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Challenge: Best Toys

20 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids

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As a parent whose children are incredibly blessed, we have so many toys. Way too many toys. So this year I am encouraging family to give gifts that aren't loud, bright, light-up toys they don't touch after two weeks. To help, I brainstormed all of the non-toy gift ideas I could think of.

I have two boys, right now their ages are 4 and 6, but the ideas I share here are classic, timeless and useful!


(Please note there are some affiliate links in here.)

20 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids

1 . Gift cards/vouchers for experiences. My kids love going to the movies, minigolf, batting cages, bounce houses and roller rinks. But those things add up for us parents! Children should have access to mind-expanding activities so consider vouchers to their favorite (or new) experiences.
2. Suitcases. Even if they are going for a sleepover down the street, kids need suitcases. Plus, they get excited to have their very own to pull behind them.
3. Sleeping bags. They will get used more than you might think.
4. Car travel games and activities.
We spend a lot of time in the car and while movies are great, they can’t fill ALL the time. Melissa & Doug makes some wonderful Water Wow (like Melissa & Doug On The Go Water Wow Bundle – Vehicles. Animals and Alphabet), color by number, and other activity books.
5. Audible/Audiobooks. We do chapter books in the car on long road trips but Audible is pricey.
6. Restaurant cards and rewards program. My kids get SO excited to eat at Chick Fil A and Subway. They see the logos and start salivating. Gift-givers would be surprised as to how excited kids are to get gift cards to their favorite places.
7. Wall Calendars. A custom-made photo one would tickle my kids.
8. Watches/clocks. Learning to tell time is hard. Help make it fun with a LEGO watch or something similar.
9. Subscription boxes. There are so many options for services, plans and type of boxes but these give year-round! Take kids on a journey every month with Little Passports, encourage their art with Kiwi Crate, for the LEGO and K’NEX lovers gift Pley, do GiftLit for the readers or get something for the scientist with kits from Bill Nye and STEM projects with Genius Box.
10. Outdoor kits. Kids love ant farms, bug collection kits, flashlights, stopwatches, gardening, bird watching, star gazing, and more. Help them embrace a love of the outdoors! The local Toys R Us or Target will have good options.
11. GPS and geocaching. Speaking of getting kids outside, consider geocaching. Get kids a little GPS and geocaching kit they can use and get them started. I love this Brand 44 Geomate.Jr 2.0 Geocache GPS and Update Kit Combo. If you aren't familiar, geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt that makes being outdoors fun.
12. Memberships to museums. Think zoos, aquariums, kids museums, all in the local area.
13. Clothes. I know that clothes aren’t the most rewarding to give to kids. But they actually do love getting things like hats, shoes, and pajamas. They especially love when they match other family members so think pajama sets for the whole family!
14. Apps and digital videos. Always. We live in a digital world and parents want to make sure they are providing their kids good options when it comes to screen time. Help make their choices easier by giving them money to pay for good ones to own. Some of our favorite apps are listed here and while some great apps are free, some require payment for advanced user options.
15. Books. Always on these, too. Real books that you hold, not electronic ones. I share some of the best books for younger children, chapter books even preschoolers will love, and others that might surprise you. You can also follow me on Goodreads to get more ideas of books we’ve read together. (As of this post, there are 125 chapter books we have read with our children on the list.)
16. Education money. Again, not exciting for the gift giver but college funds matter. My parents established a Monetta Education account for both of my boys when they were born and, so far, we’ve been really happy. But if this is just something you can’t get on board with, consider money for music lessons, sports, or anything extracurricular the child loves.
17. Art supplies. These always need to be replenished.
18. Magazine subscriptions. Kids are people, too, and like people they like getting real mail! We have been subscribed to Ranger Rick and Ranger Rick Jr. for a year and every issue is a hit. Consider Highlights For Children, Highlights High Five, National Geographic Kids, and National Geographic Little Kids.
19. Bike, bike accessories and gear. Every kid should have a bike. And a bike helmet to go with it. If a bike isn’t in the cards, consider skateboards (super-cool again … still?) and scooters. Obviously with helmets.
20. Games, especially family ones. I shared our favorite classic games for preschoolers but since then we have become addicted to Qwirkle Board Game and Battleship Game. We are always prowl for new games, too, since family game night means a lot to us.

Best of luck this holiday season.

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