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Holiday Gift Picks: Stocking Stuffers $10 & Under

Priced $10 and under, these products pack fun and affordability into small packages.
My First Crayola My First Crayola
Ages: 1 & Up
Crayola, LLC, $4.99

The My First Crayola products are simply a must-have for sparking your little one's natural curiosity and creativity at an early age. The crayons come in sizes and shapes that fit perfectly in small hands, plus they are shaped like fun little animals. The variety is wonderful with the My First Crayola sets too. If your little one likes to color on walls and furniture, there is the "no mess" set that has a marker that colors clear on everything but the special paper. If they're not ready to make their own designs, the stamp set is really fun too. One of the great things, too, is that not much pressure is needed to get a strong, vibrant colors, and everything is washable.

Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Book + CD Set Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? Book + CD Set
Ages: 2 - 5 yrs.
Macmillan Audio, $9.99 (CD)   

This is an audio version of Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear?", a children's literature classic featuring Bill Martin Jr.'s rhythmic, rhyming text. The set includes a paperback copy of the picture book, showcasing Eric Carle's signature bold strokes of color and vividly rendered zoo animals. There are three tracks included on the CD, two in English and one in Spanish. The English versions are read by Oscar-winner Gwyneth Paltrow, and one of the tracks is a read-along for the accompanying storybook.This is a worthwhile variation on the series, and it is good for car trips.

Chicken & ABC's Chicken & ABC's
Ages: 2 - 7 yrs.
Mrs. Martinez and Kinder Rock Band, $9.99 (CD)   

Aimed at the pre-K to second grade set, the eighteen songs on Chicken & ABC's help kids learn counting, naming the days of the week, spelling, social skills and other important lessons. Marisa Martinez has been a full-time kindergarten teacher for ten years, and she has sung and played these songs with her classes for years. Martinez gathered a few friends, who happen to be some of the most noteworthy players in San Francisco, to contribute bass, drums, guitars, cello and tuba to the recording.

The Gruffalo's Child The Gruffalo's Child
Ages: 2 - 10 yrs.
NCircle Entertainment, $9.99 (DVD)   

This 2011 animated British film is based on the children's books by author Julia Donaldson and illustrator Axel Scheffler. Here, a plucky little monster-like creature ignores her father's warning to stay away from the woods. One winter night she sneaks out in search of the fabled Big Bad Mouse and along the way she encounters wily animals and stormy skies and her journey becomes as emotional as it is physical. The story is a poetic, rhyming work of art with an impressive cast - including Academy Award-nominee Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson and Robbie Coltrane - providing exceptional interpretations of the material.

Spot it! Jr. Animals Spot it! Jr. Animals
Ages: 3 - 7 yrs.
Blue Orange Games, $9.99

Our testers loved this fun, easy to use and easy to transport card game. The round playing cards come in a lovely little tin, which is easy to slip into a bag or keep in the car for play at restaurants. Each card has a series of small illustrations on it. When you put two cards down, one of the illustrations matches (though it could be a different size). For example, one card will have 6 symbols, one of which is a large owl, and another will have 6 symbols, one of which is a small owl. Those are the only two matches. Many variations for game play are offered.

Folkmanis Little Puppets Folkmanis Little Puppets
Ages: 3 & Up
Folkmanis, Inc., $12.99

The Folkmanis set of "Little Puppets" includes six half-body hand puppets ranging from six to ten inches in height. These tiny but fierce creatures (an alligator, hare, brown bear, polar bear, chipmunk, and lion) all have four "finger openings" that allow puppeteers (with a bit of practice) to "bite" their own two front legs/paws-or to "talk" and gesture at the same time. All are sturdily constructed with both realistic and cuddly features. Hours of entertainment and learning may occur with these charming toys, either singly or in groups.

Hand Tattoos- Animal, Monster, Dino, Robot, Farmyard, and Scary Hand Tattoos- Animal, Monster, Dino, Robot, Farmyard, and Scary
Ages: 3 & Up
NPW USA, $7.95

For all adults whose reprimand refrains include "don't talk with your hands" we say, please reconsider. These irresistible temporary hand tattoos of farm animals, robots, monsters, and more, bring storytelling to life as characters emerge, elaborate plotlines develop, and the joy of imaginative play unfolds. No pieces to lose, no instruction manual to decipher, and no batteries required. Packaged as a set of eight, these themed hand tattoos will inspire even the most reluctant thespians.

Ages: 3 & Up
Innovation First International , $9.99

From the second our testers released the Hexbug from its home-tube, the giggles and exclamations began. Once they placed the bug on the ground, it came alive and moved around like the real thing-racing across the floor and turning when it bumped into walls or obstacles. And the fun didn't end there. Using a product code unique to each Hexbug, kids went online to discover a world of problem-solving challenges in the Hexbug "factory."

