10 Top-Rated Educational Gifts Under $10 That Your Kids Will Want

Good news! It’s not too late to place online orders for this upcoming Christmas!

Many of you enjoyed my post last week detailing what I got my boys for Christmas with a $100 budget. I thought I’d share a similar post this week giving you my recommendations for awesome educational gifts for just under ten bucks each!

Although I’ve finished Christmas shopping, I’m always on the hunt for STEM-related projects to use in our homeschool, gift to my boys and their friends, or to simply recommend to parents and teachers who dislike searching for online deals.

With that being said, this post is meant to be a gift guide scenario for those of you who are interested in educational gift options for your children and/or resources for your classroom. All the items listed below are priced below $10 (as of date) and have high customer ratings on Amazon. They are also appropriate for introducing children to the wonders of STEM.

As you can see, we’re fans of all things STEM. It suits the learning style of my kinesthetic learners. If you’re new to STEM (or STEAM), it’s an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering, and (Art) Math. STEM stimulates a child’s natural intellectual curiosity and helps develop problem-solving, creativity, decision-making, and concentration, among other skills.

Why include STEM in your home and/or classroom? Because STEM permeates the modern world, yet research shows many students are not graduating from high school with the knowledge and capacities they will need to pursue the STEM careers steadily rising across the nation.

If you don’t get anything else from this post, know that you don’t have to rely on schools or administrations to teach your children (or students!) these wonderful concepts that are imperative for their future success.

What’s great about the following gift guide is that children will have so much fun they won’t even realize they’re learning and developing skills! Since I have two children under the age of ten, these gifts are most suitable for younger children (should be at least six-years-old) but can be challenging enough for preteens who are new to STEM.

So, without further ado, let’s get into it!

This post may contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer for more information.

10 Top-Rated Educational Gifts Under $10 That Your Kids Will Want

 

 

1. National Geographic Dino Dig Kit

Fossil Kit.jpg

National Geographic has a great series of dig kits available for the little scientist in your life. In addition to the Dino Dig Kit pictured above, this brand also offers shark tooth, real bug, and gemstone dig kits, among others. Kids will get to discover real dinosaur fossils that include a bone, mosasaur tooth, and dino stool for their rock collection. This hands-on exploration also boasts prehistoric fun facts in the full-color learning guide. A magnifying glass is also included to heighten the fun! Get it on Amazon

 

2. Magnetic Mini Tile Art by 4M

Magnetic-Mini-Tile-Art.jpg

This amazing set challenges children to create unique works of art that can be attached to magnetic tiles that will hang on any metal surface. The set includes tiles, magnets, a paint-strip of four colors, and a paintbrush. Kids can make beautiful gifts for friends and family or simply display their impressive creations on the refrigerator door. A perfect gift for the little artist in your family! Get it on Amazon

 

3. Illusion Science by 4M

Illusion Science.jpg

This science kit boasts 20 classic optical illusions from trick cards to 3D picture cards and glasses. There’s also an instruction booklet included that explains the science of optical illusions and how to create illusionary effects. Even if you don’t have a child who’s into optics, this is a gentle introductory kit that can be fun—and educational—for the entire family! Get it on Amazon

 

4. Metal Model 3-D Building Sets

Metal Models 2

This building set is great for helping children increase their logical thinking and problem-solving skills. The set includes metal material made from good quality stainless steel, a screwdriver, and a spanner. Perfect for the little engineers in your life and also suitable for young teens! Get it on Amazon

 

5. Be Amazing Insta Snow 

Insta Snow.jpg

If you’re looking for snow this Christmas, this kit is the next best thing! Insta-snow powder turns plain water into a fluffy snow-like substance in just seconds.  There is absolutely no stirring or mixing involved. This kit boasts that the powder can absorb up to 100 times its weight in water and is completely safe and non-toxic. A test tube and snow powder are included. You just provide the water for this fun STEM activity! Get it on Amazon 

 

6. Lemon Powered Clock

Lemon Clock

Engage your child in a fun lesson on battery science using this lemon-powered clock! This STEM kit includes copper and zinc plates, wire, and a clock. All materials are safe and high quality. The kit does require that lemons be provided to make the most of the amazing experience. However, this kit is a fun unique way to explore science with your kids at home! Kidz Labs also has a potato clock STEM kit available. Get it on Amazon

