When I wrote about giving away most of my kids’ toys before Christmas, I bet I made a lot of people wonder if I would be giving them replacement toys for Christmas.
Here’s the thing – I never want to get back into that spot where I felt like I needed to throw away all their toys again!
We still plan on giving them Christmas presents….with a little twist.
WHAT CAN YOU GIVE INSTEAD OF TOYS?
There are so many options for gifts to give that aren’t toys! Once I sat down and started thinking about it, I came up with 30 non-toy gift ideas for kids very quickly.
Anything we get them now must either be educational, practical, or provide an experience. Those are the types of gifts my husband and I buy one another anyway; why not the kids, too?
In fact, this type of more unconventional Christmas presents might make it even easier to come up with ideas for your kids this year!
For example: This holiday season, instead of giving a Disney stuffed toy, maybe go see Disney On Ice.
Or instead of getting a dragon figurine, you could buy a dragon LEGO set they have to put together.
Some may be toy-like, but they won’t just be toys for the sake of being toys. They will have a purpose.
40 NON-TOY CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR KIDS
Instead of buying toys to refill our playroom, here are some ideas of Christmas presents that are not toys we’re considering.
I thought you’d like to see the list also in case you want to do the same thing for your kids!
1. Tickets to a local play
Whether you are going to see a live Christmas performance or something that is more specific to their interests, watching a live play is a mesmerizing experience! You might even have a local children’s theater where you can watch a performance done entirely by kids.
Not sure what’s available in your area? Just Google something like “tickets to an event near me” or “local live theaters near _____ (city)”
This is SO cute and practical! Perfect for older kids. Click here for the tutorial >>
Kids LOVE using their imaginations so why not get them something that stimulates their creativity?!
I never realized before I researched them that many of these subscription boxes could be purely educational! You can browse the entire collection here or take a look at some of the amazing options I found below:
- Baking Club Subscription Box
- Little Learner’s Busy Box
- Book Club Subscription Box
- Loop Lab Stem Activities for Kids (Science Experiments!)
- Groovy Lab in a Box (everything you need to learn about
I’m a HUGE promoter of books! Reading opens up new worlds for kids in so many different ways, and it’s fun!
5. Kids Bible
Kids love to model their parents and explore on their own. Giving them their own (kids version) Bible lets them do both!
6. Sports Balls
This is something we don’t often think to get kids but they could use them in every size as they get older!
Why not make cute rainboots a Christmas gift? Here’s an amazing selection of rainboots on Amazon >>
If you have kids that love jewelry, get them a piece of their own this year. It will make their day!
I’m thinking of getting my daughter this personalized necklace for Christmas. It’s so pretty.
9. Gifts to Help Them Get Better at Art
While arts & crafts sort of go into the toys category, I don’t consider them true toys because they have another purpose. My daughters are very artistically inclined, so we buy them gifts each year to help them hone their crafts.
My oldest is very good at drawing and my youngest loves being creative in general.
My kids just love their Echo Dot. We have Amazon Music, so they can play their favorite playlists and also do things like set an alarm.
It’s not an expensive piece of technology, but something they will use every day.
I’m just in LOVE with this plum colored Echo Dot!
Getting your child a mini size couch or recliner that folds out to a mat is a hit in the making. It’s practical because they can use it when reading in their rooms or watching TV with the family. But it’s fun because it changes shape and use (they can even nap on it!)!
Whether it’s a guitar, keyboard, ukelele or some other instrument, giving your child the gift of music is mind-expanding!
13. Guitar lessons
Take it a step further and give your child music lessons so they can play their new instrument! Learning to read and play music is learning another language and helps with brain development.
14. Hair bows or hair clips
Do you have a child who loves playing with hair or having their hair styled? Give them a bunch of different colored bows or hair clips and watch the fun begin!
I did this for years! I would give my kids a new movie that they hadn’t seen before. We found some wonderful favorites that we watch over and over again (still!) this way!
Whether you give mp3, CDs or even a streaming subscription, children are drawn to music. Embrace it!
Does your child need a new backpack? A personalized backpack makes a great Christmas present that’s not a toy! Plus, it’s much harder to lose a personalized backpack!
Pick out some sheets or a new blanket or bedspread with your kids favorite colors or characters on them for a favorite non-toy gift idea.
Have you seen a child get a new lunchbox recently? Isn’t it insane how quickly kids lose their lunchboxes or they develop holes or the zipper stops working? Use this opportunity to get give your child a new lunchbox!
Boys and girls, alike, enjoy fun notecards – you can get special ones they can send to their friends (yay for practicing reading and writing skills!) or pick up upcoming birthday party invites. There are tons of possibilities with this one.
This likely appeals to girls more often than boys, but it’s a very practical (and fun) way to keep play jewelry off the floor or keep real jewelry safe.
22. Basketball goal
You can get a stand up plastic goal that’s great for toddlers or go for the over-the-door rim and let preteens and teens go wild shooting hoops. It’s a great way to help kids work through emotions, develop skills and get some exercise!
23. A watch
My kids don’t wear watches, but they are each getting one this year! We are getting to the point where they constantly ask what time it is or need to do something at a certain time, so they are getting watches to help them keep track of time. 😊
My son is begging for this step tracking watch. I think it’s too cute that he wants this so I think this is the gift we’re most likely to get this year.
24. Special occasion outfit (Easter, Christmas, Family Disney shirt)
Have a family trip (to somewhere huge like Disney) coming up? Make special family t-shirts and give them out as holiday gifts this year. Or purchase a special occasion outfit for Idea #1 or another special occasion and give it to them.
