10 Non-Toy Gifts & Ideas for Kids

December 23, 2014

Life is an adventure for little ones! My boys have fun playing and learning with everything around them, from sticks and rocks to kitchen gadgets. Having few actual toys means their imaginations have room to work instead of the toy doing the work for them. It’s especially challenging when special days like birthdays and holidays come around we want to give gifts to our children in addition to the ones they receive from friends and family. We take this opportunity to gather previously loved toys that have been accumulated and donate them to less fortunate children. We also remind our friends and family of some non-toy gifts that our little ones will enjoy and appreciate. The sky is the limit! Here are some ideas to get started ~

  1. Lessons and Classes. This is a great way to encourage children in their interests and let them know that you pay attention to them and what they enjoy. Some ideas include dance, karate, soccer, gymnastics, music, art and swim.
  2. Memberships. Children’s museums, aquariums, animal sanctuaries, amusement parks and observatories make wonderful family gifts! Many young families want to enjoy outings, but affording them can be a challenge. The gift of a yearly membership would be very appreciated!
  3. Puzzles. I’ve always been surprised at how early little ones understand puzzles and really enjoy them. It’s a good practice to have individual quiet times during the day, and having a puzzle to sit and work on by themselves helps brain development and problem solving skills.
  4. Photo Album.  Children love looking at pictures of family members and of themselves doing things or at special places. Create a photo book of all the special people and special things the child has done.
  5. Bird Feeder and Seed. Having a bird feeder outside a window is very entertaining for kids to watch and helps get them interested in wildlife. You can also encourage them to recognize bird species and develop a life long interest! Kids can make their own Pinecone Bird Feeders here.
  6. Music Instruments. Music is a natural part of life for little ones. They clap their hands and tap their feet to the rhythm of nursery rhymes and enjoy the sound of their parents singing to them — even if mom and dad can’t quite carry a tune. Studies have proven that allowing children to create sounds themselves have improved social and emotional skills.
  7. Rain Boots. A special pair of rain boots is super exciting for children. They love jumping in puddles!
  8. Donations. Children understand more than we think they do. Explaining that some people don’t have food to eat, a nice place to sleep or toys to play with teaches them empathy. There are many places that take charitable donations or help those in need. World Vision gives the opportunity to sponsor a child and help fight world hunger. We received a Moon Jar which inspires kids to save, spend and share! When the “share” compartment fills up, our little one takes the money and chooses something to buy for a friend or donate to someone less fortunate.
  9. Subscriptions. Kids love getting things in the mail. Encourage their reading by getting them a magazine subscription for something that are interested in or check out Green Kids Crafts hands-on and eco-friendly Discovery Boxes, Creativity Kits, and Science Kits.
  10. Calendar. Many children like to know what day it is, what’s going on and how many days until (fill in the blank). Why not get them their own calendar to write down family events, celebrations, play dates and more!

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