Sometimes kids deserve a special little treat—whether they refrain from crying at the dentist, got an extra star on their homework assignment, or behaved well on a long shopping trip, it’s nice to reward them for good behavior. Candy is a cheap, instant, and enjoyable treat, but we all know kids can do with a little less sugar (and, in turn, fewer painful dentist visits!).  There are some great inexpensive toys with lots of play value that will help reward kids for good behavior without breaking the bank or causing cavities.

ABSW Telepods Jedi vs Sith Multi-PacksAngry Birds Star Wars Telepods, from Hasbro, are sold in two-figure packs for less than $10. Kids can teleport the collectible figures right into the Angry Birds Star Wars II app, from Rovio Entertainment, on iOS and Android devices. Each figure has a unique QR code on the bottom, so kids can distinguish their characters from their friends’, even if they have the same ones. With more than 30 figures to collect, Hasbro also has compatible play sets at higher price points. With both virtual and physical play, Telepods is a great choice for a quick treat that will keep kids engaged for a long time.

Mashems_Single Foil Pack_110223Mash ’Ems, from Tech 4 Kids, are fun, squishable characters that retail for less than $5. Mash ’Ems come in some of kids’ favorite characters, including Angry Birds, Power Rangers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Smurfs, Marvel Superheroes, and WWE characters. These short and squat figures combine collectability with squishy. Fash ’Ems, a spin-off brand featuring character accessories, are also available in My Little Pony and Hello Kitty characters. Fash ’Ems feature cute sunglasses and other add-ons for kids who love fashion and role play.

RainbowLoom.Butterfly Blossom braceletAfter this summer, it seems like practically every child, tween, and teen has a Rainbow Loom, a great new rubber band bracelet and accessory maker, from Choon’s Designs. Though the Loom retails for about $17, the rubber band refill packs come in packs that are available for less than $3. One adorable little family friend of mine even showed me how to make the rubber band bracelets kids are crazy over without the loom using her fingers and a cool, easy weaving pattern. A great treat for creative kids, these bracelets will keep kids busy for hours and also leave them with a cute accessory to wear or share with friends.

Although lots of toys at dollar stores and check-out counters are inexpensive, you want to make sure the toy doesn’t end up at the bottom of the toy box after a day or two, no matter how little you spend. These toys all offer lots of play value for kids and have great features such as digital play, physical play, and collectibility. Consider these great options the next time your little one takes a booster shot like a champ or finishes the broccoli on his or her plate, stems and all. After all, it’s the little victories that matter most!

For more commentary from Marissa, check back often. Views expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Toy Book as a whole. We hope that you will share your comments and feedback below. Until next time!