Family life

Gift ideas that won't break the bank

Good things do come in small packages. Local shops offer up gift ideas that won't break the bank

By Today's Parent and Todays Parent
Gift ideas that won't break the bank

Baby and toddler

OBall Rattle, ($9.95) John Levy, co-founder and chief toy buyer of Mastermind Toys says gifts should be fun, interactive, educational and engaging…but mostly fun. Babies will like his suggestion for the bright colours, rattling beads, springy surfaces and easy-grip overlapping rings.

Bright Baby Animal Slide & Find Books, ($4.95) Cathy Francis of the Flying Dragon Bookshop sighs with delight over the new books for this season. Sliding doors in sturdy board books hide what’s hidden beneath in this latest addition to the Slide and Find series. Questions to answer, pictures to match and counting. Irresistible to small hands.

Plush Animals by Yomika Classics, ($12.99) Top the stocking with a cute fox, penguin or tabby cat for your child to cuddle as they read, suggests Francis.

Preschool and up

Gogos Crazy Bones, ($2.79–$15.99) These collectible game pieces shaped into fun figures received three votes! Shari Bricks of Toytown, Tracey Jacobs of Treasure Island Toys and Levy all agree this is a craze that appeals to girls and boys alike.


Pom Pom Beads by Bead Bazaar ($8.99) Whether its Green Apple, Bubble Yum, Mango Mambo, Berry Lovely or Blue Crush, each kit contains enough fluffy beads to make two necklaces, say the Toy Town crew.

School age

Yomega Hot Shot Wing Yo-Yo, ($19.95) Simply the best beginner version of this classic, say the masters at Mastermind. The smart switch either turns on a clutch system that allows you automatic return when you’re just starting or turns it off when you want to try longer string games and tricks.

Djeco French Knitting Doll, ($20.99) A Beautiful ceramic Knitting Nancy holds golden prongs, a scepter hook and yarn. Knit and create. A Flying Dragon Recommendation.

Scrabble Slam, ($8.99) Both Toytown and Treasure Island Toys recommends this fast paced card game where the whole family can race to change a four letter word and get rid of all the (letter) cards.


Waboba Ball, ($9.94) Save it for the pool! Irene Efston of Efston Science recommends this Lycra-coated polyurethane ball, which bounces on water like a skipping stone and floats. But don’t throw it in the house!

The Nutshell Library, ($22.95) Usually for the four to six year olds, this set of four lesser known Maurice Sendak titles: Alligators All Around, Chicken Soup with Rice, One was Johnny and Pierre should prove very popular with everyone after the Hollywood version of the award winning picture book Where the Wild Things Are comes out, explains Francis.

Smencils, ($1.49) Gourmet smells like rootbeer, watermelon and raspberry in pencils made from 100 percent recycled newspapers, recommends the Mastermind staff.

Japanese Erasers, ($1.50–$10) Kids love collecting these precision cut erasers in the shape of food and toys, says Shari Bricks. The shapes come apart like puzzle pieces and are made from environmentally friendly materials.



Solar Pet Rock, ($11.95) Sit it on your desk. The more light it gets, the more it rocks says Efston.

Pocket Plasma, ($24.95) Also on Efston’s list is an amazing display of lights on a clip-on disc that responds to touch, voice and music. It will light up your cyclist, skateboarder or jogger, and is sure to be a party hit, too.

The Gryphon Project by Canadian author Carrie Mac, ($14) In Phoenix’s world, social classes are divided by how many resuscitations can be performed on an individual. Her brother Gryphon has all his lives left but when he dies, the governing body of Chrysalis refuses to revive him, claiming his death to be a suicide. Phoenix has one week to prove them wrong before his life is permanently suspended. Sure to hook boys and girls, says the Flying Dragon Bookstore staff.

This article was originally published on Nov 09, 2009

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