Best Toys Under $50

From Toy Stores in metro Detroit and Ann Arbor

Bring all the smiles but none of the pain to the wallet this year by shopping local. Use this guide to help you.

By Mervit Sam

A tip for gift givers this holiday season: shop early and shop local. Waiting until the last minute will only turn up limited options as every part of the consumer goods supply chain seems to have been impacted by production and shipping delays. Local shops are known for their friendly, personal service — they can help you discover unique items and new toy makers. They are also the go-to for all of the classic games and toys that have stood the test of time, or been reintroduced to a new generation.

For this roundup, we kept the budget under a $50 price point, but there are plenty of options available beyond that if you are looking for more of a big ticket item. On the other hand, there are also lots of fun smaller items at lower price points that make great add-ons or stocking stuffers.

In the season of giving, it’s a good reminder to have extra patience and understanding. If an item you’re looking for is not available, the nice thing to remember about shopping local is that personalized service where they are happy to offer up other suggestions.

Where We Shopped

Find holiday gift ideas for:

Infant -1 year

Ebba, Cuddlers Pocko Teether

A soft, sweet lovey with a doughnut shaped teether! $16.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Ebba, My First Pet Stuffed Animals and Carrier Set 

Little ones will love playing with the soft stuffed dog, cat, bunny and bird, each with a special interactive sound feature like a rattle or a squeaker. It even includes an adorable little house with a handle – perfect for carrying their new buddies anywhere they go. $29.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Douglas Baby, Demitri Dragon Blanki Lovey 

​​Wrap your little one in the comfort of this cuddly Blanki Lovey with its soft, muslin print, made of 100% cotton and exclusive to Douglas. $32.99

Available at: Toyology Toys and Mudpuddles

Hape, Deluxe Magic Touch Piano 

This beautiful wooden piano has 11 colorful keys that make real piano sounds when they’re tapped. Babies can play along to classic music or create their own tunes, at two different volume settings. $39.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Melissa & Doug, Hungry Pelican 

​You can feed four plush sea creatures that crinkle, rattle and squeak into the pelican’s squeaker beak and then pull the food out of the pelican’s belly. $35.99 

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Manhattan Toy, Manhattan Ball 

A popular infant activity toy to take wherever you go! $16.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Melissa & Doug, Poke-A-Dot! Pet Families 

Interactive board book, name the families, poke the dots! $7.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, as well as various others also available at Toyology Toys and Mudpuddles

Jellycat, Odell Octopus Activity Toy 

​Adorable plush octopus with glittery legs that crinkles and has a plastic loop to attach to a stroller or car seat. $29.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Fat Brain Toy Co., Dimpl Stack 

​Five silicone bubbles that have a textured pattern on top that can be popped over and over. The graduated sizes can be stacked and nested. $19.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys, Learning Gizmos and Mudpuddles

Lalaboom Toys, 5 in 1 Snap Beads 

Discover the world of the forest with this set of educational beads and accessories. Large educational and evolutionary beads, of different shapes, colors and textures to develop fine motor skills and cognitive abilities of your child step by step. $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

1-3 years

Schylling, Kangaroo Jack in the Box 

A classic jack in the box with a unique difference, the baby Kangaroo comes out of the pouch to become a finger puppet. $24.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Epoch, Kidoozie Funtime Tractor 

Tractor comes with a farmer and five animals that all make realistic sounds when placed in their proper seat! Press the funnel to hear the engine and see the tractor pull ahead by itself! $39.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Quercetti, FantaColor Baby 

Baby makes 3D Mosaics with buttons. $26.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Hape, Stacking Music Set 

Children can stack the differently sized blocks in any way they see fit, exploring music and shapes as they play. $34.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Mudpuddles

Hape, Rocket Ball Air Stacker 

Take stacking to a whole new level with this fantastic air stacker! Place the ball in the base, insert a clear tube and turn on the fan, then stack other tubes and see the ball flying to the top! $29.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys

Hape, DJ Mix & Spin Studio 

Help your little ones spin their first tunes with this portable DJ studio! $39.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Hape, Pepe & Friends Pepe Sound Stacker 

A cute and colorful stacking puppy who sweetly woofs when put together. $14.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Play Monster, Mirari Pop Pop Piano 

