Under $50

Under $50

Not too low, not too high – gifts for a medium budget.

Kid Pix Deluxe 3D 
4 & Up

What it is: Kid Pix is a title that has been around for just about as long as software for kids has. The latest installment, Kid Pix Deluxe 3D, does not disappoint with its amazing array of creativity tools.
Why we like it: Younger users will need some handholding to get started, but if kids set off with the spirit of exploration, they’ll find lots to tap into their creative juices. The art tools include backgrounds, stamps, drawing and painting tools (both 2D and 3D), and lots of different patterns to choose from. To make animations, there are simple motion paths that can be created visually. Players can also use their computer’s camera and microphone to put themselves into the video.

SceneIt Harry Potter
13 & Up

What it is: You’ve probably heard of JK Rowling’s Harry Potter and the movies his book series inspired. Quiz your knowledge of the movies with this DVD-centered game.

Why we like it: Besides testing your knowledge of Harry Potter trivia, the game exercises memory muscles and greases social interaction, making for a spellbinding evening for those steeped in the storylines and details.



Mystery Case Files
All Ages

What it is:  Fascinating point-and-click adventure for Wii that has detailed and suspenseful graphics and an easy pace. Collect objects and solve puzzles as you try to solve a mystery for your client, Mr. Malgrave.
Why we like it: Younger players will love this mystery. The drama and suspense is palpable, and parents will be blindsided by how great a game this is.

3 & Up

What it is: These two new and unusual puppet creations are enormously inviting in their design and construction.
Why we like it: Both Twickety and Blueper will motivate children to compose original and creative stories to tell to their friends and family members (if they can get these puppets away from the adults long enough to do so).

Lazer Stunt Chaser
4 & Up

What it is: Remote control car with lazer guided steering and light-up features on the car itself. It comes with a jump and a clear, cone-shaped spin ramp.
Why we like it: Kids loved it. With all that this toy includes at under $50, it’s quite a bargain compared to other remote control cars of this type.

Super Scribblenauts
10 & Up

What it is: Every level of Super Scribblenauts is a puzzle featuring the main character Maxwell. To solve the puzzle, players type in an object that will be placed in the scene or played with by Maxwell.Super Scribblenauts adds a new dimension to this gameplay with the addition of adjectives. Now, not only can you create a robot and a zombie, you can make a robot zombie. 

Why we like it: With Super Scribblenauts, it’s clear that the game designers focused on what was working in the original title, while eliminating most of what wasn’t. A fun game for older siblings to play with younger ones.

Jungle Jam
2 to 6 Years

What it is: B. Toys has taken everyday percussion instruments and given them an original and fun jungle twist. Inside the large leopard-faced conga drum with a 10-bell tambourine lid are several more instruments, including an antelope slide whistle, a hornbill water whistle, two giraffe maracas, a crocodile cabasa-clacker, a twister hand drum and two snake drumsticks.
Why we like it: Jungle Jam inspired longer lasting interest in our children testers than any other recent musical instrument set. This will be a big hit during family gatherings over the holidays.

Recycled Cardboard Zoo
4 & Up

What it is: This is a great activity for the whole family to do together on a rainy day. From the fuzzy zebras to the life-like aquarium, this zoo will keep your little animals busy for hours.
Why we like it: For a family who loves to color and create, this set is a dream come true. Our little architect was in charge of putting together the animals’ habitats, our artists colored, and our designers put it all together. There is something for everyone in the Recycled Cardboard Zoo.

9 & Up

What it is: A graphic novel of sorts for tweens by Brian Selznick.
Why we like it:The central theme of finding inspiration for wonder in museums is a fitting subject for such a format; for the reader, much of the wonder comes from Selznick’s loving depictions of dioramas, wonder cabinets, and artifacts. The story and characters–both the ones rendered in text and the ones rendered in drawings-are warm and engaging.

Wii Party
All Ages

What it is: Packaged in this one Wii disk are more than 80 games-ranging from whacky racers such as Derby Dash (little Mii characters racing ponies) and Flap Hurdles (Mii characters in a footrace leaping rolling barrels and logs) to more traditional sports-like games such as Goal Getter (Mii characters do fast-paced soccer goal shots) and Quicker Chipper (golfing Miis chip up to the pin).
Why we like it: This may not have much educational content, other than learning about your competitive side, but there’s something to be said for good not-so-old-fashioned, family fun, which is exactly where Wii Party specializes.

Block Builders
5 & Up

What it is: Within the box are six cubes that look identical. When you pick them up, you will discover that each hinged block opens up to form a unique configuration. The fifty Challenge Cards in three degrees of difficulty show the shape to be built and the number of blocks to use. The solution is provided in an exploded view on back of the card. Each card also includes an architectural term, style, fact, or noteworthy building.
Why we like it: One could spend joyful hours opening, closing, rotating, flipping, and stacking the blocks into endless structures. They serve as a new way to challenge builders.

Hexbug Nano Elevation Habitat Set
3 & Up

What it is: A racing track that comes with too Hexbug Nanos, little robotic “bugs” that vibrate and move around almost like a real bug would. The “habitat” consists of four hexagonal platforms, a ramp, many “track” pieces, little stop/go signs, and stilts to hold up the second level.
Why we like it: The best aspect of the Hexbug Habitat sets is that each piece is interchangeable. This permits innumerable ways to set up the track, and if one piece is lost or misplaced, the track is still just as usable.

All Ages

What it is: A game for Xbox Kinect. This remarkable videogame blends pet simulation with amusing minigames to create a really great experience for kids 12 and under.
Why we like it: It’s difficult to grasp how realistic and fun this game is without seeing it firsthand. Its realism and interactivity is a hint of where videogaming is heading in the no-so-distant future.

Chanukah Lights
5 & Up

What it is: A gorgeous and festive pop-up book authored by Michael Rosen with illustrations and pop-ups created by Robert Sabuda.
Why we like it: The beauty and simplicity of the story of Chanukah is perfectly complemented by Robert Sabuda’s signature style of pure white pop-ups that soar beyond the boundaries of the page. His clever use of materials, embossed textures, and intricate die-cuts add additional dimension. Unexpected details will delight readers: finding the gold flames in each scene, observing the monkeys climbing on a rooftop, or discovering the laundry hanging from the windows of a tenement building. This is Sabuda at his best.