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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, 7 and 1 my kids prefer to play with cardboard boxes more than toys.
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.
We have even started buying less toys for Christmas Morning and any other special occasion situations.
Here are some great ideas if you are looking for gifts for your child for the upcoming holiday season that follow your child’s interest.
The Perfect Gifts For Kids Who Have Too Many 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.
You can always go with gift cards or gift certificate as another great option, but that’s not really a fun gift or even in the category of practical gifts.
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 older kids, you can buy a watch that is beautiful and functional, but really a watch can benefit kids of all ages.
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 fun socks and underwear could be a bit of a drag for younger children, but they are great practical gifts 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 favorite things.
You can always get your child new rain gear or winter clothes as well.
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 like new baseball gloves or bats.
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.
Baking gear is much more useful than kid’s toys as a gift on their special day. You can opt for a play kitchen to encourage imaginative play but that is a toy, and this is a non-toy gift guide.
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. You can also get camping bedding like a sleeping bag and camping pillow.
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, watercolors, 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 favorites 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 children’s love of music with a fun musical instrument.
Family Gifts For Kids
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.
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.
Sensory Swing: Sensory swings have so many benefits – read about that here – and a sensory swing makes a fabulous gift for a child! It’s fun, practical and is great for their senses.
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.
Quotebook: A great way for your child to write down their memories! You can get one on Etsy here.
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.
Digital camera: Encourage your child to take photos of their daily life and let them get creative with their picture taking skills. Cameras make excellent birthday gifts and Christmas presents for younger kids all the way through teenagerhood. Getting creative with experiences is important for child’s development.
A cooking class or cooking kit: A cooking class or cooking kit can provide children with an opportunity to develop important life skills, learn about healthy eating habits, and bond with loved ones over a shared interest in food.
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.
Summer Gear: Needing a gift near the summertime? Grab some summertime gear for the little one.
Sleeping Bag: A sleeping bag is a fun way for kids to spend the night outside, either in their own backyard or on a camping trip with the entire family. With different colors and designs to choose from, kids will love snuggling up in their new sleeping bag.
Quality Time: Spending quality time with your kids is the best gift of all. Plan a fun day out, a movie night in, or a special trip to a place they love.
Kiwi Crates: Kiwi Crates are monthly subscription boxes that deliver hands-on learning experiences right to your door. Each box is tailored to the child’s age and interests and provides a fun way to explore, create and learn.
Little Passports: Little Passports is a monthly subscription service that introduces kids to different parts of the world through fun, educational activities. It’s a wonderful way to expose kids to new cultures and ideas.
Craft Supplies: Craft supplies like bird feeders, magnifying glasses, and herb gardens are a great gift for kids who love to create. Plus, they can make these gifts themselves, giving them a sense of pride and ownership.
Charitable Donations: Teach kids about the importance of giving back by making a charitable donation in their name. Organizations like World Vision offer meaningful gifts that can make a real difference in a child’s life.
Photo Album: A photo album is a good option for older children who have outgrown their favorite toys but still love to look back on special memories. Encourage them to personalize their album with their favorite colors and special thing.
Children’s Museum Membership: A membership to a children’s museum is a fun place for kids to learn and explore. It’s also a wonderful way to encourage a love of learning that will last a lifetime.
Savings Account: A savings account is a great gift for older girls. Teach them about budgeting and saving for the future in a fun, easy way.
Real Tools: For the handy kids in your life, real tools are a wonderful gift. With a small token gift like a hammer or screwdriver, they can start building and creating to their heart’s content.
Gifts For Kids That Are Not Toys
In conclusion, there are plenty of good options for gifts for kids that aren’t toys. From quality time experiences to craft supplies, there are great gifts to suit every child’s interests. Happy holidays and best of luck finding the best non-toy gift ideas for the kids in your life!
Educational gifts are always a great option as well as a magazine subscription and other experience gifts that encourage quality time.
Forget new toys, gifts card envelopes and video games this year and have some goof old fashioned fun with the entire family at your local museum.
Print This Positive Parenting Guidebook – The 5 Pillars Of Positive Parenting
Listen… parenting with connection and positivity has been seen as permissive and lazy parenting BUT this is totally not the case.
I am a mom of 3 beautiful children and I’ve spent HOURS, DAYS, MONTHS, and YEARS researching this topic and seriously, it is my favorite way to parent.
Way better than what I grew up with – which was A LOT of yelling, spanking and frankly, neglect.
This little guidebook is a golden nugget that you can have for free – and print it out! Put it on the fridge, refer to it often. It’s really a great tool for kids of all ages.
Download Your Free Printout
- Download the guidebook. You’ll get the printable, plus join hundreds parents who receive my weekly parenting tips and ideas! (Sometimes I’ll promote a parenting program, but only the best ones that are in the positive parenting community, I promise.)
- Print. Print out the guidebook!
- Place it where you can see it. There is a lot of great information in this guidebook, even though it’s small. It’s power packed full of great stuff so put it where you can refer to it often.