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Are you overwhelmed by an overflow of your kid’s toys but don’t know what else to give them? Here a 10 awesome non-toy gift ideas for kids.
My husband and I have tried for the last two years to stick to a four gift rule with our kids – something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. Unfortunately, I have found ways to bend these rules a bit.
- Under the delusion that time is on my side, I procrastinate and don’t start thinking about gifts until it’s too late to do anything but buy toys.
- I have serious FOMO for my kids and want them to have everything even though I know it’s not in their best interest.
- I have convinced myself that non-toys just aren’t fun and my kids will hate me if I don’t buy them toys.
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Earlier this year, though I decided my kids have more than enough toys and even did a massive toy purge that has had tremendous results. I’m determined to stick to a minimal toy lifestyle and have come up with 10 awesome non-toy gift ideas for kids. For those that struggle with what to put in a stocking that isn’t “junk” I’ve added a bonus stocking list at the bottom of the post.
This is at the top of my gift list this year. Each child is going to get their very own scrapbook and supplies to keep their precious memories safe. Fill a few pages with special pictures and moments to get them started. As you create memories, encourage them to find something tangible to put in their scrapbooks. This is such a great way to train them to find joy in every moment.
Memberships to zoos, museums, and theme parks are really a gift that keeps on giving. If that kind of membership isn’t your game, try different experiences. Explore parts of your town that you’ve not explored before. Make a list of different parks to try. Find out where the state parks are in your area and make plans to visit. For older kids consider concert or live theatre tickets.
3. Toy Storage
What kid doesn’t love a box? Be creative and find some unique toy storage options for your kids’ treasures. It doesn’t have to be giant either. Get a variety of unique boxes, baskets, and bins. Then let your kids fill them up and “organize” them however makes sense to their creative little minds.
Another option is get unfinished boxes and let your kids decorate them. You could even buy wooden letters spelling out their names to affix to their completed boxes.
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I know this doesn’t seem like an awesome gift for some of you but there are some amazing and fun books out there! My current favorite books are Usborne Books. They’re amazing, fun, educational, and most importantly, durable! My kids love them! I *happen* to know someone who sells them, so send me an email if you’re interested. 😉
5. Personal Desk
Kids need their own spaces just like we do. A small desk gives them a space to be creative, complete their school work, read, the possibilities are endless. If you find your living space limited and don’t have room for a personal desk, consider a lap desk.
6. Updated Bedroom Decor
As their interests and tastes change, kids enjoy giving their bedroom a new look. Be ambitious with a complete makeover with a new coat of paint and furniture.
If a complete update is not your idea of a fun gift, accessories go a long way in making your child’s room feel new.
Whichever way you decide to go, a bedroom update makes a fun gift.
7. Date Book
What kid doesn’t love spending one-on-one time with their parent? Create a simple date book with ways your child can spend intentional time with you.
- Cooking or baking together
- Playing a game
- Watching a movie (if you’re more ambitious, going to the movies!)
- Restaurant gift card (it doesn’t have to be expensive, just desert even)
- Taking a walk together
- A pedicure (yes, even for your boys)
- Desert date
A different take on this would be a calendar with a monthly one-on-one date scheduled. For your older kids, make it a game with clues about what their monthly date might be. These things don’t have to be elaborate. Just a simple hour with just the two of you at a frozen yogurt shop or a nature walk around a park make great parent/kid dates.
8. A New Hobby
If your kid has shown an interest in something, gift them lessons or classes. Friendly tip from someone who purchase 6 months of Tae Kwon Do lessons for a child that found out they really don’t like Tae Kwon Do: Gift them 4-5 lessons just to see if they’re interested. That keeps the pressure off them to try to like something they suddenly find they’re not interested in and keeps you from wasting money.
Family game nights are a great way to encourage quality family time. If you don’t already have one established, gift several board games with a fun family game night announcement card. You could even create a first family game night gift basket with snacks, drinks and your first game.
10. Experience Basket
Take your child’s interests to the next level with experience baskets. If your child like to bake, fill a basket with baking supplies. Are they an outdoor enthusiast? Make them their own outdoor adventure kit. For the tiny detective, create a sleuthing box. For the crafters, fill a box with a plethora of crafting supplies. Photography accessories make a great gift for your little photographer. Put it all together in a neat box or basket.
Bonus: Stocking Stuffers that Aren’t Junk
- Fun socks or underwear (don’t laugh, my son was super excited last year!)
- Travel Games
- App store gift card
- Restaurant or store gift card (kids love paying for their own stuff!)
- Calendar with fun pictures
- Music (for digital music try printing pictures of the album in a fun envelope)
- Activity books
- Their own bathroom accessories
My kids love a new toothbrush, hair brush, soaps, bandaids, etc.
- Journals (even the younger kids need a special creative place for their thoughts)
- Neat pens and pencils
- Small storage (trinket boxes, zipper pouches)
New Toy Options
I’m going to be honest with myself from the get-go and say I know I’ll buy my kids a new toy. I’m setting limits though on the types of toys and have already been training my children that for every new toy they must donate a useable toy in good condition they currently own.
- Accessories for their current toys: doll clothes, vehicles, playset characters (my son has a PJ Masks playset that has dozens of accessory options), play kitchen accessories
- Dress-up clothes
- Real tools instead of play ones – my son loves to work outside with his Daddy so I’m getting him his own tool box. My Daughter loves makeup and jewelry so she’s getting “grown up” accessories. If you’ve got campers or hikers get them their own grown up equipment. Instead of buying the play version, consider getting them the real thing.
I know at first glance non-toys don’t sound like something your kids would enjoy at all. In fact, for a long time I believed that giving my kids anything but toys made me a bad (or at the very least, incredibly cheap) parent. When you put some thought and preparation into it, non-toys will be a gift they won’t easily forget. You won’t be adding to your clutter. Your kids will learn valuable lessons in gratitude, what to value, and that “things” don’t really matter.
Did you like this post? What are some of your favorite non-toy gifts for your kids? Let me know in the comments below!
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