Black Friday is coming soon, which means that if you haven’t already, it’s time to start picking out toys and games to give your kids this holiday season. Of course, things are looking a bit different this year and we’re all spending more time indoors. So we’ve picked out the best experiences that will nurture your child’s sense of adventure, as well as encouraging them to tell stories — all for under $100.
Marvel Legends Electronic Helmets
Chadwick Boseman’s portrayal of the King of Wakanda in Black Panther resonated with an entire generation of children, making him possibly the most beloved superhero in the Marvel pantheon, not to mention a popular character for dress-up. For the full look you might want to splurge on this Black Panther Marvel Legends helmet, which captures all the detail present in the movie costume, including the lit vibranium highlights. It’s sized for adults so you don’t have to worry about the kids growing out of it — and you can always slip it on yourself when they’re done playing.
If you’re less the king of a secretive African nation and more a genius billionaire playboy philanthropist type, there’s an electronic replica of Iron Man’s helmet that you can snag for the same price. It also features light-up effects — in this case, the eyes — and has a detachable faceplate so you can snap it off when you need a breather, or just want to reenact your favorite arguments between Tony Stark and Steve Rogers.
Star Wars The Child animatronic edition
Season two of The Mandalorian just started and we can’t get enough of Baby Yoda and his antics. And, while Din Djarin does his best to find the little troublemaker a safe place to live, you can give The Child a home with you and your family in the form of this adorable interactive doll. It can blink, cry, laugh and even do “the hand thingie,” though without the telekinetic Force power part of it. It’s just as endearing as the Child on the show, but with the added bonus that it won’t try to eat your stash of unfertilized eggs.
Star Wars Lightsaber Academy
If your kids’ heroics lean more space-bound, get them some training with the signature weapon of the Star Wars universe. The fighting style in the films was based on German sword fighting, so that’s what Lightsaber Academy aims to teach kids through a series of app tutorials that sync up with the lightsaber via Bluetooth. Players can learn various attacks and defenses, play fun mini-games for practice, unlock famous masters like Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader, and even face off against their friends in a personal duel of the fates.
If you’re looking for something a bit more constructive for your kids to do, but also don’t want to deal with thousands of pieces all over your table or floor, LEGO has some mini projects that can wile away the time. The BrickHeadz series of kits are fairly modest in scope but big on being adorable. They’ll look great displayed on a shelf, but they’re also chunky enough to handle some rough and tumble play as well. Plus, any pieces that fall off can be snapped back on. We’re particularly enamored with the LEGO Shop exclusive Goofy/Pluto and Donald Duck sets, but there’s also a great Mandalorian kit to capture the hearts of any Baby Yoda fans.
Barbie National Geographic
For children who are more into “science” than “fiction,” there are plenty of great educational National Geographic toys to pique their interests. These science-themed Barbies are particularly fun, given that they’re jobs we never would have expected from the 61-year-old fashion icon. But they do look glamorous thanks to some well-designed outfits, and the accessories are absolutely charming, from the photojournalist’s camera to the astrophysicist’s telescope. And it’s a great starting point to talking about real-life women scientists like Jane Goodall and Katie Mack.
Harry Potter Kano Coding Kit
What if your child could learn magic and coding at the same time? Well, it’s not exactly real magic, but it feels close enough as kids explore the corridors of Hogwarts with a plastic wand, stringing together the elements of familiar spells from the Harry Potter series. And, while they’ll get a thrill from making things levitate in the game or dressing up their avatar like one of the Weasleys, they’ll also be learning the basics of coding in the background as they assemble commands to make their spells work.
For parents who want to play along with their kids, there’s nothing better than a good game — and this is one that also encourages a bit of creativity as well. Instead of putting your creations down on paper, Pictionary Air has players using the included pen to draw, well… in the air, often with hilarious results. That’s because you can’t see what you’re drawing, which puts experienced artists on more equal footing with family members who can barely draw a circle. And the game can be broadcast to your TV, which means that even those who don’t want to play can still watch and feel included.