When children press a key on the piano, they not only hear a sound, they see a ball pop up! $34.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys, Learning Gizmos

Hape, Best Bugs Magnetic Maze 

​Wooden maze with a magnetic wand that moves colored marbles to their matching color bugs.  $24.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Melissa & Doug, Teddy Wear 

​Plush teddy bear with removable overalls and shoes that allow you to practice buttoning, snapping, zipping, tying, and fastening. $27.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

WOW Toys, Flip ‘n’ Tip Fred 

A battery-free recycling truck toy featuring a push & go motor, tipping levers and a revolving crusher. $49.99

Available at: Toyology Toys (other models also available, including at Genuine Toy Co.)

Peaceable Kingdom, Get Up for Pup 

The active hungry puppy game for you and your 2-year-old. Jump, toss and run to feed the hungry pups! $19.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Quercetti PlayBio Spiral Tower 

The new marble run for small children, Quercetti Spiral Tower lets you build high towers and launch colorful balls with rattles that chime as they go down the ramp. The PlayBio line is made of wooden fibers and plastics that come from certified eco-friendly forests. $23

Available at: Mudpuddles (another version also available at Toyology Toys)

3-5 years

Creative Kids, Sense & Grow Sensory Play Table 

Includes sand, stretch sand, slime, molding clay, water gel beads, play foam, and stress ball and fold out play table. $29.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Popular Playthings, Magnetic Mix or Match Vehicles – Construction 

Magnetically builds 100+ different combinations. $29.99

Available at: Toyology Toys, Genuine Toy Co.

Fat Brain Toy Co., Timber Tots Tree House 

A portable dollhouse that looks like a tree full of friendly critters. $49.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Melissa & Doug, Blue’s Clues & You! Tickety Magnetic Clock 

Learn to tell time, match shapes, and identify activities, feelings, and more with the wooden Tickety Tock Clock from Blue’s Clues & You! $23.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Melissa & Doug, Shaker Beginner Craft Kit 

This confetti-covered safari animals beginner craft kit is a fun and easy introduction to crafting. $14.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Melissa & Doug, Paw Patrol Pup Pack Backpack 

Suit up for PAW Patrol missions with the sturdy kid-sized Pup Pack backpack with tools and accessories to save the day! $39.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Blue Orange Games, Giant Pop-up Pancake Monster Game 

Feed the Giant Monster his favorite food, but be careful, you never know when he’ll bite back!  Be the first to stack all your pancakes onto his tongue without the Monster biting you. $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Valtech, Magna-Tiles 25-piece Animals Playsets-Jungle, Safari, or Arctic 

​Magnetic shapes in clear colors that you can use to build an environment for 4-5 animals that have moving parts. All Magna-Tiles sets are compatible for even more building fun. $44.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Melissa & Doug, Keys & Cars Rescue Garage 

​Classic wooden garage that comes with 3 wooden emergency vehicles. The garage doors unlock with the matching color keys that can be attached to the handle so they won’t get lost. $32.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Usborne, Shine-A-LIght Books: The Human Body 

Interactive and educational books children will ask to read over and over again. Shine a flashlight behind the pages and discover what else there is to see! $12.99

Other titles available in collection

Available at: Mudpuddles

Klutz JR, My Dino Finger Puppets 

Book and craft kit that makes 3 finger puppets. More than 80 pieces. Includes air dry clay, finger puppet tubes, punch out pieces and clay size guide. $16.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Quercetti Peg Brite Original 

Allows your child to create bright mosaic designs with pegs. $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Quercetti Super Saxoflute 

Build a musical instrument with this 24-piece set. Includes 2 mouthpieces, 2 trumpet ends and twisting tubes. $16.95

Available at: Mudpuddles, Toyology Toys

African Dwarf Frog Biosphere 

Everything you need complete with two frogs! Super low maintenance and great for kids of all ages. $44.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Popular Playthings, Monkey Match 

The fun way to learn simple matching! The monkey spins around and magically points to the correct answer. $19.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

5-7 years
Ealry Elementary

Gamewright, Outfoxed! 

Move around the board to gather clues, then use the special evidence scanner to rule out suspects. $19.99

Available at: Mudpuddles, Genuine Toy Co.

