Inexpensive Sports Toys and Gear

Prompt active, athletic play with these low-cost sports toys

Girls running in park with their mother
Alistair Berg/Getty Images

When you're looking for a party favor, a stocking stuffer, or a not-too-expensive gift, these sports toys are perfect. Most are small in size and all are low in price, but they are perfect for encouraging active play and athletic activities. Pair them with a healthy snack for a fresh take on a treasure-hunt prize, a report card reward, or a birthday party goodie bag. Or pile a bunch into a gift basket or gym bag for a more significant birthday or holiday present with an active theme.

Sports Toys for $5 or Less

These super-cheap options are simple, but deceptively sporty. They are open-ended items that encourage movement and active, free play. Every kid should have at least a few of them.

  • Jump rope
  • Bubble solution and a selection of cool wands
  • Coupons for family play: a game of catch in the backyard, a trip to the playground, etc. 
  • Sidewalk chalk 
  • A bag of balloons to blow up (not for kids under 4)
  • Inflatable beach ball
  • Rubber playground ball

Sports Toys and Gear for $10 or Less

There are tons of options at this price point. Check out end-of-season sales for even more choices and deeper discounts. You can also find deals on bulk purchases (if you buy a big batch of balls, beanbags, or sun visors for party favors, you'll pay less). Remember that if you're shopping for smaller accessories for your child's sport, such as lacrosse balls. Join up with some other parents for a big online order and save some dough.

For toys, be on the lookout for:

  • Diving sticks or pool rings
  • Chinese (elastic) jump rope (buy from Amazon)
  • Flip-flops or mini toiletries for the locker room or sports travel
  • Sun hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Paperback books with sporty themes
  • A cool ball with a fun twist, like this color-changer (buy from Amazon) or the Phlat ball, which changes from a disc to a ball in flight (buy from Amazon)
  • Pool noodles (not just for in the water! They make great toys on dry land too)
  • Frisbee
  • FitDeck playing cards with ideas for exercises, games, and activities (buy from Amazon)
  • Paddle ball set
  • Hula hoop
  • Spoke lights for bikes (or another bike accessory, like a bell)
  • Foam balls in your favorite team's colors
  • Inflatable kiddie pool
  • Plastic snow sled
  • Kite
  • Set of juggling balls and a how-to book
  • Yo-yo

Sports Toys and Gear for $25 or Less

Most of these actually come in at $20 or under and make nice gifts all on their own. Or pair them up with one of the less costly items above. 

  • MP3 gift card to download workout music. iTunes cards are available at many ​discount, grocery, and drug stores so they're easy to pick up
  • Swim goggles: Frogglez brand are more comfortable and durable than other cheap goggles (buy from Amazon)
  • Ski goggles or a balaclava (face cover) if the child you're buying for is into skiing or snowboarding
  • Collectible sports trading cards, and/or a binder to put them in
  • Sand toys, which can also be used in the snow
  • Passes for an ice rink, bowling alley, driving range, swimming pool, trampoline park, or other active venue that's popular in your area
  • Basic pedometer or kid-friendly activity tracker (yes, you can get a functional one for under $25)
  • High-quality water bottle—look for stainless steel or BPA-free plastic
  • Pop-up tent, tunnel, or parachute
  • Kids' gardening tools
  • Ribbon wand (sometimes labeled as a streamer; great for dancing and pretend play)
  • Knee hockey set
  • Fun sprinkler to attach to your garden hose
  • Over-the-door mini basketball hoop
  • Yoga mat
  • Giant water gun or Nerf blaster
  • Set of mini plastic traffic cones (kids can use for start/finish lines, goal posts, targets, bases, and more)
  • Stomp Rocket set
  • Football or cycling gloves
  • Classic Twister game
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