Are you looking for a non-toy gift guide for kids that already have enough toys? If the kids you know are anything like the kids I know, they probably already have a lot of stuff. Is it just me, or do toys multiply? We regularly go through and thin out the heard, but it seems like there is still never a shortage of baby doll accessories, toy food, and plastic legos to be stepped on.
I put a lot of thought into the toys I purchase for my kids. My criteria for toy buying are that toys must be…
- something that will enhance their development
- something that I know will be well loved over a long period of time
- something that will last over a long period of time
- something that is not similar to anything they already own
- something that can be stored somewhere other than the middle of the floor of their bedroom (i.e. nothing LARGE)
- something that’s within my budget
I have to say that when you’re using that kind of criteria before purchasing a toy, you end up running out of toy options. Eventually they have enough toys and your only other options are things that will cost an arm and a leg, take up a lot of space, or be similar to what they already own!
And you know what, kids just don’t need that many toys.
In fact, I have observed that my kids actually engage in more imaginative play when they have less toys available to them.
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If you’re looking for Christmas gift ideas that aren’t toys, what do you do?
Check out the non-toy gift guide for kids who already have more than enough toys below!
1.Non-Toy Gifts: Experiences
What is your child interested in? Purchase horseback riding lessons or enroll them in karate or ballet. Purchase something that goes along with that activity and have it wrapped up along with a card that explains the gift.
I actually love the idea of skipping gift giving all together and taking a long family vacation to make memories instead, but so far there’s never been a year where that fit in our budget. Even if you have a small budget you can still plan a day trip to a local activity that you wouldn’t splurge on at any other time of year. I guarantee that your children will treasure those memories longer than they’ll remember the hottest toy on the market right now.
Memberships are the gift that just keep on giving! Annual memberships to places like your local zoo or aquarium are usually an amazing bargain, and they provide year round learning opportunities.
Membership ideas to consider are:
- Children’s Museum
- Art Museum
- Science Museum
- Trampoline Parks
- Amusement Parks
- Other Local Attractions
2. Non Toy Gifts: Interest Themed Bundles
Find a case or backpack of some sort and fill it with all the things needed for adventuring. Ideas include:
- Walkie talkies
- Magnifying glass
- Note pad
Nature Exploration Pack
Fully equip the kids in your life to explore nature. Ideas to include would be:
- Rain boots
- Rain jacket
- Magnifying glass
- Container for collecting/examining bugs and other treasures
- A designated nature box to store treasures that come home with the little explorers
- A nature journal and colored pencils to draw or sketch what they find
- Nature guide books like Fun with Nature and More Fun with Nature or Nature Anatomy by Julia Rothman
Arts and Crafts Kit
Encourage your child’s creativity by putting together an ultimate arts and crafts kit. Include things like glitter and puff paints at your own risk. Ideas of things to include are:
- Easel (you could probably even find a good one at your local children’s consignment shop, goodwill, yard sale, or Facebook Marketplace)
- Art apron or smock
- Giant paper roll
- Construction paper
- Pencils and erasers
- Colored pencils
- Oil pastels
- Paints like these or these (I can vouch for washability!)
- Paint brushes & other painting utensils
- Glue or glue sticks
- Popsicle sticks
- Sequins, puff balls, etc.
Really the sky is the limit. You could even get some great books about drawing and art for beginners to include in there. I don’t have any that I’ve personally used to recommend, but I’m sure there are amazing resources out there for that! You can also check out the Art for Kids Hub Youtube Channel for drawing tutorials.
Kitchen Themed Kit
Teaching children the way around the kitchen from an early age is so valuable! It incorporates math, life skills, creativity, and quality time all into one activity! If your kids love helping you in the kitchen, you can encourage that by getting them their own tools!
Ideas to include in this kit:
- Kitchen stander
- Kid safe kitchen knives
- Kid friendly chopping board
- Cupcake sleeves
- Colorful mixing bowl and measuring utensils
- Kid friendly cookbook
*Disclaimer: Obviously, it’s always important to supervise children in the kitchen. Please don’t let the words “kid safe” on the knives make you think that they don’t require adequate supervision and guidance.*
3. Non-Toy Gifts: Sensory Play
Sensory play is so good for kids! It can be messy, though, so be careful where you set up sensory play stations!
If you want to get fancy you can create a whole sensory play system with various containers and buckets of things like dried rice, beans, quinoa, or pasta. Some of our other favorite sensory play products are:
- Play-Dough – my daughter LOVES kits like these
- Slime (We have used some that we were gifted, but I can’t find the brand online. Because of that I’m hesitant to recommend a specific brand, since slime is definitely the kind of thing that can be sticky and damaging to furniture/carpet/etc depending on the consistency. Check on Amazon and read the reviews before purchasing).
- Kinetic Sand
- Water Beads (These are the coolest things but I’m not gonna lie – they make a MESS. They definitely need to be played with outside)
4. Non-Toy Gifts: Encourage Active Play
- Roller skates
- Jump rope
- Hula hoop
- Trampoline (with a net and appropriate supervision of course)
*Be sure to include helmets and knee pads/elbow pads with rolling toys!*
5. Non-Toy Gifts: Games
Games are so good for development. They teach skills like counting, taking turns, being a gracious loser (and winner), using strategy, etc. I also love that they provide an opportunity for quality time and connection. My kids are still young so the games listed are some of our favorites right now. If your kids are older, all it takes is a quick Amazon search or run through Target to see that the possibilities are endless for age appropriate games.
Some other games we haven’t actually played, but I would love to try…
6. Non-Toy Gifts: Books
Books may not be a “wow” gift, but they’re excellent for development and they’re the kind of gift that can be treasured for years. Some of our favorites are:
- The Usborne Children’s Encyclopedia
- Look Inside Your Body by Usborne Books
- Bob Books
- Julia Rothman Anatomy Collection
- Nature Books by Dianna Hutts Aston: A Butterfly is Patient, A Rock is Lively, A Seed is Sleepy, An Egg is Quiet, A Beetle is Shy, and A Nest is Noisy.
- Kaplan Early Learning Let’s Read and Find Out Science books
- Beatrix Potter Book Collections like this Treasury or Classic Gift Set
- A.A Milne Collections like this Complete Tales & Poems of Winnie-the-Pooh
- A Children’s Garden of Verses
7. Non-Toy Gifts: Encourage Imaginative Play
Dress Up Clothes
Dress up clothes are a great way to encourage imaginative play. Some of our favorite costumes in our dress up bin include:
Card Board Boxes
Okay so maybe wrapping up empty card board boxes to give to your kid at Christmas time isn’t such a good idea… but I DO think that saving your Amazon boxes from Christmas orders and pulling them out for your kids to play with on a rainy day is a great idea. There’s nothing that encourages creative, imaginative play quite as well as a cardboard box. You may have to get your kids started. Encourage them to pull out crayons, paint, or markers. Pull out toy cars or Lego people. Provide gray, brown, and green felt that they can use to create grass, roads, and dirt for a box village. Once you’ve gotten their wheels turning, set them loose and see where their imagination takes them!
Giving great gifts at Christmas time doesn’t necessarily mean buying toys. In fact, I firmly believe that non-toy gifts can be far more enriching and provide more memory making opportunities than buying the latest and greatest toy.
If you’ve found these non-toy gift ideas for kids to be helpful, do me a favor and share it! Don’t forget to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest, and sign up for my mailing list so you don’t miss out on news and freebies!