 

7. Green Science Enviro Battery

enviro battery.jpg

Explore the wonders of green energy sources using this Enviro Battery kit. Complete with instructions, this kit also includes wires, zinc and copper plates, plastic cups, an LED lamp and more. Children can use potato, salt, water, and mud to light up an LED bulb and sound a buzzer, among other things! This kit is a wonderful introduction to the importance of leaving a smaller carbon footprint on the earth. Get it on Amazon

 

8. Melissa & Doug Stained Glass Window Art Kit

Stained Glass Art Kit.jpg

Develop concentration, creativity, and fine-motor skills with this stained-glass window art kit by Melissa and Doug. Your child will use a number key system to place glitter stickers over the template. The kit comes with a ready-to-hang wooden frame that allows your child to display their gorgeous project. Hang it in the window and watch the light shine through the glittering stickers! Get it on Amazon

 

9. Tara Toys STEM Projects Robotic Hand

Robotic Hand.jpg

This robotic hand project is a fun way to learn about tension and compression. This project is user-friendly and easy to assemble. Once built, the robotic hand can reach and grab objects! Also includes a fun learning card detailing the science behind tension and compression. The STEM Projects brand also offers walking dinosaur and fish generator project kits, also under ten bucks! Get it on Amazon

 

10. The STEMpreneur Mini STEM Racer

Stem Rally Racer.jpg

This STEM racer kit helps children develop spatial recognition, problem-solving, critical thinking, and fine and gross motor skills. The Rally Cross Racer is one of four racer models sold separately. Get one for each of your kids and have a family fun night building the racers and engaging in a friendly race competition! Get it on Amazon


Well, that concludes my list of ten educational gift ideas under ten dollars. I hope this post helped you. I want to reiterate these gift options are suitable for children between the ages of six and ten. But don’t let my age recommendations stop you if you know your child or classroom would enjoy these amazing STEM projects!

Until next time, friends…


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What I Got My Boys for Christmas

What I Got My Boys for Christmas for Under $100 | Non-Toy Ideas

I have two boys, ages five and nine. Since our very first family Christmas, my hubs and I have thought diligently about how to balance enjoying this time of year without overshadowing its true meaning. 

One thing that has really helped me over the years is becoming an early shopper. I seldom wait until December, or even Black Friday, to start my Christmas shopping. Being prepared in this manner ensures I won’t be stressed during the holidays, which means I can focus on what Christmas is really about. 

I wasn’t going to write a post like this, but I felt inspired to for two reasons:

First, I know for many families the lack of finances can be a stressor that inhibits them from truly enjoying the holiday season. Of course, Christmas is not about “things,” but there’s nothing wrong with desiring to give good gifts to people you love in remembrance of the divine gift God gave to us. 

Listen, you don’t have to go broke this Christmas season. This year, we’ve spent $99.25 (plus tax, of course) on 24 Christmas gifts. At twelve gifts each that rounds out to be about $50 per child, which is way below our usual budget! And, yes, we bought them awesome things they actually wanted! 

Perhaps even $99 is something you can’t afford, but most of our gifts were on sale as low as $2.50. That means if you have four children and wanted to get them each two things, it is possible to spend just $20! 

The second reason I’m writing this post is to help those of you who need alternative ideas on what to get their boys (or girls!) for Christmas. Perhaps you’re tired of purchasing toys your kids never play with. Perhaps gift-shopping just isn’t your forte. Whatever the case, I can at least help you with gift-shopping for children under the age of ten. 

Here are our gift-giving guidelines:

  • Give gifts they’ll actually use. 
  • Give gifts that foster creativity and learning. 
  • Give gifts you can do together as a family.
  • Give gifts that are mostly consumable.
  • Give gifts they specifically asked for.

For our family, art and science projects are great gift options because they follow the aforementioned guidelines. As a homeschool family, we will actually use these gifts, they will inspire creativity, we will do them together as a family, they are (mostly) consumable, and we made sure to get specific gifts our boys asked for. 