Creative Kids, Sense & Grow, Magnetic Textured Tangram Puzzles 

Promote sensory development with a product that will provide endless entertainment. $17.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Exploding Kittens, Throw Throw Burrito 

A combination of a card game and dodgeball where players go head-to-head collecting cards, earning points, and throwing squishy toy burritos at one another. $32.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys

Fat Brain Toy Co., Jixelz 

Build using precision-cut micro jigsaw pieces. Follow the instructions to transform the tiny pixel puzzle pieces into vibrant designs. Kits ranging from $9.99-$39.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys

Hasbro, Pretty Pretty Princess 

​The classic board game from the ‘90’s is back! Play dress up with your friends as you race to gather your set of fancy jewels. When you have all your jewelry plus the crown, you win the game! $19.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Marky Sparky, Doinkit Darts 

Enjoy all the fun of darts, but with magnets completely enclosed safely inside. They won’t harm walls (or hurt children)! $29.99

Available at: Toyology Toys, Mudpuddles

Retevis, Kids Walkie Talkies / Flashlight Sky Blue 

This 22-channel walkie-talkie features clear, crisp sound, with a keypad lock to prevent accidental changing of the channel. And, there is no limit to the number of people connected – as long as the walkie-talkies are on the same channel! $29.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Trendtech Brands, Bluetooth Karaoke Microphone & Light-Up LED Speakers 

Wireless microphone, and Bluetooth speaker that connects effortlessly to your smartphone, or tablet, the Sing Along Mic is compatible with android and Apple operating systems. $49.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

The Happy Puzzle Company, The Genius Square 

The aim of each of the 62,208 possible puzzles is to complete the square using the nine colored shapes, once the seven ‘blockers’ have been positioned. There may be times when it seems impossible, but there will ALWAYS be at least one solution… and that’s why it’s called The Genius Square! $26.99

Available at: Toyology Toys, Mudpuddles

Days of Wonder, Ticket to Ride First Journey 

The perfect introduction to the Ticket to Ride game series. Players collect train cards, claim routes on the map and try to connect the cities shown on their tickets to achieve victory. $36

Available at: Mudpuddles

8-10 years
Late Elementary

SmartLab Toys, Tiny Baking! 

As seen on popular YouTube channels, bake miniature versions of your favorite recipes using your Tiny Baking! Set. Make minuscule muffins, pint-sized pies and much more. Other Tiny STEAM based kits available like Tiny Robot!, Tiny Science! and Tiny Ice Cream! $19.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys, Genuine Toy Co., Mudpuddles

PlaySTEAM, Atmospheric Turbo Racer 

Build your own air-powered race car! Learn about science while having fun. $30

Available at: Mudpuddles

Science to the Max, Big Bag of Science 

The kit comes with the key tools and safe chemicals to get your young scientist having fun with science right out of the bag to do 65+ experiments! $39.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Canal Toys, Studio Creator 2 Video Maker 

Create amazing videos using the included LED multicolored ring light, adjustable tripod, and green screen. Share your content on your favorite apps like TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. $39.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Stomp Rocket, Stomp Racers 

Ready, set, stomp! The ultimate in race car performance! Race to the finish with 100% kid-powered race cars. $32.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Fun in Motion Toys, Wandini 

Magic LED levitation wand. Easily perform dazzling and mesmerizing light shows. $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Starlux Games, Glow Battle Knights Family Pack 

An indoor/outdoor light up sword game for groups. $49.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

My Audio Life, My Audio Pets 

Tiny Bluetooth speakers that put out surprisingly powerful sound, available in a variety of animal shapes, including unicorn and dragon. $24.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Hog Wild, Power Poppers 

Great for indoor or outdoor fun. Available in different sizes and styles like camo and unicorn. Each comes with a set of soft foam balls for shooting targets or at each other. $19.99-$29.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

Thames & Kosmos, My Robotic Pet Tumbling Hedgehog 

Use the 172 building pieces to construct your own adorable robotic pet hedgehog! $39.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

PlayMonster, Tinkineer’s Marbleocity Mini Coaster Maker Kit 

Build an amazing marble machine and discover the science behind the fun! $29.99

Available at: Mudpuddles

10+ years
Tweens & Teens

Klutz, Sew Mini Treats 

More than 18 food plushies to stitch and stuff. $21.99

Available at: Mudpuddles

Fun in Motion Toys, Spin Balls LED POI Kit 

A set of soft glowing LED POI Spin Balls attached to adjustable leashes. Spin them around in rhythmical and geometric patterns to create a visual effect. $24.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys

Ravensburger, Locked Cellar Escape Puzzle 

​​Piece together the 759 pieces and solve the riddles. $20.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, as well as other versions at Genuine Toy Co.

