The presents your kids actually want this Christmas.

Before you blow hundreds of dollars, read this.

Image via Stacy Brunner/Flickr Creative Commons

We all put so much time and money into trying to buy the perfect presents for our kids every Christmas. But some of the best ones aren’t found at toy stores. Read on for inspiration…

Your phone. You don’t need to have any apps for kids on it. Your toddler will just enjoy texting “&*%^*)” to your boss, and changing the settings so that it is permanently stuck on silent.

"What does this do? Oh, cool!"

Dog toys. For babies, these are much more interesting than kids' toys. But dogs must have chewed on them first.

Front-row tickets to a building site. Forget the latest big-budget stage production. Young kids will be much happier watching earthmoving equipment performing its own exquisite ballet.

A box. It's been said before, but it's true. A toddler would rather play with the box that the toy came in than the box itself. So you might as well buy yourself something enormous that you really want and let your kid have the empty box as a playhouse. Generous, huh?

Bubble wrap. Great for protecting delicate objects, but maybe you should have delicate objects protecting your bubble wrap, because that's what kids find fascinating. If they're old enough to pop it themselves, it can keep them amused for minutes on end.

A combination VCR/DVD player. Not for watching movies. Toddlers can post pieces of toast into the VCR slot, while pressing the eject button on the DVD player over and over.


A train trip. Don't worry, you don't actually have to go anywhere. I once took my daughter on an exhausting trip to the zoo, and when I asked her what she liked best about the day, she started describing the seats on the train.

Whatever you've just thrown out. Yep, that cardboard toilet roll. Really, really, need it now.

Shoes. Not cute, small shoes that fit them. Kids want adult shoes they can clomp around in, or, in the case of babies, eat.

Scissors. These have many fun uses for children: restyling their own hair, giving clothes a fashionable "distressed" look, terrifying the dog, destroying important financial documents and making parents scream when any of the above occurs.

Why would anyone ever want to get rid of this work of art?

Permanent markers. No, not the kid-friendly textas that easily wipe or wash away. Must. Be. Permanent. Markers. Because a four-year-old's mural is too important to ever be removed.

Hair. Yours. The stuff attached to your head. Babies desperately want this, perhaps because they don't have much of their own. 

Whatever their sibling has just received. Nothing makes a toy more irresistible than the fact that it belongs to someone else.

What do your kids really love playing with?

Want more? Try:

The 26 most annoying kids' toys ever.

18 amazing DIY toys you can make with a cardboard box.