Some dollar-store items, such as toys and power cords, just aren't worth buying despite their super-cheap prices.
Kids love to collect things. Whether they're amassing an army of action figures or piling on armfuls of bracelets, the more the merrier seems to be their philosophy. Below is a glimpse of a few cheap toy collectibles appearing on wish lists of kids we know. Some seem more like girls' toys and others like toys for boys, but you'll know what appeals to the intended recipient. Cheap toy collectibles are inevitably a big hit because you're buying something you know the child really likes, either as an addition to a growing collection or the start of one.
Cheap Toy Collectibles Buying Guide
Squinkies (starting at $9/pack of 16) are tiny pencil-toppers encased in gumball-sized plastic spheres; the creatures inside the bubble range from babies to princesses to animals. Another toy collectible, the Squinkies playsets (starting at $12) double as candy-style dispensers, operated by inserting special plastic coins included with each set.
Movie action figures have long been, and continue to be, big draws for elementary-school-aged theater-goers. Toy collectibles for your young movie-hero groupie include the Toy Story 3 Action Figure Buddy Pack (starting at $8), an Ironman Action Figure of Mark III (starting at $10), or a Star Wars The Saga Legend 3.75 Inch Action Figure of a Clone Trooper (starting at $8).
Grade-schoolers love stockpiling cheap collectible toys like Squinkies and Toy Story action figures, hauling them out when friends come over and regaling dinner guests with the stats on each piece in their collection. What's hard to determine from toy reviews is how much entertainment value these cheap toys for kids actually have. Are they fun to play with or just fun to talk about and display on a shelf? Toy reviews of Iron Man action figures on Toys R Us indicate both uses keep youngsters and adults(!) happy, although the made-to-play camp seems to dominate.
Toy collectibles have some inherent limitations. They tend to be small or come with little pieces, so you don't want to leave them lying about when toddlers are nearby. Moreover, notes a toy review of Squinkies on the Walmart site, these little items are prone to being misplaced. They also have minimal educational value, and their durability is questionable. That said, kids who hoard them can't seem to get enough, and while they may not teach teamwork, they can teach children about trade and barter.Back to top »
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After the holiday extravaganza, take our February challenge and make this month a no-buy month. Purchase only the bare necessities and soon you'll see the savings grow.