Seed Bombs Seed Bombs
Ages: 3 & Up
DuneCraft, Inc, $4.99

Dunecraft's seed bombs are a great product for first time gardeners. Each package contains six seed bombs and instructions for planting them. The outer coating of the seed bombs protects them from animals, insects, and the elements as the plants sprout. Seed bombs are an easy way to start growing wild flowers, herbs, and shortgrass. Our testers saw quick results after tossing their seed bombs into their yards.

Bad Kitty Bad Kitty
Ages: 5 - 8 yrs.
Macmillan Audio, $9.99 (CD)   

Bad Kitty wasn't always bad. In fact, she was just fine until her owners ran out of cat food and brought home an array of vegetables ("Asparagus, Beets, Cauliflower, Dill, ACK!") when all she wanted were "Buffalo Burritos" and "Chicken Cheesecake." Nick Bruel's picture book appeals to the sillier side of children, with its naughty heroine, comical illustrations, and clever twist on the alphabet book genre. The audio version accompanying the book is read by actress/singer Vanessa Williams, who plays up the craziness with her dynamic vocals. This is a wild and fun story for a read-aloud.

Face Art Face Art
Ages: 6 & Up
NPW USA, $9.00

The Face Art kit from NPW enables parents and kids to face paint complex designs with ease. It includes six face paint sticks, 2 sponge applicators, and 9 outline stencils. These include large mask-size stencils and smaller shapes that can enhance designs, including a mustache and a sun shape. To start, outline a large stencil with one of the face paint sticks, and then use the stick to fill in the space inside of the stencil. The packaging shows possible designs, including monstrous masks and a cute tiger. Our testers found the paint washes off of skin easily.

Flapz Flapz
Ages: 6 & Up
Blue Orange Games, $8.99

Flapz is a handheld game designed like the extremely popular "cootie catchers" (paper fortune tellers). One player puts his or her fingers into the four corner pockets of the origami square and ask another player to pick a number. You then count up to that number while simultaneously opening and closing the alternating corners of the paper. Once you count to the designated number, you have the person pick a color (there is a different color on all four corners). Next you open the flap associated with that color and inside are 12 different activities you can have the person do (you have them do the activity associated with the number they originally chose). The activities range from passive activities (such as sing a song in a made up language or yawn until you make someone else yawn) to more active activities (such as jump as high as you can with your hands on your head). There are ninety-six different activities increasing the long term play value.

Ages: 7 & Up
DUARTE PaperArt, $4.95

These beautiful paper art kits may have parents purchasing extras, just so they can enjoy putting together an animal paper model with their children. The design and engineering of the animal models is beautiful, with a nice visual balance of simplicity with enough complexity to let children feel accomplished once they have completed the model. From bright white (polar bear) to subtle shades of gray(African elephant, rhinoceros, kangaroo) to black(orca whale, gorilla) the shapes snap easily out of the paper, with little chance to rip.

Banana-Grams! for Kids Banana-Grams! for Kids
Ages: 8 - 12 yrs.
Workman Publishing, $8.95 (Hard Cover)   

This brilliant book by the most renowned trio in the puzzle world offers 130 banana-themed word games and 18 different types of puzzles in a range of four levels of difficulty. A bonanza for kids with word skills.

Creatures - The Card Game Creatures - The Card Game
Ages: 8 & Up
Creatures Games, $11.99

The Creatures Card game is a unique game in which players strategize to make the strongest creature by mixing and matching various cards. The cards are divided into three groups (front, middle, and back), and each has a strength number. The goal is to combine three cards that will have the highest strength number possible. Players then use their creature creation to challenge the other players' creatures. Whoever's creature is the strongest (the highest number when all three cards are totaled together) becomes the champion of that challenge. Whoever has the most champions at the end, wins. This game is a lot of fun. It does require planning, addition, and organizational skills, so it is most appropriate for children ages 8 and older.

Rory's Story Cubes - Actions Rory's Story Cubes - Actions
Ages: 8 & Up
Gamewright, $7.99

These Actions cubes can be used on their own to play multiple variations of a Story Cubes game or combined with other Story Cubes sets. The set contains 9 dice illustrated with a different action on each side of the cube, offering 54 different verbs to play with. Players roll the dice and use them to create stories based on the actions that appear. Players may take turns adding on the story, ultimately making things up as they go along which often leads to hilarious tales. Although this is one suggested way to play, players can also play a solitaire version of the game or come up with their own ways of weaving stories with other players.

Stenzzles Tropical Puzzle Stenzzles Tropical Puzzle
Ages: 8 & Up
ThinkFun, Inc. , $9.99

Stenzzles Tropical Puzzle is a set of eight stencils that can be layered into colorful chaos (a word meant in the best sense). Each of the images is tropical-themed - there's a frog, a flower, and sea creatures. A puzzle booklet shows eight flat images, and the goal is to rotate and flip the stencils, layered one on top of the other, to produce the exact result in the illustration. For the top layers this is easy to do, but as the layers get deeper it becomes increasingly challenging to get it exactly right.

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