Best Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

Best Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

If you have a playroom full of toys that sit there and don’t get played with, then you might just need this list of gifts for kids that aren’t toys.

I can’t believe it! I have fallen victim to the closet full of unplayed with toys that sit there day in and day out and simply don’t get played with.

Even though I often go through the toy piles to get rid of any toys which are broken or have missing pieces, it still looks like a giant pile of junk that never gets touched.

I’ve organized the toys, purchased toy bins to keep everything out and at eye level for the kids but the fact of the matter is, at ages 5 and 7 my kids prefer to play with cardboard boxes more than toys.


I do have a baby who will be playing with toys sooner than later, but I’m going to try to avoid having the toy clusters that I’ve build up with my first two children.

Over the last few years, I have come to the realization that the kids prefer toys which are more active, creative and involved rather than pieces of plastic that look exciting in the store but collect dust when they are at home.

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Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

What do I mean by gifts that aren’t toys?

I mean gifts that are practical, unique, educational, useful, creative, STEM based and still super fun to receive.

I’ll sort the gift ideas out by categories: Useful, Educational, Family and Experience.

Useful Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

Watch: Watches are so useful and they are fun to receive. If your child doesn’t know how to tell time yet, that’s ok! A watch can be a tool to help your child learn how to tell time.

If you have an older child, you can buy a watch that is beautiful and functional.

Alarm Clock: Alarm clocks are great tools for kids to help with time management. Whether you have a toddler or a teenager, an alarm clock is a great non toy gift for kids.

Check out these Best Sleep Clocks for Toddlers for some ideas.

Clothes: Clothes don’t have to be boring. Sure some socks and underwear could be a bit of a drag for kids, but they are great items to gift if the child needs them. Gifting practical clothes such as jackets, sweaters and t shirts is a good way to contribute to their growing wardrobe and make them happy at the same time. You can also purchase gift cards so they can pick out their own clothes.

Wallet/ Piggy Bank: Encourage your child to save their money from all those chores they do and give them a piggy bank or a wallet to keep their money in. You can also educate them about sinking money into the stock market or put their cash into a TFSA.

Suitcase: Kids love suitcases, especially for travel or simple camping trips. Get them a fun yet functional suitcase that they will love to drag around with them on the next family vacation.

Backpack: Does your child need a new backpack? Get them one as a gift! This is especially great if their birthdays are close to the start of a new school year.

Umbrella: Who doesn’t love a cute new umbrella? Why stop at umbrellas anyway, get some new boots to match and a jacket and rain hat too! Encourage playing in puddles and getting outside in all kinds of weather.

Headphones: For the children who love to listen to music, headphones are a great gift idea.

Sports Supplies: If your child is into sports, help them out with new sports equipment. Dancers can always use new bodysuits, tights and shoes. Chess players might need a new board to practice on. Hockey players might need new skates and protective gear. Whatever the child participates in, give them a gift related to that sport.

Calendar: Calendars are great gifts for kids as they can help children learn about seasons and time too. They can learn to keep track of dates and even mark important days on their own.

Cooking/Baking Gear: Do you have a kitchen helper? Kitchen helper stools, baking supplies, cooking gear for kids and cook books can encourage children to learn more about the culinary arts.

Bedding: Bedding is a great non toy gift idea for kids. It is very exciting to have new bedsheets with their favorite characters and it’s also super useful too since it’s used on a daily basis.

Bikes: You really cannot go wrong with a new bike! Encourage kids to go outside and get lots of fresh air. Don’t forget to grab a new bike helmet, or maybe some kneepads and elbow pads as well.

Rollerblades: Rollerblades are a hoot, and it’s another gift that encourages kids to get outside and play.

Scooter: Another great outdoor gift is a scooter. Most kids love scooters and can use them to travel to and from school.

Fitness Tracker: Encourage children to get outside and get active by giving them a fitness watch. Make it extra fun by creating challenges for them such as “who can walk the most in 24 hours.” If you get a tracker which is waterproof you can wear it swimming in the pool or at the lake too.

Educational Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

Books: Get your child excited about a new series or add to their collection of a series they already love. You can also give them a fun booklight or a bookcase as well.

Terrarium: Terrariums don’t have to hold spiders, they have amazing fun kits on Amazon to choose from. Some terrariums also light up at night too.