So without further ado, keep reading to find out what we got our boys for Christmas. 

Note: This is not a sponsored post. I purchased all of these products at my local Dollar General with my own money. Affiliate links are included for those of you don’t have access to a Dollar General. Please see my disclaimer for information. 


What I Got My Boys for Christmas for Under $100

 

1. Volcano Projects

Amazing Volcano Gift for Kids

This set includes everything needed to make a model volcano. We’ve made one before, but volcanic eruptions NEVER get old for my children! My sister-in-law purchased something similar from Michaels and it did not include the baking soda or vinegar, so the fact that this set includes everything is great! Get it on Amazon

2. Sketch Wizard Kits

Sketch Wizard Gift for Kids

My boys love to draw, so I knew this sketch wizard would be greatly received. This sketch wizard allows children to draw any flat image or three-dimensional figure of their choice. All the child must do is place the object in front of the lens and it will create a traceable image. Along with the unit, this set comes with a graphite pencil, colored pencils, 5 scenes, and 5 blank sheets so kids can get started on their sketches right away! Get it on Amazon

3. Metal Art Kits

Metal Art Gift for Kids

It doesn’t get any cooler than creating designs in copper, aluminum, and brass! My oldest son enjoyed when he did something similar to this in his STEM class, so I know he’ll appreciate this kit. It comes with everything needed to create cool metal projects!

4. Velvet Art Kits

Velvet Art Gift for Kids

My boys are huge into coloring. I figured coloring on velvet would take the fun up a notch. I love that this set comes with markers and 8 different designs to choose from. It would be a great idea to frame and hang them in the bedroom as wall art when they’re finished!

5. Slime Lab Projects

GooZooka Slime Lab Gifts for Kids

Slime is all the rage these days. I know it can be messy, but my boys love it, so I’m willing to bend a few rules for the sake of a fun family project. This lab includes everything we’ll need to create slime. It’s even color changing slime, which makes it a bit cooler!

6. Spin Art Projects

Spin Art Gift for Kids

Notice a theme here? Mostly everything is art related. I could not pass up this cool spin art kit, though. Mostly because it’s a painting project and my kids love to paint!

7. Neon Doodle Kits

Neon Doodle Designs Gift for Kids

I bought this set because it includes neon gel pens and my oldest son has been asking me about purchasing gel pens. It also includes neon markers, a coloring book, and giant coloring pages. I’m sure this will create hours of fun in our home!

8. Sand Art Projects

Sand Art Gift for Kids

As if this set wasn’t cool enough, it also glows-in-the-dark! This set boasts hours of fun sand art projects. I think my youngest son will be most excited about this, as he’s into kinetic sand. But I must admit, this looks like fun for the whole family! Get it on Amazon

9. Marker Maker Kits

Crayola Marker Maker Gifts for Kids

This set allows kids to create their own custom marker colors. It even comes with wacky marker tips. I mean, how fun is that? I can’t wait to do this project with them! Get it on Amazon

10. LEGO Sets

Lego Classic and Lego City Gifts for Kids

I know this is a non-toy post but let me plead my case if I may. My boys spend hours at a time making LEGO creations, so I’m more than happy to contribute to their collection. Besides, LEGO is something they specifically asked for. And, yes, these sets were also included in my $99 total! They were just a bit cheaper than other stores, but not majorly on sale. In fact, Amazon has a cheaper rate than even Dollar General at the moment. I purchased the LEGO Classic Bricks and Gears for some fun STEM-related projects.  

Get LEGO Classic Bricks and Gears on Amazon

Get LEGO Classic Blue Creativity Box on Amazon

Get LEGO Classic Green Creativity Box on Amazon

Get LEGO City Airshow Jet on Amazon

Get LEGO City Arctic Exploration Team on Amazon

11. Foam Dart Blasters

X Shot Toy Foam Bullet Shooter

This gift is for both boys since it includes two blasters. Again, this is something they’ve specifically asked for. At our co-op, most of the boys have foam blasters so, of course, my boys asked for one. I know this is a toy item, but I’m including this blaster set so you can get a visual of everything I purchased for just $99. Get it on Amazon

