INSIDE: Looking for an awesome list of gift ideas for kids that are NOT toys! Kids will love these non-toy gift ideas for Christmas, Birthdays and more.
Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday or another event, you need to give your kid a gift. But what do you give kids who have everything? And what about non-toy gift ideas? What should you give your kids this year?
Let’s face it. Kids get toys, or maybe a stuffed animal or two, for every occasion – Easter, birthdays, Christmas, you name it. And before you know it, the toys take over their rooms and, many times, your house!
Then there’s the “play with it once” issue. There’s nothing more annoying than getting that must-have toy for your child and seeing him or her play with it for a few days and then cast it aside. Or the toy breaks or stops working completely. It’s enough to drive Mom and Dad batty!
I’m not saying to skip traditional toys. In addition to those – and that hot new must-have toy – add some non-toy gifts as well. This gift guide is a great list of the best gift ideas that kids will treasure and love – without all of the missing pieces.
BEST GIFTS FOR KIDS THAT AREN’T TOYS
We’ve compiled an amazing list of non-toy gift ideas. Kids will love these gifts for Christmas, birthdays, or any special holiday. Let’s dig in!
1. MAGAZINE SUBSCRIPTIONS
Definitely, one of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys is magazines! 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 names on the mail! They sit down and read the magazines cover to cover as soon as they show up each month. This is a non-toy 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 the kids were in preschool (ages 2 to 6), and then Highlights as they got older (ages 6 to 12). There are magazine options available for kids of all ages, so you can rest assured you’ll find the right one for your child.
If you plan to give a magazine subscription, the first issue may not arrive in time to put it under the tree. If that’s the case, print a copy of the cover with a note that this magazine is coming your kid’s way starting in the new year, and wrap it up!
A fun gift is a class that will help your child enhance his or her skill, be it dance, piano, cooking or even woodcrafting. A class helps kids learn even more about something they already love.
Check with your local recreation center, stores such as JoAnn Fabric and Craft, or your local parenting groups to find a class that’s right for your child.
If you and your family love to visit your local museums or zoo, a membership would be a great gift idea. Among the membership benefits, you can experience the venue time and time again, all year long – together as a family.
4. LOVE GIFT
I love this non-toy gift idea for kids!! My mother did this for us when we were little. 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 because that was not allowed. Instead, she gave of herself.
Some of her gifts included game night once a month, our favorite dinner when we wanted it, staying up late and watching movies. It’s been more than 20 years since I received such a gift, 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 subscription box ideas all over the place, and they definitely make some of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys. These are creativity boxes that come to your house – in your child’s name – all year long! Your child gets to try new and different things with an art box, a cooking box – and more!
We’ve created a list of some of the BEST subscription boxes you’ll want to get for your kids. Make sure you also check out CrateJoy, where you’ll find a monthly subscription box for just about anyone on your list.
6. SLEEPING BAG
There have been a few times over the years when we’ve purchased sleeping bags for the kids. They aren’t just for sleepovers. They’re 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 and the perfect gift for girls and boys alike. As a mom, I love that games teach my kids good sportsmanship because there can only ever be one winner. Some of our family’s favorites include BrainQuest, Uncle Wiggly and Hedbanz.
Books are always popular gifts. When children are little ones, board books are a good fit. As they get older, there are series and chapter books that encourage a love of reading. You might want to check out this list of books that are perfect for kids ages 8 to 12.
9. EVENT TICKETS
My son is into ’80s rock (crazy, huh?). For his birthday this past year, we bought tickets for him and his dad to see Queen in concert. The year before that, he wanted to take a friend to a baseball game. Event tickets are some of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys.
Tickets to events can be a great gift. Experience gift ideas 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 kids to hear their favorite stories read to them. Reading is fun, but it can also 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 ninth birthday (similar to this one), and my oldest received high-end paints for her birthday. Both of them absolutely loved the gifts!
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’s fun to see how creative she can be.
12. PHOTO ALBUM
If you had a family vacation or trip, create a personalized photo album to preserve those memories. You could even make an album covering your child’s last year of school, the first year of his or her life – anything! My kids love looking back at photos of their lives, and these albums are always a hit.
One of my favorite sites to order these books from is Shutterfly. It always offers some of the best deals on books (especially around holidays).
13. DRESS-UP CLOTHES
What kid doesn’t love to dress up like their favorite super hero or icon? Dress-up is certainly fun for a lot of kids and it makes a great non-toy gift idea. Create a fun collection of costumes they can use to dress up as an array of characters or occupations for pretend play.
14. NEW PAJAMAS
I don’t know about your kids, but mine 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 characters the kids love.
15. MOVIE NIGHT
We don’t go to the movies often (because 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.
Most kids love watches. Best of all, a watch doesn’t have to be high-tech or expensive. A 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 or slippers for your kids in all sorts of characters, colors and designs. Socks in bright colors are also a great idea for filling Christmas stockings.
18. UMBRELLA AND GALOSHES
There’s nothing more fun for kids than splashing 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 and tell them what they’ll get to do with them. They’ll think it’s one of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys!
19. A “YES” DAY
You need to be brave, but if you decide to do this 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 better than being able to have ice cream 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 your kids. For older kids, add some cake decorating tips and frosting and let them get extra creative. Voila! You’ve got a unique and fun birthday or Christmas gift idea!
If you come to my house, you’ll 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, polish remover and other items to make the perfect gift.
24. ASSEMBLING KITS
My husband and son put together a ukulele kit last year after Christmas and had so much fun doing so! You can find kits such as this kaleidoscope kit, comic book kit or 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 perfectly and best of all, there’s 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 the pottery had been fired and the kids saw the finished products. Definitely a valuable non-toy gift idea!
A bathrobe is a must-have after a kid’s bedtime bath! Add some slippers (as mentioned above) and you have a perfect gift idea for boys and girls alike! This is a practical gift that can also be fun.
Each year, we get our kids a calendar that matches their interests. We’ve purchased calendars featuring Trolls, Secret Life of Pets, Royals Baseball, The Simpsons, Fantastic Beasts…and more! Include fun stickers for the kids 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 popcorn and snacks, then have a family movie night!
You might not think this is one of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys, but they love them! You can create personalized cups or find one in their favorite color or with their favorite 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’s 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 growing up. Find a copy and watch or share it with your kids.
33. GARDEN SET
A lot of adorable kid-size luggage is available. Add a toiletry bag with travel-size products, such as toothpaste and shampoo, to complete the travel kit. And don’t forget the personalized luggage tag!
Before you roll your eyes, this is not just any clothing. Maybe it’s a more-expensive jacket or pair of shoes that they want. Christmas might be the time to spend a bit more to get your child that one article he or she really wants but you normally would never buy.
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 them to a photo album or put them on a bulletin board.
37. HATS, MITTENS AND SCARVES
These things always make some of the best gifts for kids that aren’t toys. My daughter has a pair of Troll gloves with a flap that 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.
Whatever your kid’s age, hopefully you’ve gotten some inspiration and ideas for non-toy gifts to give this year!