Microscope: Have a science loving kiddo? Microscopes are super fun. Every science kid should have a microscope on their bedroom desk so they can learn about all the tiny things in life. You can even get them a little book that teaches them about microscopes and how they work.

Telescope: Have a child who just loves space science? A telescope is the perfect gift. Encourage the love of learning by providing your child with a tool that can help them get more excited about something they already like.

Art Supplies: Art supplies are a must-have in every home with children. A great time to stock up on art supplies is Christmas and birthdays! Get your googly eyes, pipe cleaners, markers, crayons, pastels, watercolours, ribbons, scissors and glue and put them together in an art kit. You can also grab a unique art kit with all the supplies you need for a special art project such as tie-dye t-shirts, bracelet making or soap kit.

Aquarium: Teach your children how to take care of fish by giving them the gift of an aquarium.

Puzzles: Every child should have a collection of puzzles. You really cannot go wrong with a puzzle kit. You don’t have to go with traditional puzzles either! Go crazy and give the gift of noodle twisters too.

Chemistry Kit: Give your child the gift of science in a chemistry kit. Learn about science safety and even watch things go kaboom together!

Circuit Kit: One of my kid’s favourites is snap circuits. Get your child learning about how electricity works with a snap circuit kit.

Space Kit: does your child love space? Along with a telescope, you can always give a nice solar planet kit.

Butterfly Kit: Have your child learn all about butterflies with a cute little butterfly garden.

Leap Pad: Get your kids learning on a screen with a fun learning leap pad. It’s not a toy, but an educational tool. We have the academy version, and it’s the best thing ever!

Camera: Does your child always take your cell phone to take photos? Get them their very own camera!

Musical Instruments: Nurture your child’s love of music with a fun musical instrument.

Family Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

Family Games: Family games encourage critical thinking and are so much fun to have at home. Family game nights should be a thing at your house if they aren’t already, here is why.

Swing Set: If you have more than one child to shop for, a collective gift such as a swing set for the backyard is a lovely non toy gift that encourages kids to get outside and get active.

Walkie Talkies: Have more than one child? Grab some walkie talkies and give them as one gift to both kids. It’s a great way to encourage communications and pretend play.

Hammock: Have some space in the backyard to hang a hammock? A hammock can be a great getaway space for little ones.

Vacation: Give the gift of vacation! Disney cruise, a beach getaway? Those are super fun for the whole family.

Photo Book: A sentimental gift of a photobook is a great gift idea for children who have a lot of memories they want to remember.

Experience Gifts For Kids That Aren’t Toys

Memberships: Memberships to the zoo, family science center and amusements parks are great non toy gift ideas that really deliver on the experience aspect of life.

Classes: Does your child love to dance? Do art? Knows computers? Sign them up for dance classes, or art classes or coding classes so they can learn more about that.

Movie Tickets: Purchase some movie tickets in advance and take your little one to the movies. Make sure to get lots of treats!

Event Tickets: If there is an event coming up that your child is looking forward to, tickets are a great gift for them.

Ice Skating: Take your child ice skating in the winter, or in an indoor ice rink in the summer. It’s always a really fun activity and usually fosters some good laughs.

Gardening Supplies: Raising a little green thumb human? foster that outdoor fascination with some gardening supplies.

Non-Toy Ideas For Babies

Babies need stuff too! Here are some things you can purchase for a baby instead of toys.

Teethers: Teethers are sort of toy like, but they do have more of a purpose than a regular toy. Help your child relieve some teething pain with some teething toys.

Diapers: Babies go through a lot of diapers. If you have a baby or your friends have a baby, always go with diapers as a gift idea…they are always needed and new parents tend to run out in the middle of the night.

Clothes: Babies can always use more clothes, load up on some cute pj’s, snowsuits, and onesies.

Books: Raising early readers is a good thing! Give the gift of books for any baby in your life.

Winter Gear: If you are heading into winter, winter gear for a new baby is always a good idea. Here are some Winter Newborn Necessities to look into.

Summer Gear: Needing a gift near the summertime? Grab some summertime gear for the little one.

Gifts For Kids That Are Not Toys

I absolutely adore educational gifts and nothing tops experience gifts either. Experience and family gifts are great for fostering connections and really creating quality time moments.

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gifts for kids that arent toys

Elizabeth is a mom of 3 and has a passion for helping children reach their human potential. She enjoys helping parents raise confident and healthy kids by explaining how to handle situations using positive and peaceful parenting.