Diamond Dotz, Dot ‘N’ Frame Hug A Pug with Frame 

An amazing new craft where stunning designs are created with tiny “Diamond” like facets. $43.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, as well as various designs also available at Toyology Toys, Genuine Toy Co.

Schylling LAVA, ColorMax Lava Lamp 

Lava Lamps have continued to captivate for more than 50 years. They produce a soft warm light and mesmerizing visuals of ever-changing, moving wax, gently rising up and down. $34.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy, Toyology Toys, Mudpuddles, Genuine Toy Co.

Blue Orange, Fin Gears 

​These three magnetic rings spin around your fingers to perform tricks, stick to surfaces, play games with friends, and relieve stress! Come in three different sizes. $15.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys, Genuine Toy Co., Mudpuddles

Ann Williams, Felt Succulent & Mini Terrariums Craft Kits 

​Bloomfield-based, women-owned company lets you bing in the outdoors with these lifelike felt succulent kits. All faux materials means no water and no mess! $19.99 

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys

  Gamewright, Forbidden Island 

Dare to discover Forbidden Island! Join a team of fearless adventurers on a do-or-die mission to capture four sacred treasures from the ruins of this perilous paradise. $19.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

PlaySTEAM, Water Powered Rocket Science Kit Set 

Become a rocket scientist. $30

Available at: Mudpuddles

Kids with Special Needs
All Ages

Store owners encourage having a conversation with them about your child’s specific needs to help you find the best options for your child. 

Ravensburger ThinkFun, Moon Spinner 

It’s a fun twisty rotating brain teaser that is fun to scramble and challenging to solve and is one of the best gifts you can buy for kids who like smart games and a challenge — all while using fine motor skills. $11.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Fat Brain Toy Co., Squigz 

The soothing feel of these pieces and suction cup popping sound offers opportunities for both short and long periods of open-ended play. $49.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

TEDCO Toys, Pin Point Art 

Promotes relaxation, relieves stress and enhances inner peace. Just plain fun! $19.99

Available at: Whistle Stop Hobby and Toy

Fat Brain, Dimpl 

​Although it was originally designed with babies in mind, this TikTok sensation is now very popular with kids of all ages and is approved by the National Autism Resources! $13.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys, Learning Gizmos

The Original Toy Company, Pop-Up Ice Cream Truck 

Press the colorful ice cream cones and they will bob up and down, press harder and they jump out. $15.99

Available at: Genuine Toy Co.

Schylling, Speak and Spell 

​This retro educational toy from the ‘80s helps your child learn more than 200 commonly misspelled words with multiple play modes and levels of difficulty. Great for children with learning disabilities or anyone who just needs a little reinforcement! $34.99

Available at: Funky Monkey Toys, Genuine Toy Co.

Lumieworld, LumiPets Night Light Companion Owl 

Soother nightlights offer a gentle and calming glow for children of all ages. $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Crazy Aaron’s Hide Inside – Emotions 

Look for the spontaneous expressions amongst the smiling faces in the clear putty. You will be sure to be captivated with the challenge of discovering them all! $10.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Fat Brain Toy Co., Dimpl Pops Deluxe 

The largest dimpl ever — the squishy silicone bubbles are just waiting to be popped, unpopped and popped again! $24.99

Available at: Toyology Toys

Enter Now!

Win a $250 Gift Card from a Metro Detroit Toy Store

To spread even more joy this holiday season, we’ve giving one lucky winner a chance to win a $250 gift card from one of the local toy stores mentioned in this gift guide. Enter the form below by Monday, Dec. 6, 2021, for your chance to win.