hmmm? I thought so. A bunch of food bloggers who I absolutely love and I teamed up to provide just that thing! Who loves ya baby? WE DO!

All you need to do is enter via the promosimple widget below. And pretty please, leave me a comment and tell me what you’d do with the moolah!

A couple of important notes: You have to be 18 to enter and you must be in the United States. I’m sorry to my international friends, but legalities prevent us from opening this up to a worldwide audience. For more details, read the fineprint in the Promosimple widget below.

Please check out my fellow sponsors of this great gift card giveaway. Show them some love!
Bakeaholic MamaVery CulinaryEats Well With OthersKeep It Sweet DessertsMiss in the KitchenCake DuchessSavory SimpleThe Wicked NoodleCrazy For CrustTaste and TellRachel CooksSeeded at the Table

Comments

  1. Amy says

    Our house has been on the market for a while, but we are looking forward to a new house in a new city. I would definitely save the gift card to get something for the new house!

  2. Nikki H. says

    Definitely use it for gifts & maybe something tiny for myself :) We celebrate Christmas & then we have 3 birthdays one after another right after. So this time of the year is pretty pricey for us & this would be a big help :)

  3. says

    What to do what to do? Well I would put some of the money towards Christmas gifts. I would buy myself something (or something’s) for the kitchen.

  4. says

    I’m another mom with too many birthday dates around the holidays. We follow the same guidelines for gifts (no junk, please), but it’s hard sometimes to choose thoughtful things. I’d use this for my Christmas shopping, for sure. Thanks for the giveaway!

  5. Molly Flasche says

    I tend to do the majority of my holiday shopping on Amazon. I’ve got 5 birthdays in the months before and after Christmas, so I’m on the site a LOT. A gift card would be great – and enable me to surprise my husband – he’s the most important birthday right after the holidays. (Gift card = not on the credit card bill!)

  6. Brittany says

    We are heading “home” to the United States for Christmas from Honduras. It would make our trip & our Christmas shopping so much easier and fun!

  7. beth says

    would use this to spoil my nieces and nephews… books, of course, are a favorite gift. and i’d probably get a few gadgets for the kitchen, as a joint gift for hubby and me.

  8. Debbie says

    I too have many birthdays in the family around the holidays. I would use it to buy gifts for the family and to buy me a decent chef’s knife. I love to cook but not having the proper tools really slows things down. I now use steak knives to cut everything.

  9. Lia M. says

    Yaaah! New winter clothes for me and the kid, and some specialty ingredients to make some special holiday foods, for sure. :D BAAAKLAVAAAA.

  10. Ari Yoder says

    I’d buy several of the gifts for kids you listed above. (Thanks for that – my 4 sons are all grown, and I never quite know what to get the grandkids in that age range.) I’d buy some cookbooks I’ve been dreaming of owning. I’d get a warm scarf, hat and socks for three homeless people who hang out near my building. Oh, what fun it would be!

  11. Liz says

    I would spend it on my remaining gifts (especially a wall-hanging of The 1931 Histomap that I’m giving to my wonderful boyfriend). I’d probably also give myself a fun thing or two, like a foodmill. I’ve always wanted one, but never seem to have the (very reasonable amount of) cash on me when I actually see one!

    Also, just a thought. Why don’t you get all the boys their own Lego green plate? I’m sure the $25 you’d spend would repay itself many times over in smiles :)

    • says

      True, Liz… I know it’d only be $20 to get four more, but I have this stubborn streak, and the harder they fight over something, the more I’m convinced they need to learn to share it. :D I’ve always been very incorrigible. :D

      That Histomap sounds awesome, and I can personally speak to the handiness of a food mill!

  12. Pat says

    I’ve been out of work for a bit, so half would go to replenish some household necessities, the rest would be gifts, and I’d keep $50 for something completely frivolous for me — because it’s been a while :)

  13. Jackie says

    I’d definitely use this for Christmas shopping for my family, but also for my two best girlfriends, who have been especially lovely and supportive this year!

  14. Amy says

    Christmas and Bday presents. We have 6 Bdays between December and February. Totoro is hands down my favorite family movie!

  15. Meghan says

    It’d be the one year where the holidays mean that I can give everyone what they need and want, and my daughter wouldn’t worry about if Santa (who she knows is me) could afford her presents.

  16. AmyG says

    I would be able to give gifts to my Mom, brother\sister-in-law and neices\nephews as well as an unexpected special gift for my husband and daughter.

  17. elle says

    I would use it to buy my boys’ Christmas presents. I have 5 boys too and you had some great ideas that I haven’t heard of before! I might spend a little on me too!

  18. Sarah S. says

    I would use it to buys gifts for my kids and family and maybe a couple of eBooks for myself. I love all your Lego suggestions. My 5 year old son is just entering the Lego stage and the green Lego slab is genius. I think he’s getting that whether he asks for it or not!

  19. Katrina says

    I would definitely use some of it to buy some sweet things for my new niece, who is due to be born on Christmas Eve!

  20. Karen Doyle says

    I love Amazon! I would use some of the money for Christmas, but I also use Amazon for homeschooling books and supplies, so most would be used for this.

  21. Lizzyd says

    Thanks for these great ideas. I am a new stepmom and completely baffled by my 9 year-old stepson… Glad to hear there are boys out there who don’t find themselves bored! I bet mine would love some of the same things!

  22. wenders says

    Love the give-away. What I would do with it? Perhaps – another Studio Gibli movie called “From Up On Poppy Hill” Whole family LOVES that movie. Well done. Also, love that we already have some of the items that you’ve listed. Yes, they are winners! – Story Cubes, Spot-It!, Lego 3-in-1. Would also recommend Bananagrams. And for the young transformer lovers – the Rescue-Bots. My kid’s favorite is Bumble Bee. Transforming them is simple and fun. Another wish-list item would be piano music for my kids. And….a shaved us machine.

  23. Charlotte Crist says

    I am a college student who has to pay my own way through school. I work two jobs averaging 50 hours a week, and I go to every class. I’m tired, and I don’t make enough to keep up with bills, so I end up living paycheck to paycheck. I’m going home for Christmas, and it’s the first time I will have been home since last Christmas. I would use the Amazon gift card to buy gifts for my family. I don’t want to go home empty handed, this would absolutely be a blessing.

  24. says

    I would save it until after the holidays so it doesn’t get lost in the rush. Then when it’s dark and cold with winter and there is little to look forward to, I would make reservations at one of those really nice restaurants that I can never afford. It would be such a luxery. :)

  25. Megan B says

    I’d probably spend part of it on upgrading and adding a few things to my kitchen as well as getting a gift or two for my taste-testers (my husband and little boy).

  26. Kayley Maybe says

    Would LOVE to spend this surprising the hubby this Christmas. Takes some of the fun away when he handles the credit card bills and knows what’s coming!

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