Non-toy gifts are our favorites to give and receive. They’re often more meaningful and enriching, they build lasting memories, and they stand the test of time. Here are 20 ideas for non-toy gifts for the kids on your list!
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Once you become a parent, you realize just how much you don’t want your kids to get a pile of toys for Christmas. Am I right??
They quickly take over the house, they usually don’t do much for brain/personal development (these are some exceptions!), and more often than not, they’re forgotten and abandoned by February.
That’s why we’ve become big fans of non-toy gifts for kids. That’s not to say we never buy our kids toys, but non-toy gifts are our favorites to give and receive. They’re often more meaningful and enriching, they build lasting memories, and they stand the test of time.
Check out the following non-toy gift ideas for kids.
20 Non-Toy Gifts for Kids
Looking to steer clear of an abundance of toys this year? I get it, and I’ve got you covered! Here are 20 ideas of non-toy gifts kids will love!
Books will always be one of my favorite non-toy gift ideas, and are a welcome and encouraged gift for our family! Here are some of our favorite books:
- 25 Must-Read Children’s Chapter Book Series
- Our Favorite Chapter Books for Read-Alouds
- 10 Books For Kids Who Love Books
- Must-Read Chapter Books With Strong Family Relationships
- 20 Books For Kids Who Love Outdoor Adventure
- Our Favorite Picture Books for Kids
- Favorite Christmas Books for Kids
You might also consider gifting them with an Audible subscription so they can listen to their favorite books!
2. Board Games
3. Subscription Boxes
Subscription boxes are another great non-toy gift idea. They’re a gift that keeps on giving all year long! And Kiwi Crates is one of my favorites. I love how they fuel discovery, imagination, learning, and creativity in a fun and engaging way.
The best part is there are boxes for literally every age — even 0-24 months! — and a variety of topics and interests, including science, geography, and art.
And if a full year’s subscription is out of your price range, you can gift 3, 6, or 9 months, as well. Or gift a single crate! You choose based on your budget.
Another subsription box idea is Little Passports.
Both our boys have received Little Passports subscriptions as gifts, and they (and we) love them! They are THRILLED when they come in the mail each month, and their LP “suitcases” are one of their most treasured possessions.
Each month’s package is filled with interesting facts and fun activities from around the world, and we’ve been super impressed with the quantity and quality of what’s included.
Educational + fun + a great value = a parent’s dream!
In addition to subscription boxes, I would also add magazine subscriptions. What kid doesn’t love getting their own magazine in the mail? Our kids look at each issue until it’s falling apart, and then they get repurposed into collages and other fun projects!
Some favorite titles include Highlights, Ranger Rick, Sports Illustrated Kids, National Geographic Kids, Ask (from Cricket Media), and Zoobooks.
This might be pushing the line of what does/does not constitute a “toy,” but I allow them because they’re so good for kids’ brains.
Here’s a list of The Best STEM Toys & Activities for Kids to give you some ideas!
And this blog post of The Best Activities & Toys for Kids Who Love to Tinker includes some great STEM activities, plus a bunch of other brain-boosting gift ideas!
5. Personalized notebooks and journals
I think this is a lovely gift for kids who love to write, draw, or just generally get their feelings down on paper. If you need a recommendation, I love the beautiful personalized notebooks and journals from Plum Paper.
6. Coloring & Activity books
Coloring and activity books are fabulous for engaging kids’ brains and igniting their creativity. Plus, they’re a godsend for those times when you need to keep kids occupied and entertained!
Some of our favorites include Color Wonder Mess-Free Coloring Books, paint by sticker, Highlights Hidden Pictures, National Geographic Sticker Activity books, Bear Grylls Activity books, and Wild Kratts activity books.
7. Experience gifts
Experience gifts are the best! They create memories that will be cherished for YEARS to come.
Some ideas include: sports games, concerts, musicals or plays, spa days, mani/pedis, weekend trip, indoor trampoline, and ice-skating.
BONUS: Get them a journal to go with it, to write about the experience!
Give passes to movie theatres, museums, zoos, etc. Or take it up a notch and spring for a year’s membership!
One of our oldest son’s most prized possessions is his camera. Partly because he paid for it himself from money he’d earned, but mostly because he can capture special moments with it. And there are some great options for kids out there that are very budget-friendly!
This is the time to splurge on a nice coat, sweatshirt, dress, pair of shoes, etc. he/she has been eyeing.
11. Piggy bank
This gift has the added bonus of helping kids build those foundational money skills of saving and budgeting. I LOVE this 3-part money bank that has sections for saving, spending, and sharing.
It’s amazing how much the ability to tell time for themselves delights kids. This is a gift he/she will be able to use for a few years, at least.
(Side note: I recommend an analog watch, as that seems to be a dying skill these days. And they can learn how to read it younger/faster than you think!)
13. Tickets to an event
Taking our kids to things like Paw Patrol LIVE and a monster truck rally has been delightful and memory-making. Tickets to an event will make them feel special and give them something to look forward to.
When our oldest son went through a horse phase (thank you, Spirit), we got him a horse riding lesson for his 4th birthday. And he loved it! Help your kids develop their interests and skills — be it horseback riding, art, writing, music, or cooking — with lessons.
15. Musical instruments
Learning about and creating music is fantastic for children’s brains (and souls!). Whether it’s something small, like musical shakers or toy guitars, or a larger investment, like a keyboard or real guitar, give the gift of music to your kids.
16. Art supplies or classes
Do you have a budding Picasso? Encourage those skills with some quality art supplies and/or classes.
17. Kids’ furniture
18. Outdoor equipment & Tools
Kids will love getting their own fishing poles, binoculars, gardening tools, hunting gear, tool sets, etc. Not only will they offer hours of entertainment, but they provide kids with a little (age-appropriate) independence and help them build real world skills.
19. Camping Gear
As a family gift, book a trip to a fun and exciting location. If you want to be able to give them something to open and use right away, add a few smaller gifts of a new travel bag, kids camera, photo album, kids travel guides, or travel activity kits.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE:
- 25 Gifts for Toddlers (That Won’t Be a Waste of Money)
- 25 Gifts for Preschoolers (That Won’t Be a Waste of Money)
- Fun & Interesting Stocking Stuffers
- 5 Tips for a Pre-Holiday Toy Purge