Let’s face it. Kids get toys for everything – Easter, Birthdays, Christmas. And, before you know it, they take over their rooms and many times – your house!
Then, there is the “play with it once” issue. There is nothing more annoying than getting that must-have toy for your child and seeing them play with for a few days and them casting it aside. Or, the toy breaks or stops working completely. It is enough to drive mom and dad batty!
I’m not saying not to give any toys. This year, why not add some non-toy gifts under the tree as well! These are the best gift ideas that kids will treasure and love – without all of the missing pieces.
KIDS GIFT IDEAS THAT AREN’T TOYS
1. Magazine Subscriptions
My kids receive a couple of magazines in the mail each month. They are always excited to see that something arrived for them – with their name on it! They sit down and read it cover to cover as soon as it shows each month. This is a gift that makes them and you happy. They get mail and you get to encourage a love of reading.
However, our absolute favorites were High Five, when they were in preschool (ages 2 – 6) and then Highlights as they got older (ages 6 – 12). There are magazine options available for kids of all ages, so you can rest assured you will find the right one for your child.
If you plan on giving a magazine, it may be impossible for it to arrive in time to put it under the tree. If that is the case, print copy of the cover with a note that this magazine is coming their way starting in the new year and wrap it up!
*Tip: Shop at DiscountMags and use the code PENNYPINCH at checkout to save 20% off any title you find.
A fun gift is a class that will help your child enhance his or her skills be it dance, piano, cooking, or even woodcrafting. A class helps them learn even more about something they already love.
Check with your local recreation center, stores such as JoAnn’s or your local parenting groups to find the class that is right for your child.
If you and your family love to visit your local museums or zoo, a membership would be the perfect gift. You can experience the venue time and time again, all year long — together as a family.
4. Love Gift
This is one my mom started for us when we were young. Each Christmas, she would wrap a gift of love for us. It was something she was going to do for us during the next year. It never was about money as that was not allowed. Instead, she gave of herself.
Some of her gifts included game night once a month, your favorite dinner when you want it, staying up late and watching movies. It’s been more than 20 years since I received one and I still remember them more than anything else she ever gave to me.
As an added bonus, she always included a special note about how much she loved me and how proud she was to be my mom. I cried every year, but those were truly the best gifts I ever received.
Read more about Love Gifts.
5. Monthly Subscription Boxes
You’ve probably seen these boxes show up all over the place. If you haven’t, these are creativity boxes that come to your house – in your child’s name – all year long! They get to try new and different things with an art box, cooking box, STEAM box – and more!
6. Sleeping Bag
There have been a few times over the years where we’ve purchased sleeping bags for the kids. They aren’t just for sleepovers, but also fun for a family movie night in the family room.
We LOVE playing games here! They are a fun activity to do as a family. As a mom, I love that games teach my kids good sportsmanship, as there can only ever be one winner. Some of our family’s favorites include BrainQuest, Uncle Wiggly, and Hedbanz.
Books are always a popular gift for kids. When they are young, board books are a good fit. As they get older, there are series and chapter books that they can read to encourage a love of reading. You might want to check out this list of books that are perfect for kids ages 8 – 12.
9. Event Tickets
My son is into 80s rock (crazy, huh?). For his birthday this past year, we bought him tickets for his Dad and him to see Queen in concert. The year before that, he wanted to take a friend to a baseball game.
Tickets to events can be a great gift. They help create memories that will last a lifetime.
10. Audiobook Membership
I mentioned books above, but audiobooks are also popular. My oldest daughter loves to listen to books while she draws and sketches. They can also be a great way for them to hear their favorite stories read to them. It is fun to read, but also can be enjoyable for someone to read to you.
11. Art or Crafting Supplies
These types of items are at the top of my kids’ lists each year. We bought my youngest a crafting box for her 9th birthday (similar to this one) and my oldest received high end paints for hers. Both of them absolutely loved them!
Now, my youngest will dig out her box and create projects and creatures for hours on end. Everything she needs is right there at her fingertips. It is fun to see how creative she can be.
12. Photo Album
If you had a family vacation or trip, create personalized photo albums sharing those memories. You could even make one covering their last year of school, first year of their lives – anything! My kids love looking back at photos of their life and these albums are always a hit.
One of my favorite sites to order these books from is Shutterfly. They always offer some of the best deals on books (especially around holidays).
13. Dress Up Clothes
I still remember the year we bought my son his police uniform. We had to practically peel it off of him each night. He lived in it! Dress up is fun for a lot of kids. Create a fun collection of costumes they can use to dress up in an array of characters or occupations.
