There's plenty of kids books for under $10 at Kmart and Big W. One standout is The Book That Never Ends. Similar to a Choose Your Own Adventure, it directs the reader to make decisions and then find objects throughout the book, however, the instructions keep the reader going around in circles. Frustrating but brilliant.
The title says it all. Find it at Big W. Image by Jade Jackson.
Alphaprint books, from $6 - Big W Alphaprints books feature textured images created out of everyday objects. They work well as discussion starters, finding objects, counting and vocabulary builders. You'll find them at Kmart and Big W ranging from $6-$10.
Alphaprints offer textured images, fun for kids. Image by Jade Jackson.
Dart Board, $6 - Big W A classic game of skill that both teenagers (recommended for 14 years) and adults can play together. I remember my first dartboard kept me occupied for months as I'd rush home from school each day to play it.
Board Games and Card Games Rummy-O, $10 - Target
There's a resurgence in board games being cool again. Rummy-O is my favourite game; similar to poker but with tiled numbers. I learnt to play as a young teen and still love it as an adult. It's easy to learn and kids have a chance at beating adults which they'll love.
Rummy is a game playable by adults and kids together. Image by Jade Jackson.
Twister Card Game, $10 - Big W.
A new version of the original classic that can be played anywhere. This time you have to balance cards on various parts of your body. If you prefer the floor version, you can pick one up for $5 at Big W.
Card versions of popular board games are easy gifts. Image by Jade Jackson.
Travel Games, $3.50 - The Reject Shop Guess You, Toppling Tower, Balance Chairs and Tensation; all travel versions of popular board games, perfect for the summer holidays. When I was 11, travelling the world with my mum, I had something similar which was always a hit at Youth Hostels.
There's a huge range of travel-sized board games at The Reject Shop. Image by Jade Jackson.
For Babies Let's Pretend Fun Toy Smartphone (6 months), $8 - Kmart
Apart from dangly toys, there are a few interesting toys for young babies. However there is (and I hesitated to include this) a Toy Smartphone (6 months) that emits different sounds when you push the app-like buttons, however (and this is why I did) it can also record your child's voice and play it back to them, which is invaluable for the future of podcasting.
All toys were available at the time of writing and prices are based on regular retail prices (i.e not weekly specials). They can be bought in-store from standard retailers. Check individual sites for opening hours:
Wow Jade! This is an awesome article. Books, games, outdoor activities. Are you an educator? (If not, kudos to you.) Like you, I seriously hesitated at the toy phone, but I accept that podcasts are practical and intellectual uses for a phone, and the future is teaching safe and beneficial uses for technology. I'm off to read your adult gift suggestions now.