25. Piggy bank + special coins (like silver dollars or $1 coins)
Start teaching kids the necessary (and often overlooked) skill of saving money by giving them a piggy bank. Let them start off with saving some special coins that they don’t see every day. Did you know you can get $2 bills at the bank.
26. Movie Tickets
Is there a movie your family has been wanting to see? Get movie tickets and go see that movie on the big screen while you munch on some popcorn! We don’t do it often at all, but my kids LOVE going to the movies!
27. Journal/Diary (there’s even a Dude Diary for boys!)
I love this because having a journal or a diary is a great way to work on reading and writing skills at the same time as working on processing emotions and storytelling. There are so many options available, so you are can be sure you find one they love.
Add in some STEM learning with fun science experiments! With kits covering so many different types of experiments, you can find one that interests your child.
How about some cute Christmas or holiday PJs? Or maybe your child’s favorite character? This is a simple, fun gift that kids go gaga for!
30. Magazine subscription
We have done this for years, and I’m already searching for this year’s magazines. My kids love getting a piece of mail with their name on it, and I love that they get something once a month that keeps them entertained, reading, and learning! Ideas of magazines that we have loved include National Geographic Kids, Ask, Highlights, Ranger Rick.
31. Fun Socks
I love this one! Kids love to express themselves and fun socks are a great way to do that!
Who doesn’t like having something with their own name on it? Encourage your kids to write notes to people on their very own personalized stationary!
33. Membership to a favorite location (zoo, museum, children’s museum, etc)
Is there somewhere you go on a regular basis that you could buy a membership for? We get our kids memberships to the museum and go check out the new exhibits when they come out. It’s a terrific activity for bad weather or cold days and creates fun memories!
BONUS>> Many of the museums participate in a sharing membership where belonging to one gets you free or reduced access to hundreds of other ones. We found this out when we joined our local Life and Science chapter, they have over 250 associated museums around the world we can go to for free!!
34. Art Supply Kit
Does your child love to draw or color? Get them an art supply kit and watch their creativity flourish!
35. Voucher for a one-on-one outing of their choice
This is one of my personal favorite non-toy gift ideas for kids! My kids thrive on having one-on-one time with a parent. Give them a voucher to pick an activity for a one-on-one outing with Mom or Dad (or one of each!).
36. Sleeping bag
Whether it’s for camping out at home or out in the woods, kids LOVE “camping out” and sleeping in sleeping bags.
Maybe it’s a calendar with kittens on it or a homemade calendar with family photos, just pick something that’s meaningful for your child and go with it. This non-toy Christmas gift idea can be especially beneficial for kids in the 6-9 year-old range who are starting to develop a sense of longer time periods and want to see how long it is until it’s someone’s birthday or you leave for that special vacation.
38. A Digital Camera
See the world through your kids’ eyes and watch them thrill in discovery with a camera of their own!
39. Bean Bag Chair
Such a classic! This was one of my favorite things as a kid. You can now even get one that hides your kids’ toys.
40. Something for their room
It just occurred to me that non “toy” gift ideas for kids that encourage them to get exercise are a great alternative as well! I love giving my kids things to help them stay healthy and active!
8 FITNESS BASED CHRISTMAS GIFT IDEAS FOR KIDS
Here are some things my kids have LOVED over the years that would make amazing “fitness-based gifts”:
Encourage your toddlers to get outside and get fresh air while also teaching them pedaling and balance skills to help them learn to ride a bike!
Maybe your kids prefer to stand up rather than sit down…get them a scooter and watch them hit the road!
It’s party time! Bring their friends over and watch them play for hours with this super fun rope swing.
4. Jump Rope
Give them a jump rope then YouTube some tricks they can practice and learn how to do. Then just watch the exercise happen!
5. Hula Hoop (this one breaks down for travel!)
I don’t think it gets any more “classic” than a hula hoop, and for good reason. It’s super fun for kids and adults too! Make it a contest to see who can hula longer.
6. Rollerblades (adjustable like this one, or not)
A great form of exercise, not to mention tons of fun!
Tennis is a terrific exercise, and a fun + cheap activity that friends can enjoy together or the entire family can do as a group.
8. Plasma Car
When my kids were toddlers and slightly older, they used this toy every. day. I am not kidding! When they were really small, we kept this in an enclosed space (fenced porch or inside the garage. Then they got to the point where they would do this up and down the driveway and down the sidewalk. Our Plasma Car provided HOURS of fun on a regular basis!
P.S. These are all eco-friendly!! They are kids powered, not battery powered.
There you go! I hope this list of 48 fun and practical non-toy Christmas gift ideas gives you some ideas for great non-traditional Chrismas presents for kids this year!
Do you have any ideas for Christmas presents that are NOT toys to add to this list?
How Many Toys Should a Child Have?
I’ve been thinking about this for a while. I find that once we decluttered many of the toys in our home and stopped buying so many toys as gifts, my kids just got used to having fewer toys. I can honestly say that they have fewer than 10 toys each.
Most of those toys are interest-based. Meaning, my oldest has more electronics. My youngest daughter has more craft items. And my son basically has a lot of Nerf guns and drone type toys.
We now keep almost all of our toys (which is not a huge stash) in bins in the playroom and the rest are in each child’s room. Whenever we feel like their rooms or the playroom are getting cluttered, we donate a few toys.
A smaller number of toys is infinitely easier to maintain than a huge bin of toys with little pieces everywhere. In general, toys with little pieces cause me the most grief, so we tend to limit that type of toy.
My daughter has Legos that we keep in a single container, and my son has lots of Nerf darts that we also keep all together in his room. If you can limit the total number of toys AND limit the toys that have tons of pieces, I find that you’ll have an overall sense of control on your toy situation.
I hope this helps!