14. New Pajamas
I don’t know about you, but my kids would live in pajamas if I let them. Each year, we love buying new PJs to wrap and place under our tree. Sometimes they are holiday jammies and other times just a character they love.
15. Movie Night
We don’t go to the movies often (as it can be rather expensive). Movie tickets and a voucher to get a snack makes a great gift. The added bonus is doing something fun with mom and/or dad.
I don’t know many kids who don’t love watches. Best of all, they don’t have to be high-tech or expensive. The bonus is teaching kids how to tell time by getting them an analog rather than a digital watch.
17. Socks or Slippers
We bought our daughter bacon and egg slippers for her birthday this year and she LOVED them! Find socks and/or slippers for your kids in all sorts of characters, colors or designs.
18. Umbrella and galoshes
There is nothing more fun for kids than to splash around in puddles. I have videos and pictures of my own kids doing this and they still make me smile when I look at them. They had SO much fun! Find a fun umbrella and boots they can wear the next time it rains.
19. A “YES” Day
This is one you need to be brave to do, but it can be a LOT of fun for the kids! Allow them to have one day where you say yes to everything (within reason, of course). There is nothing more fun than being able to have a hot fudge sundae for breakfast!
20. Personalized Book
Personalized books are fun because your child gets to be IN the story! We purchased these for our kids when they were younger and they loved them (and I’ve kept them in their memory boxes). The looks on their faces when they saw their names in print was absolutely priceless.
21. Kitchen Kit
Pick up an apron, new kitchen tools and ingredients to spend the day baking with them in the kitchen. If your child is older, add in some cake decorating tips and frosting and let them get extra creative.
If you ever come to my house, you will notice one thing — all three of my kids have a blanket they love. They use them at night and then most days to snuggle up. You can find character blankets from Disney (which my daughter had when she was younger), weighted blankets (for added security when sleeping) or fun fleece throws.
23. Nail polish kit
Kids love to paint their toenails. Create a fun kit with kid friendly nail polish, remover and other items to make the perfect gift.
24. Assembling Kits
My husband and son put together a ukelele kit last year after Christmas and had so much fun doing so! You can find kids such as this kaledioscope kit, my comic book kit, or this build your own marble coaster kit.
25. Headphones or Earbuds
My kids love to play games on their tablets. However, I don’t always like to listen to them playing them. Kid friendly headphones or earbuds are perfect. The only ones we use for our kids are these Lil Gadgets wireless headphones. They work perfect and best of all – no cord!
26. Pottery Trip
If you live near a pottery store, get your child a certificate to go and be creative! We took our kids to one this summer and they had so much fun painting. But, even better were their faces after they had been fired and were the finished product.
A bathrobe is a must have after their bedtime baths! Add in some slippers (as mentioned above) and you have a perfect gift idea!
Each year, we get our kids a calendar that features their interests. We’ve purchased Trolls, Secret Life of Pets. Royals Baseball, The Simpsons, Fantastic Beasts….and more! Include fun stickers for them to mark special occasions all year long.
29. New Movie and Snacks
Set up a movie night at home by picking up the newest movie they want to own. Add in popcorn and snacks and then have a family movie night!
You can create personalized cups or find one in their favorite color, team or character. One year, we even found one that had guitars on it for our son!
31. Monthly “Date” Night
With three kids, it is tough to give each of them one-on-one attention. One way we do that is with a date night. Once a month, I give one of them an evening alone with mom or dad. They can go out to dinner, play games – whatever they want.
32. Your Game, Book or Movie
Each of us has a favorite game, movie or book from when we were grew up. Find a copy and watch or share it with them.
33. Garden Set
There are a lot of adorable kid-sized luggage items available. Add in a toiletry bag with their own travel sized products such as toothpaste and shampoo, to complete their travel kit. And – don’t forget the personalized luggage tag!
Now, before you roll your eyes, this is not just any clothing. Maybe it is a more expensive jacket or pair of shoes that they want. Christmas might be the time to spend a bit more to get them that one article that he or she really wants, but you normally would never buy for them.
Kids love to take pictures! You can find cameras designed for younger kids or even the Instax for those who are older. For added fun, get a gift card so they can print the pictures and add to a photo album or put them on a bulletin board.
37. Hats, Mittens and Scarves
My daughter has a pair of Troll gloves with a flap the folds over the top to make them into mittens. She loves them. In fact, she sometimes plays with them in the middle of the summer! The winter items your kids need make the perfect gift.
Hopefully you’ve got some inspiration and ideas for non-toy gifts for your kids!