Any mom or dad will tell you their child has too many toys and request that you gift something practical like a museum membership or a pack of socks. But where’s the fun in that? As grandparents, you live for the thrill of the reaction.
Middle ground does exist. Here are some great holiday gift ideas that will ensure you avoid wasting money, are as exciting to give as they are for kids to open, and will please their parents, too.
Editor's note: Prices are subject to change and may vary by location.
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Musical Plush Caterpillar
A great gift for small children and fur grandbabies, this plush caterpillar is cozy, soft, and adorable. Cuddle bugs will adore how this squishy critter plays piano notes and songs.
And with no flashing lights or loud patterns, it’s colorful without being garish. Stylish moms will love the aesthetic.
The retailer suggests ages two and older, but as a mom, I think this is a great gift for younger babies and toddlers, too.
Hot Wheels Ultimate Garage
This three-level garage holding 50 cars is on toy lists everywhere. The set can store, race, and launch cars and connect to other Hot Wheels race tracks and accessory sets.
This toy is designed for kids aged five years and older.
Barbie Dreamhouse 3-Story with Pool and Slide
Another hot holiday toy dotting must-have lists, this Barbie Dreamhouse is pretty dreamy. It’s a 75-piece set (sorry, parents!) with a three-story slide and elevator. It's the it-gift for any Barbie-loving kiddo.
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Cocomelon Choo Choo Train Ride-on
Little Cocomelon fans and train lovers will love this ride-on choo choo train. Powered by a 6-volt battery, it’s built for kids aged 18 months to three years (up to 44 pounds).
Target Toy Shopping Cart
This Target toy shopping cart is everything. It blends pretend play, learning, and Target love — and toddlers and little kids adore pushing around anything with wheels. It even comes with a cup holder and a child’s seat that can fit a standard-size baby doll (up to 18 inches).
Oh! Sushi Game
Oh! Sushi is a great game for kids of all ages (even toddlers) and adults. It’s a huge family favorite at our house, and I’ve yet to meet anyone who doesn’t adore it.
It’s like Jenga with the added twist of chopsticks, removable brick tops, colorful blocks, and optional challenges. Little kids will love just stacking up bricks, and older kids and adults will enjoy the game’s more complicated and humorous aspects.
The manufacturer says the game is for kids 14 and older, but that age limit seems too high. Jenga, a similar board game, is for kids six and older, and my 3-year-old has loads of fun with it.
Cookez Makery lets kids ages five to 12 magically mix a new cinnamon-scented plush best friend.
You make the dough, place it in the oven, and bake it to see which sweet, interactive friend is yours. This toy comes in various color and price options, but the plush pet is always a random surprise.
This is a great encore gift for any kid who’s got and loved Magic Mixie gifts.
Yes, Furby is making a comeback! You may have bought one of these kooky, interactive toys for your grandkid’s mom or dad a few decades ago. And they are on toy shelves again, beloved for their cuddly, vintage appeal.
Furby lights up, dances, talks, responds to commands and has over 600 silly, chatty things to share. The toy is intended for children aged six and older.
Sharper Image Handheld Laser Tag
Sharper Image’s handheld game brings the fun of laser tag to your home. It comes with mini cannon blasters, lasers, automatic tracking and scoring, health indicators, and all the accessories you need for customizable fun.
Up to seven teams can play in battle mode. The game requires AAA batteries, so consider tucking in a couple of packs.
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Yoto Mini Bundle
A smaller yet just as perfect version of the full-size device, the Yoto Mini is designed for listening on the go.
It offers kids a fun, playful way to enjoy their favorite songs, stories, learning games, podcasts, activities, and more. The Yoto Mini bundle is adventure-ready, with the device and a starter pack of activities.
Paw Patrol Walkie-Talkies
Even in an age of iPads and smartphones, walkie-talkies have retained their simple charm. In fact, their vintage appeal and contemporary character designs have made them more popular than ever.
This Paw Patrol set has a 1,000-foot (0.19 miles) range and is designed for kids ages three and older, although even younger toddlers will have a blast.
Ooly Paint Sticks
These paint sticks boast a near-perfect rating on Amazon. It’s all the fun and satisfaction of smacking paint to paper but none of the mess — or at least a lot less. There’s no paintbrush, palette, or water cup required.
Safe and non-toxic, these paint sticks are suitable for budding artists of all ages. And they pair well with other Ooly paint books and art supplies.
For cool-grandparent points, check out this set of bounce-on horses. They’re much safer than the old-school, metal, ride-on horses. And they can bounce just about anywhere, holding up to 220 pounds, although younger children will have a more comfortable ride.
In addition to the horse design, you can get unicorns or dinosaurs. The toy comes in single or double-set options.
Super Mario Bean Bag Chair
If you want to splurge on a gift that packs a huge wow, consider the stylish yet ultra-cool Super Mario bean bag chair from Pottery Barn. It’s a great gift for young kids, tweens, or teens.
The design is playful yet modern, with a retro vibe. It’s also comfy, making it a great addition to a bedroom, playroom, teen space, or dorm room.
Sensory Soft Taco
Designed for babies up to 24 months of age, Melissa & Doug’s sensory taco with 12 soft toppings is popular with wee ones everywhere and beyond adorable.
Babies love crinkling and squishing all the different textures, and the toy creates endless “aha!” moments as tots take apart and reassemble the plush ingredients.
Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza
A wildly popular game for three to eight players, Taco Cat Goat Cheese Pizza is a game that tests your reflexes and wit.
It’s known for being hilarious, easy to learn, and fast-paced fun for kids and adults, and its small, compact size makes it perfect for travel.
This list of toys should give plenty of inspiration for (aspiring) cool grandparents everywhere. In it, we’ve shared gift ideas for kiddos of all ages, from babies to teens — including toys that their moms and dads will enjoy playing with too.
While it may not be the expensive gift your kids requested, your grandkids will be utterly elated. And if you’re playing diplomats, you can always pair a somber mom-and-dad-requested gift with something from our list that’s actually fun.
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