Your A to Z Guide: The Best Kids’ Stocking Stuffer Ideas

Your A-Z Guide: The Best Kids' Stocking Stuffer Ideas on green banner with stocking background

It seems like every year I’m scrambling to figure out what to put in my kids’ Christmas stockings. If you’re like me, the last thing you want in your house is more plastic trinkets but I end up defaulting to that kind of filler when I can’t think of anything better. 

Well, no more!!  

This time I’m making a list, checking it twice and not wasting this opportunity to give my kids some useful, engaging and maybe even educational stocking stuffers!  

Trendy products come and go but these “ABC’s” – Awesome Brainstorming Categories – will never go out of style!  Each A to Z category will remind you of a whole group of stocking stuffer ideas to help you come up with the perfect picks for your kids!

The Stocking Stuffer ABC’s!

A is for Accessories

This category includes clothing like socks or boxers and outerwear like hats, mittens and earmuffs – really anything you can roll up compactly. Try earrings, necklaces, bracelets and rings for your older kids and play jewelry or dress-up accessories for their younger siblings.

B is for Bedroom Decor

Help them personalize their space with glow-in-the-dark stars, a nightlight, or wall decals of their favorite characters like this one. Themed light switch covers are another small-sized stocking stuffer idea; they’re easy to change as your kids age out of Mickey Mouse mania and move on to Odd Squad obsession.

C is for Cards & Other Small Games

So many options here!  Some of our favorites are Blink, Uno, Bananagrams, Spot It, Set, Math Dice Jr., Tenzi, Rory’s Story Cubes, Star Wars Top Trumps, Phase 10, Waterworks and the Pictureka Card Game. 

D is for Digital Gifts & Gift Cards

For kids who like to pick out their own gifts, try gift cards to any of their favorite physical locations (restaurants, play-places, toy and game stores) or online stores like Amazon and iTunes. You can also give gift cards or subscriptions to services like Netflix, Pureflix, Hulu, Spotify and video game sites like Steam.

E is for Explorer’s Supplies

Sneak in educational gifts for your kids’ future adventures and science projects.  Open up larger sets like a backyard scientist kit and wrap each part individually to make it fit in a stocking (or to share it between siblings). My kids have liked this magnifying glass and kids’ compass for their explorations and this (surprisingly inexpensive!) pocket microscope is another great, stocking-sized option.

F is for Fun Food

Add a few special treats to their stockings that you don’t normally buy – maybe a favorite flavor of normally-too-expensive applesauce pouches or the individual serving boxes of cereals you usually don’t allow for breakfast. Novelty treats can be fun, too – my kids loved the year they got astronaut ice cream for Christmas (it went along well with our astronomy unit, too)!

G is for Gum & Candy

While we try not to fill up an entire stocking with candy, a few sweet treats are okay in my book. Toss in a few gold chocolate coins, candy canes or one of their favorite candy bars.  As for gum, I feel less mom-guilt when we chew Pur and Glee brands since they’re all the fun of regular gum (not quite as long-lasting, but still good) without as much yuck in the ingredients list.

H is for Hobby-Related Gear

This will be kid-specific, depending on their interests. Here are a few examples:

  • Biking – bike repair kit, bike pump, bell, wheel lights or other bike bling
  • Rock Climbing – carabiners, chalk-bag or grip-strengthening toy
  • Arts & Crafts – sketching pencils, drawing pens, pattern scissors, beads, sequins and other crafting supplies
  • Swimming – goggles, swim cap, diving rings and small water toys
  • Home & Garden Tools – kid-sized oven mitts, gardening hand tools, seed packs, gardening gloves, kid-sized hammer or a child-friendly manual drill
  • Reading – fancy bookmarks, stocking-stuffer-sized paperbacks or a reading light
  • Sewing – small sewing kit, sewing scissors, thread, pin cushion or buttons

I is for Inventor’s Supplies

My kids love their “inventor’s box” which we keep stocked with items like these:  small motors, alligator clips, rope and string, zip ties, wooden dowels, wooden wheels, straws, pipe cleaners, small LED lights, binder clips, battery holders and pulleys.

J is for Joke & Puzzle Books

Small or travel-sized joke books (our Garfield-loving family enjoys this one), crosswords, mad-libs, riddles and fact books are perfect for stuffing stockings. Even some larger paperback puzzle books can work in a stocking if you roll them up. 

K is for Keychains & Backpack Clips

Okay, these sometimes verge on being tchotchke. But for the older kid who actually needs a keychain, a nice one could be useful. And for your backpack clip connoisseur who collects different characters, another cute clip-on emoji might be a highly-prized addition to their collection. 😍

L is for Labels, Stamps & Stickers

Stickers, sticker books and rubber stamps are great for young kids or older ones into scrapbooking and crafts. Personalize the gift with “Property of…” labels or order stickers with your kid’s name. (Travel-sized sticker books should fit in most Christmas stockings but double check the product dimensions since sticker books sometimes don’t roll up easily.)

