15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS

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Each year, kids' toys get pricier and noisier as toy makers pack on, literally, more bells and whistles. If you're looking to simplify this holiday, we've pulled together a collection of 15 classic toys that have stood the test of time, bringing smiles to millions of kids year after year -- no batteries or earplugs necessary.

They're inexpensive, too. Most items on our list cost less than $30. (For simplicity's sake, all prices are from Amazon.com, unless otherwise noted.) Take a look:

Use the navigation at your right.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 2 of 16

LEGO

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PRICE: $15
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This Lego tub of 221 pieces is the perfect starter set for your little builder (and it provides a place to store all those little pieces). Or, for $10 more, spring for the 401-piece set.

Lincoln logs are another great building toy -- but they're a bit pricier. A 115-piece set in a commemorative tin runs $35 on Amazon.com.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 3 of 16

GUND SESAME STREET PLUSH

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PRICE: $14 to $16
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Remember when plush toys were simply for snuggling? The Sesame Street collection from Gund is sure to put a smile on any little child's face, even though these toys (thankfully) don't giggle, sing or do the chicken dance.

The 12- to 14-inch dolls are the perfect size for a cuddle, and the perfect price. Choose from Elmo, Cookie Monster, Big Bird, Grover, Oscar, Bert, Ernie and more.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 4 of 16

TONKA TRUCKS

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PRICE: $6 TO $30
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There's a Tonka truck for every budget, whether you're looking for a small hand-sized vehicle for inside play or a big heavy-duty one for the yard.

Tonka trucks are well-known for their long-lasting quality. They're made from steel and rugged plastic to hold up to the roughest play. Tonka even makes some with lights and sounds, if that's what the kids in your life like.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 5 of 16

PLAY DOH

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PRICE: $7 to $25
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Just sit back and watch the kids create. A basic case of Play Doh colors costs $7. The Play Doh Creativity Center (pictured here) runs $25 and includes doh, molds, cookie cutters and more accessories to keep kids interested.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 6 of 16

CABBAGE PATCH KIDS

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PRICE: $15 to $30

One look at their cheek-pinchingly cute faces and it's easy to see why these dolls are still so popular. You can buy a newborn baby doll or a "big kid" (pictured here).

Plus, they still come with a birth certificate and adoption papers to welcome them into the family.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 7 of 16

BOOKS

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PRICE: Any budget

Don't write this off as a boring gift. Babies and toddlers adore books of any kind. For school-age kids, tap into an interest such as dinosaurs, horses or outer space.

For pre-teens, get a book on something interactive such as origami, drawing, magic tricks or balloon animals. For teens, think fun: a collection of their favorite comic strip or a book set by their favorite author.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 8 of 16

BOARD GAMES

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PRICE: $10 and up
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Video games are the time-killer du jour among kids these days. But if you long to increase familial interactivity and still have a raucous good time, look no further than good old-fashioned board games.

Some time-tested hits include Clue, Twister, Chutes & Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble, Pictionary and Battleship. (You can even find "junior" editions of several classic games for younger kids.) Or, go for a modern classic, such as Guesstures, Scattergories, Cranium, Taboo or Catch Phrase.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 9 of 16

NERF

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PRICE: $10 and up

For playing catch in the backyard or a rowdy game of flag football at the park, you can't go wrong with a classic Nerf football. You might even find one in your child's favorite team's colors.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 10 of 16

RADIO FLYER CLASSIC RED WAGON

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PRICE: $60

This toy hall-of-famer is well worth the splurge. Its top-notch quality and durability make it strong enough to stand up to the rigors of childhood. Shop around, though: We found the same classic red wagon on different Web sites from $60 to $115.

For other sure-hit toys on wheels, consider Radio Flyer's Classic Red Tricycle or Little Tykes Cozy Coupe.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 11 of 16

MR. POTATO HEAD

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PRICE: $7 to $15
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This little guy is the biggest spud on the block and is packed with silly fun. A basic 13-piece spud set costs $7. Or the Mr. Potato Head Silly Suitcase ($15) comes with 40 parts to get creative with.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 12 of 16

TRANSFORMERS

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PRICE: $10 and up
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Transformers first hit toy stores in the '80s, but they are making a comeback this year thanks to the summer's blockbuster movie. The action-figure robots morph into vehicles to help your child save the world.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 13 of 16

TRAIN SET

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PRICE: $22 and up
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All aboard! There's a train set for any budget, and you can buy add-ons as holiday gifts for years to come. Brio is a good choice for a wooden train set. On the inexpensive side, you can get the starter set for $22. (A 96-piece set and table costs $130.) Fisher-Price makes a popular remote-control set called GeoTrax. The Grand Central Station set is a good bet at $40, pictured here.

And, of course, for the wow factor (and for a kid or grown-up enthusiast who would truly appreciate it), there are the classic Lionel electric trains. These sets run about $100 to $300 on Amazon.com.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 14 of 16

CRAYOLA ART SUPPLIES

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PRICE: $1 and up
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Release kids' inner Van Gogh with anything Crayola. The classic choices, of course, are crayons, markers, colored pencils, watercolors and finger paints. Pair them with a pad of paper and they make a great gift for kids of any age.

Or, try out some of Crayola's newer offerings sure to become classics in due time, such as the Color Wonder and Color Explosion collections (ink and paint only work on special paper -- not on your couch, kids' clothes or skin) and Bathtub Crayons (water soluble crayons for drawing on tub walls).
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 15 of 16

HOTWHEELS MATCHBOX CARS

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PRICE: $1 and up

Here's a proof you don't have to spend a lot of money to be a hero Christmas morning. HotWheels matchbox cars make great stocking stuffers, and they're easy on your wallet.

We've seen them in stores raging from $1 to $5 each. Or go for the giftpack -- Toys 'R' Us has a 20-pack for $20, pictured here.
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15 CAN'T-MISS CLASSIC TOYS | Slide 16 of 16

BARBIE

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PRICE: $15
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She's 49 years old, but Barbie is still as fresh a gift today as ever.

The new Diamond Castle Princess Liana Doll is on little girls' radars this year. Regular price is $30, but we found it at Amazon.com for $20. With the money saved, you can spring for the Barbie and the Diamond Castle DVD ($11).
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