12 best stocking fillers for kids that will be loved long after Christmas

Our selection includes fillers for football fanatics, budding bakers and more  (iStock/The Independent)
Our selection includes fillers for football fanatics, budding bakers and more (iStock/The Independent)

You may have spent so long sorting the gifts under the tree that you’ve forgotten all about one of Christmas’s longstanding traditions… the stocking, of course.

Whether you have a classic large sock shape dangling above the fireplace, a sack at the end of your child’s bed, or a little hamper of gifts waiting for them by their bedroom door, there’s no better way to start the big day than wading through a bulging stocking.

There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to choosing the right stocking stuffers, but we believe a balanced mix is key, particularly when you have a younger audience to impress. However, we opted for fillers which are small in size and relatively low in price, with many costing less than £10 and taking next to no time to wrap, too.

Stocking fillers have an association with inexpensive yet “cheery” guff, but we wanted to avoid one-off gimmicks, steer clear of single-use plastic and give yet another meaningless toy a wide berth. We wanted to only recommend things that could be used again and again, were good quality, and in many cases have considered sustainability.

We suggest you tick off the classics such as socks and smellies, but also leave some space for festive-inspired gifts like the Christmas Jellycat (£33.95, which will add some yuletide spirit, and don’t forget to include something that’ll keep them occupied while they wait for the Christmas lunch feast. Our round up has something to suit everyone, from football fanatics to burgeoning bakers.

How we tested

The world really is your oyster when it comes to stocking fillers, making it somewhat tricky to test in a pragmatic order. Other than size and price, we examined each product ourselves for quality and ease of use, before letting loose with our mini testers (aged four, six and 12). We were looking for fillers that piqued interest before using, whether wearing or playing with the gift in question.

The best stocking fillers for children for 2022 are:

  • Best overall – Ideal Rummikub mini pouch: £12.99,

  • Best bath smellies – Mini U cloud bath bombs set of three: £8.99,

  • Best edible stocking filler – M&S Percy Pig blondies baking mix: £8,

  • Best for Christmas cheer – Christmas Jellycat medium bashful bunny soft toy with xmas hugs jumper: £33.95,

  • Best for creative kids – Janod creative kit scratch art animals of the world: £6.99,

  • Best winter warmer – Polarn O Pyret fairisle merino wool kids socks: £10,

  • Best for older kids – Papier joy 2023 diary: £25,

  • Best plastic-free stocking filler – Sweet Dreams bendies reusable silicone straws: £5.99,

  • Best portable game – Smart Games Gooal!: £9.99,

  • Best for recycled materials – Small Stuff dinosaur orange boys patch gloves: £10,

  • Best accessory – Stych carousel charm bead bracelet: £10,

  • Best practical stocking filler – Cuddledry cuddletwist hair wrap bamboo towel: £10.99,

Ideal Rummikub mini pouch

Christmas is the perfect time for the young and old to learn a new game, and if you’re yet to add Rummikub to your repertoire then this “pocket pouch” addition is a no brainer. That’s not to say brains aren’t required, quite the opposite, as this number-crunching game is all about tile manipulation, which our 12-year-old tester soon excelled at.

For up to four players, with a recommended age of seven years plus, a game will take around 20 minutes, as players take it in turns to lay down tiles in runs of the same colour, or groups of the same number. Compact, addictive and a family favourite since 1978, battle it out on Christmas day to build up an appetite before luncheon.

Buy now £12.99,

Mini U cloud bath bombs set of three

Enhance the most magical time of the year with these colourful bath bombs from kids’ bath and body brand, Mini U. Presented smartly in a box with golden rope, these will make a great addition to a kids’ stocking filler but an even better add-on to bath time! Coming as a set of three, drop the cloud-shaped bomb into the bath and watch it explode with the colours of the rainbow. It’s gentle on kids’ precious skin and everything in the Mini U range is vegan, cruelty-free and free from gluten, soy and dairy. Plus, there are no artificial nasties.

Buy now £8.99,

M&S Percy Pig blondies baking mix

Just in time for Christmas, M&S has partnered with Bottled Baking Co., which specialises in hand-filled, pre-measured giftable glass bottles, filled with all the dry ingredients needed to make delicious baking treats. A perfect introduction to baking, inside the bottle is a raspberry and white chocolate blondie mix with Percy piglets, just simply add butter and eggs, mix and cook in the oven and you’ll have freshly baked goods… making a welcome change to Christmas pudding! We love that you can re-use the glass bottle, too.