M is for Music Equipment 

For your young percussionists try new drumsticks, mallets, a triangle, shakers or finger cymbals. Other small sized instruments like a harmonica or recorder fit well in a stocking. If they’re already playing an instrument, think about accessories you’d be buying at some point anyway: guitar picks or a capo, a marching band music clip, reeds, a tuner or a metronome.

N is for Non-“Thing” Ideas

Christmas stockings are the perfect place to tuck “experience” gifts like passes for a museum, a roll of tokens for a local arcade, or a little card announcing an upcoming family weekend getaway!  Plus, you can always use the stocking as a hiding place for the first clue of a scavenger hunt leading to a larger gift hidden somewhere else!

O is for Optical Illusions & Logic Toys

Get them thinking with brain-teasers and logic toys. Rubik’s Cubes are classic but there are all kinds of crazy twists on it if they need a new challenge. Kanoodle is a new-found favorite logic game of ours and my kids go back to this optical illusions book again and again.

P is for Practical (& Still Fun) Toiletries

These are the kind of things you’d get anyway but can easily pass off as a gift (especially if you get a fun flavor, color or favorite character)! Cherry ChapStick and a flashy light-up toothbrush are some of my kids’ favorites. Or try other “fun-practical” gifts like glitter nail polish, fancy soaps, hair clips or character Band-Aids.

Q is for Quality Toys

I don’t mean a bunch of random, plastic doohickeys that break after 10 minutes and you find them under the couch two years later. I’m talking about higher quality toys that last or ones that would generate renewed interest in toys your kids already own. Maybe an additional LEGO figure, a new Hexbug Nano, Shopkins, a Thomas train car or some Hot Wheels cars. Play-Doh accessories wrapped individually or a pack of TOOB animal figurines fit well in a stocking, too.

R is for Recreational & Outdoor Gifts

Don’t forget about summer toys just because it’s the dead of winter! A jump rope, sidewalk chalk, small sandbox toys or beanbags are still great options. Or give them a new swing set accessory like a spyglass or climbing wall handgrips (this set we love is too big for a stocking, so split up the pack between siblings or put one grip in the stocking as a hint that the rest have been secretly installed outside)!  Then bundle up the kiddos and let them burn off some of their winter cabin fever in the backyard!

S is for School Supplies

The letter ’S’ is also for Sneaky Homeschool Mom! Who says glue sticks, tape and colored index cards have to come out of the “school supply” budget? Generate some back-to-school excitement with new supplies to carry you through the long winter ahead.  We love Pip-Squeaks markers for our youngest and a variety of tapes (packing tape, colored duct tape, regular clear tape, washi tape) for all the kids’ art projects and inventions. 

T is for Tiny Technology

Think ahead about the tech that will help you in your parenting or homeschooling and you’ll thank yourself later!  Give them a kid’s wristwatch to encourage time-telling or new earbuds to motivate them to use audiobooks independently. A headphone splitter might (might!) help your kids stop arguing over the iPad and these headphone adapters can help save your sanity by adapting regular headphones for use on certain electronic keyboards.  

U is for Useful Gear

A pocket knife, multi-tool or compact camping gear (like utensils or a personal water filter) could be great for your older kids while a flashlight or compact umbrella works for all ages. A money clip, kid’s wallet or small purse can be given just for fun or as a way to encourage money management skills. (They also work well to present a cash gift or gift cards).

V is for Videos

DVD’s fit into most stockings so stock up on family movies or educational ones for the year ahead. We’ve enjoyed Magic School Bus DVD’s, the What’s in the Bible series and Leapfrog phonics videos like Leapfrog Letter Factory.

W is for Writing Utensils

You can find fun pencils with crazy toppers, pencil grips and colorful pens at most dollar stores. My kids love gel pens and actually stopped complaining (as much) about writing when we started using them!  White board markers and other fancy markers and fabric paint pens are perfect stocking stuffers. 

X is for eXtra Batteries

You probably wouldn’t want these to be the only thing in your kid’s stocking… and you might receive questioning looks at first. But if they’ve gotten toys that require batteries, they’ll be happy to use them right away! Plus, if they have a stash of battery-less, dead toys like my kids do, batteries will bring the old toys back to life!  It’s like getting all those remote control cars and talking dolls from Christmases past all over again! 

Y is for Yearly Traditions

Hanging stockings is a tradition all by itself so what better place to hide personalized ornaments, homemade coupon books or other fun “family tradition” gifts!  Another idea is to have each member of the family write a little note of encouragement or gratitude to each of the other family members and tuck the notes in each stocking. Gifts from the heart are the best gifts of all and it’s never too late to start a new tradition!