12. Emoji Pillows

Emoji Pillows Gifts for Kids

What kid doesn’t love emojis? My boys are no different. I know seeing these pillows on Christmas day will bring a smile to their face. My youngest son especially loves plush things at the moment so he will love cuddling up with these pillows at night! Get it on Amazon


How did I get 24 items for under $100? All the art and science projects were half off. I paid as low as $2.50 for some of them. For everything else, I received 20% off! Although the sale I took advantage of is over, Dollar General is still having an amazing BOGO sale on toys—including LEGO! The secret is to look through the top shelves for heavily discounted items! You may need a ladder. I borrowed one from the store. 

Here is a look at my long receipt of 24 items for a subtotal of $99.25. It’s a little worn, but you can see that after I got hit with Georgia tax, I ended up paying $106.20 for all 24 items. If you compare these prices to Amazon, I got a pretty decent deal paying a fraction of the cost at Dollar General. 

Christmas Gifts Under $100

For fun, I totaled up how much these items would cost if I purchased them on Amazon for the best value (minus the 4 items not available on Amazon) and the grand total is $172.07! And this grand total is still missing four items (actually 8 because I purchased double of those particular items). Wow! What a saving!

I want to end this post by saying that each year is different for us. For instance, last Christmas our boys received new bikes and helmets and we went outside and rode around the neighborhood. It was so much fun and they were extremely grateful even though they didn’t get a lot of “things.” 

And while every Christmas looks different for us, a couple things that remain constant are not waiting until Christmas season to shop, sticking to our budget, and being intentional about teaching our children what’s truly valuable. 


Are Your Children into Writing Christmas Wish Letters? Download these templates for FREE at Nike Anderson’s Classroom!

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I got rid of my kids toys

I Got Rid of All Their Toys | This is What Happened…

My eight-year-old paced the living room with slouched shoulders and the most pitiful expression he could muster up.  “What’s wrong, honey?” I asked glancing up from my tablet.

He shrugged his shoulders. “I’m just so bored.” He sounded as defeated as he looked.

Frustration rippled through me as I thought about all the wonderful toys he was blessed with. Most of which were gifted to him by adoring grandparents, aunts, uncles, and friends. Remote control cars, tablets, action figures, and just about every building toy you could imagine. Topped off with his wonderful imagination, I begged the question: How could he ever get bored? 

I wrote a post earlier this year, titled, Ten Ways to Resurrect Old Toys. In this post, I shared some tips on how I managed to trick my kids into falling back in love with their toys. Although these strategies run their course after a while, these tips still work for me. But I realized I’d forgotten one. If I could rewrite that post, I’d add a number elevengo on a toy fast! 

You see, whenever my kids declared their boredom, I’d always threaten to take all of their toys away. Of course, I never meant it. I just wanted to scare them into gratitude. Sounds stupid, right? That’s because it is. But when my son approached me and said he was bored, for what I exaggerate to be the millionth time, I decided this was the moment I’d put my words to action.  

Once my kids fell asleep that night, I collected all of their toys (the few that were in rotation) and put them into the garage with the rest of their toys. The only exceptions were the riding toys and trampoline in the backyard, and the toys we used in our homeschool classroom. I called this method, the Three Day Toy Fast.  This is my account of what happened after I got rid of all my kids’ toys. (Cue the Law & Order theme song.)

1.    They survived. Yes, my boys lived to tell the tale. In fact, they stopped asking me for their toys after day one. The phrase—out of sight, out of mind—rang true in this case. They simply stopped thinking about their toys and found other things to do. They colored more, drew more pictures, played outside longer, made up games, and yes, they watched their favorite cartoons on the days they drove me crazy. They even found things around the house to play with. Stuff like empty boxes, containers, and things they had no business playing with (like the hand soap in the bathroom). Turns out, toys had distracted them from using more of their imagination.  

Kids Playing at the Park

 

2.   They got along better. Of course, sibling rivalry is always going to be a challenge, but my boys did get along better once we removed toys out of the equation. Since they no longer had toys to fight over, they had to work together to stay entertained. Phrases like “That’s mine!” “Gimme that back!” and “Mommy! Mommy! Mommy!” had greatly reduced.  I was really pleased to see how much better they interacted with one another—so many giggles and inside jokes were exchanged between them. 