Buy now £8.00,

Christmas Jellycat medium bashful bunny soft toy with xmas hugs jumper

A Jellycat toy never fails; soft, cuddly and the ultimate bedtime buddy, it’s something all three of our testers have grown up with. But there’s only one way to make a Jellycat even cuter… and that’s by donning a knitted Christmas jumper! Available in four soft colours, if you’re gifting a sack or stocking we recommend having this lovable lop-eared bunny poking out the top. We’re sure this huggable toy will become part of your child’s Christmas celebrations for years to come.

Buy now £33.95,

Janod creative kit scratch art animals of the world

Everyone needs a window of calm on Christmas day and this creative art kit from Janod is just the tonic. Containing five solid cardboard sheets, use the wooden scraper supplied to etch away as a tiger, lizard, elephant, and parrots are revealed. Keeping our 12-year-old tester engaged, it’s a tranquil activity away from the chaos. Watching the pictures come to life with colour feels somewhat enchanting at the most magical time of year, and our tester couldn’t wait to show them off with pride.

Buy now £6.99,

Polarn O Pyret fairisle merino wool kids socks

A stocking filler favourite for all ages, socks are a practical gift, but thanks to Swedish childrenswear brand Polarn O. Pyret they’re stylish, too. The soft merino wool blend doesn’t itch, is soft on precious skin, and they’re breathable which keeps stinky feet at bay. While Fair Isle is associated with winter, our mini tester didn’t want to take these off, so we think they have all-year-round appeal. Available in pink or green, from four months to 12 years, these winter warmers are the ultimate treat for kids’ feet.

Buy now £10.00,

Papier joy 2023 diary

Looking to give your child the gift of organisation this Christmas? Well look no further than Papier’s joy 2023 diary. One for older kids, this A5 diary allows them to not only fill out weekly and monthly plans, but also put pen to paper on their hopes, goals and to-dos for the next year, which will give them a sense of ownership.

Running from December 2022 until January 2024, stationery buffs will appreciate the smooth paper pages, quality hardback, and ribbon marker; there are eight colours to choose from, but best of all you can personalise for free.

Buy now £25.00,

Sweet Dreams bendies reusable silicone straws

In a bid to reduce single-use plastic, bendies reusable silicone straws make a super sustainable stocking filler. In a palm-size pouch – choose from four playful designs – you’ll find a straw cleaner and two reusable silicone straws: one a chunky straw, perfect for smoothies and milkshakes and an angled thin straw for water or soft drinks. Kids will enjoy sucking up their Christmas tipple, but beyond the big day they’re perfect for on-the-go drinking.

Buy now £5.99,

Smart Games gooal!

Stimulate those cognitive skills with this magnetic puzzle game from Smart Games. Kicking off the Christmas day fun, football fans will love passing the ball from player to player as they shoot the winning goal. Recommended for those aged six years plus, there are 48 goal-scoring challenges, with five players and five path pieces to find the scoring solution. Great for independent play, this puzzle is portable so you can play on the move.

Buy now £9.99,

Small Stuff dinosaur orange boys patch gloves

A roarsome stocking filler, these detailed dinosaur gloves are fun yet functional. Made using recycled materials – 50 per cent recycled polyester and 50 per cent recycled acrylic – young dino devotees will show no complaints when layering up with these jolly gloves. Available in two sizes, our four-year-old tester couldn’t wait to wear these on the school run, and the bright orange colour works well for visibility.

Buy now £10.00,

Stych carousel charm bead bracelet

Children are like magpies… they love shiny things! And this whimsical fairy-tale bracelet, from girls’ accessory brand Stych, is the perfect piece of arm candy with cute enamel rainbow, pony and balloon charms set amongst pretty pastel colour beads. The quality of this bracelet is impressive – with our six-year-old tester putting its stretch to the test, as she switched it from left to right arm – and is desperate to wear it to the next school disco. Plus, if you’re struggling for other stocking fillers, there’s a matching necklace, rings and hair accessories too and all are reasonably priced.

Buy now £10.00,

Cuddledry cuddletwist hair wrap bamboo towel

The post swimming lesson or after bath routine, will never be the same thanks to the Cuddletwist hair wrap bamboo towel, making it a gift for kids and parents alike! An everyday stocking filler, the hair wrap is designed for kids aged 18-months plus (but is stretchy enough for adults too), plus there’s the option to personalise. Not only is it practical, but thanks to its quick-drying bamboo material little ones will also feel pampered while saying goodbye to sleeping with sodden hair.

Buy now £10.99,

The verdict: Stocking fillers for children

A gift that’s engaging, educational and portable, and has hours of playing potential we had to award the Rummikub mini pouch with the winning title. Coming in at less than £15 it’s a game kids will play for life. If you’re searching for a younger market then we highly recommend Mini U’s cloud bath bombs, making bath time magical!

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