Z is for Zany Gifts

If your kid’s stocking is getting too “practical” or “educational”, mix in one or two off-the-wall or unexpected surprises like light saber chopsticks, this nose-shaped eyeglasses holder or some other family-specific inside joke. 

There you have it – the Stocking Stuffer ABC’s!  Next time won’t you sing with me?

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Your A-Z Guide: The Best Kids' Stocking Stuffer Ideas title on green banner and cartoon stocking background

Spotlight on School Supplies: Hole Reinforcement Labels

Spotlight on School Supplies Hole Reinforcement Label sheets

Heroic Halos of Helpfulness

My mom was right. Good things do come in small packages! If I remember correctly, she was referring to me, not office products, but I think the expression works here, too.

I never thought I’d have such strong feelings for tiny, donut-shaped stickers but I just love these little guys.

It’s so frustrating when a child puts their heart and soul into a detailed notebooking page only to have it torn out of their binder by a sibling. Or worse yet, on more than one occasion, my kids have dropped a binder rendering the holes of many pages useless all at once.

Never fear… hole reinforcement labels are here!!

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How to Make a History Timeline

how to make a history timeline fold-out pages

Well, it’s about time!

After years of historical knowledge going in one ear and out the other, I’ve finally found a system for learning and retaining history that works for me (and my kids, too)!

One of the key elements of this system is making timelines. (The other elements that work for us, notebooking and using chronological curricula, will be addressed in future posts).

I believe one of the main reasons I disliked and couldn’t retain history was because I’m an “overall picture” kind of gal and I had never been given the big picture of history – only out-of-order chunks. I memorized names and dates for tests and filled in the blanks on my worksheets and even did fun projects. But, to my frustration (as a child) and embarrassment (as an adult), I retained very little information about the history of our world.

I don’t even like playing Trivial Pursuit for fear that my historical ignorance will be exposed! 

(oops… the truth is out now)

Thankfully, the history curricula that we’ve used so far (Tapestry of Grace Primer and Story of the World) have both suggested creating timelines to keep track of historical people and events. 

Continue reading “How to Make a History Timeline”

Spotlight on School Supplies: Colored Index Cards

spotlight on school supplies colored index cards

Bright, Edgy and Surprisingly Useful

I never expected to use colored index cards – or any index cards for that matter – in our homeschool. I bought some in a weak moment as I drooled walked down the aisles of our local office supply store.

Side Note: If you read this blog for any length of time you’ll probably notice my fondness for office supplies. I’m not ashamed.  I’ll shout it from the rooftops…. “I LOVE OFFICE SUPPLIES!!!”  So many options! So many ways to be organized! So much potential in every package! 

*happy sigh*

Sorry, where was I? 

Oh. Right. Colored index cards. 

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Spotlight on School Supplies: Magnetic Whiteboard

spotlight on school supplies magnetic whiteboard background with markers and eraser

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Never Bored with Your Board

My apologies to any chalkboard aficionados out there, but now that we’ve used whiteboards I’ll never go back to chalkboards. Just imagine…..

  • No chalk-covered toddlers
  • No chalk dust in the air and in the carpet
  • No ear-piercing, goose-bump-causing SKREEEEEECH from wandering nails


Don’t get me wrong – I like a cute & trendy menu chalkboard in the kitchen just as much as the next Pinterest-perusing mom.  And, of course, chalk still has its place for some activities (that place being outside). But for our day-to-day schoolwork we needed a different solution.

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Spotlight on School Supplies: Laminator

spotlight on homeschool supplies laminator with laminated printable

Melting Hearts of Homeschool Moms Everywhere

One of the first memories I have of my early homeschool research is reading a handful of homeschooler’s blogs and noticing the deep affection they all had for their laminators. 

I recall thinking this was strange.  

Yet now, here I am years later, adding my voice to the chorus of homeschool moms singing an Ode to My Laminator. 

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Homeschooling with… Aluminum Foil?

It’s been noted by some that I act a little like Dory from Finding Nemo and Finding Dory fame. I guess they think I’m a little forgetful and kind of distractible at times but I don’t really thi….

LOOK! Something shiny!!!

It’s… aluminum foil!!

I knew foil could keep my casseroles covered, among other household uses. And once I had kids and started scouring the interwebs for craft ideas, I came across a lot of foil-related art projects for the littles.

But, as it turns out, aluminum foil has been a surprisingly versatile supply for our homeschool studies, too!

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Top 5 Must-Have Homeschool Supplies

top 5 must have homeschool supplies banner on paperclip background

Besides the basics (you know…. pencils, paper, chocolate, etc.), I’ve found there are a handful of relatively inexpensive items that have made our school days go much more smoothly. 

No, these supplies aren’t going to teach for you or do your laundry. But I do sometimes feel a little like super mom when my Meltdown Radar* goes off and I swoop down with a sheet of Hole Reinforcement Labels and save the day. 

Continue reading “Top 5 Must-Have Homeschool Supplies”