Kids Getting Along

 

3.   There was more peace.  Ah yes, that thing called peace. We all have our own definition of it. For me, peace is partly defined as having less clutter in my life. Not seeing toys all over the family room definitely took me to that sweet place. I had less anxiety, was more patient, and more relaxed. I also got to give my vocal cords a rest, as I seldom had to yell the word “share!”

Kids Reading Books

 

4.    They had more gratitude. Whatever random toys my boys could find underneath the couches, beds, or other furniture, was like finding treasure. They sat and played contently with a few pieces of LEGOs, a small action-figure sword, and irrelevant puzzle pieces. They got super creative! Not to mention, they showed major love to all of their art supplies. Suddenly, it occurred to my boys that my husband and I could take away their toys at any moment; that they weren’t entitled to them. As a result, they showed more signs of humility (especially my eldest) and their disposition improved.

Creative Kids

 

5.    I stepped up my game. Chucking most of my kids’ toys sounded like a great idea until I discovered I had to step my game up. That is, I had to help them come up with creative ideas and be more involved during activities. I realized I couldn’t just tell my kids to use their imagination, but I had to show them how fun it could be. Thanks to my own imagination, and Pinterest, finding things for us to do was a cinch.

Mommy and sons


So the question you’re probably wondering is, after having such a wonderful toy-free experience, will you reintroduce your children to their toys? The answer is, yes, I already have. But after a few days of arguing and fighting, I returned the toys to the garage. Now we’re back to more peaceful, although not perfect, days. 

I now see a strategy at work. My boys are starting to notice that if they bicker and fight, mommy will remove the toys that are causing the fuss. This, in turn, will encourage them to learn to get along better. It’s already been working! Even as I write this post, the boys are peacefully working on a craft activity I found on Pinterest. And although they still disagree, I’ve noticed when they are crafting their tone toward one another isn’t as harsh. 

I want to end this post by saying that toys are obviously a wonderful addition to childhood. However, my boys are at the age where they are learning how to peacefully work out their issues with each other. Eliminating toys has helped during this time. So, no, this is not an anti-toy post. But one that I hope encourages parents to try eliminating distractions when their children need to learn valuable life lessons such as gratitude, the power of using their imagination, and the wonderfulness of harmony.

Anything to add? Let us know down below!

Stay tuned for more posts on “The Better Mom Tuesdays” series! Every Tuesday this month I’ll be sharing mom tips! 

Thanksgiving Crafts

Easy Thanksgiving Crafts that Reinforce Gratitude

Thanksgiving is right around the corner! For us parents and teachers, that means it’s time to look for Thanksgiving craft ideas for our little students. Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered! This year, I’ve collected twenty “thankful” themed crafts and activities that kids will love. These activities can be found on my Pinterest “Thanksgiving with Kids” board, or you can simply click on the titles below for instructions.

1.    Thankful Turkey 

2.    Thankful Family Framed Art

 

3.    Thankful Fall Placemats

 
4.    Thankful Tree

 
5.    Thankful Banner

 
6.    Thankful Pumpkin Pie Wheel

7.    Thankful ABC Sheet

 
8.    Thankful Turkey Bag

 
9.    Thankful Wreath

 
10.    Thankful Paper Bag Book

 
11.    Thankful Sunflower Plant

 
12.    Thankful Gift Idea

 
13.    Thankful Wheel

 
14.    Thankful Rocks

 
15.    Thankful Jar

16.    Thankful Lapbook

17.    Thankful Puppets

 
18.    Thankful Minion Bulletin Board

 
19.    Thankful Cards

 
20.    Thankful Crescent Rolls


Gratitude is something we often talk about in our home. I believe we set our children up for success when we teach them how to focus their attention on what they have, rather than what they lack. Some of these gratitude ideas will definitely become a family tradition for us during the holiday season, especially the thankful jar. I’m so looking forward to doing some of these crafts with my kids during the upcoming weeks!

What are some of your favorites? Let us know down below!

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