Top view of female hand making some notes in noteebok on blue background. New Year decorations and toys. Christmas time concept; blog: 14 Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Kids

With the holiday season on the horizon, you may be contemplating the kind of gifts you may want to give the children in your life. Many kids have an abundance of toys, so many parents and family members find themselves looking for alternatives. If you’re trying to lay off technology-based gifts, the American Academy of Pediatrician has a good guide on non-tech gifts, which does include some toys. To cut down on toys altogether, we have come up with a list of non-toy gift ideas for kids that are sure to be big hits this holiday season.

1. Passes to Museums, Zoos, or Aquariums

One of the best things you can give to a child already who has the essentials is an experience rather than a material possession. That’s why passes or memberships to places like children’s museums, zoos, aquariums, or county parks are great non-toy gift ideas for kids. It’s also a good suggestion for grandparents looking for the perfect gift for the kid who has everything. Plus, it’s an incentive to have fun and enriching outings together.

2. Books or Magazine Subscriptions

Kids always need reading material. Add to their personal libraries by giving them books they’ll be excited about reading. Boxed sets and special illustrated editions of classics make impressive gifts, but any book that looks like a good read will do the trick. Also consider a yearly subscription to a kid-friendly magazine like Highlights, National Geographic Kids or Zoobooks. That way kids will have new material to look forward to every month.

3. Classes or Lessons

Kids may get excited about taking music lessons, athletic classes, or learning a new skill. Cooking lessons can refine motor skills, improve math and reading skills, and encourage kids to learn about nutrition. If professional classes are not in the budget, you can look for a fun cookbook or online recipe and set up a home cooking class.

4. Arts and Crafts Supplies

If your child has a creative streak, or you want to inspire one in them, then arts and craft supplies are great non-toy gift ideas for kids. It can be as simple as a fresh pad of paper and new crayons or colored pencils. But avid crafters may like sewing projects, tie-dye, jewelry making, or paper-mâché.

5. Stationery

Find a nice stationery set of cards and envelopes for kids to use. Giving them special supplies will get them excited and encourage them to actually handwrite notes (think thank-you notes after birthdays and holidays). There are a lot of cute kid-friendly options at many stores as well as online. If you want to go the extra mile, personalized or monogrammed options are available at affordable prices online.

6. Activity and Outing Coupons

Everyone gets busy with day to day life, and it can be hard to carve out one-on-one time with each child on a regular basis. Use the holidays as an opportunity to renew your commitment to doing special things with kids. Make coupons they can exchange for doing certain activities or going on fun outings. You can also consider giving gift cards for restaurants so they can look forward to a special meal with you.

7. Special Clothing Items

We can all remember getting boring clothes like socks and underwear as gifts, but clothes can still make good gifts. While you can definitely get them things they need, also consider getting them something they’ve had their eye on. Fun but non-essential shoes, jackets, hats, or other accessories are good options. As you’re out and about before the holiday or birthday, pay attention to the things they gravitate towards and make a list of options.

8. Activity Books and Games

Look for activity books or packs that will both entertain and enrich. Word games, puzzles, flashcards, trivia, tongue twisters, mad libs, and mazes are all activities that will be fun for kids but also help them gain knowledge and develop thinking skills.

9. Photo Album or Scrapbook

Most children love looking back at old pictures of themselves or seeing pictures of you when you were younger. Making an album or scrapbook of special memories can provide an opportunity to share stories and remember the good times. Or you can choose to honor someone’s memory or preserve family history with albums. You can also opt to get together the supplies and photos to make the album but wait to put it together with your child.

10. Something Special for Their Room

If your child has been developing an eye for interior decoration (or just has their eye on a certain something), consider gifting them something special for their room or other space they use frequently. Things kids might like include fun artwork, wall decals, chalkboards, wall grids, lamps, fun rugs, bean bag chairs, and new bedding.

11. Music

Just like adults, kids love music. So make sure they have a way to listen to their favorites and discover more. Because kids mostly get their music digitally, you might consider gifting them subscriptions to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, or Amazon. Older audiophiles might also appreciate thrifting for vinyl, which is still enjoying a resurgence.

12. Practical or “Grown Up” Items

Sometimes kids get a thrill out of getting gifts that adults might find pretty mundane. Think watches, wallets, jewelry boxes, piggy banks, umbrellas, etc. You can also find smaller versions of real tools and gardening supplies. Because they’re the real deal and kids can get practical use out of them, we won’t count these as toys.

13. Their Own Artwork in a Frame

Take a drawing, painting, or another piece of art your child is especially proud of and either frame it yourself or have it professionally framed. Kids will love seeing their own work up in the house, displayed like professionally made art and treasured photos. Another way to accomplish this while allowing for future artwork to be displayed is a type of frame called an art cabinet. This display makes it easy to rotate art and gives every new masterpiece a chance to shine.

14. Donations to Causes They Care About

This might be more appropriate for older kids, but it’s an opportunity to teach kids about giving to good causes and how receiving gifts is not the only focus of the holiday season. Not only will this help them to count their own blessings, but teach them how to find joy in caring for others. They might take the lesson to heart more if you can find a cause they actually care about. Kids may connect with nonprofits that focus on animals, the environment, or less fortunate children. 

Make an Appointment

HealthPark Pediatrics is committed to providing your family with the highest quality pediatric care. We offer compassionate, comprehensive, evidence-based care that includes attention to medical, environmental, psychological, social, and emotional health. If you want to talk to one of our doctors about your child, give us a call at (919) 896-7066 or request an appointment online.