My kids have hit the age where they are regularly getting invited to birthday parties. And birthday parties mean gifts. But these days, it feels as if kids have way too much stuff in general. I don’t feel right about adding to the pile of stuff that another parent has to deal with. So I got to brainstorming and I came up with 52 gift ideas for kids that aren’t just toys. These are gifts of experiences or education or creativity. And I’m totally gonna use some of these ideas for my own kids too. No more rushing to the store to purchase whatever toy I can find. It’s time for thoughtful gifts with imagination and purpose.
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I’ve included loads of links for inspiration and even DIY instructions! Most of these ideas are for kids 10 and under. Not every idea will be appropriate for every age, but I think there are several viable options for everyone!
Gift Ideas for Kids
Avoid scrambling at the last minute for gift by running to the nearest toy store and just grabbing whatever. With a little bit of planning you can give a really thoughtful gift that won’t just end up on the heap of toys that never get played with. Creating memories is a much more lasting way of showing your love. 🙂
Here’s a printable version of this list to keep on hand year after year!
Gifts of Experiences
The ultimate zero-clutter-added gift. I’m a big fan of my kids having more memories than stuff. Get creative with the wrapping so it’s still fun for the kiddo to discover what their gift is.
1. Concert Tickets – I took my son to see Raffi last year and it was so much fun for both of us!
2. Museum Passes – A perfect winter activity. We like going to the Natural History Museum.
3. Movie Tickets – Plus popcorn and M&M’s, obviously.
4. Pool Pass – We were gifted some tickets for ‘parent & tot’ time at the pool. Great idea!
5. Family Bowling – Lovely footwear & fried food. Win.
6. Cooking Class – Look into the availability of children’s cooking classes in your area.
7. Amusement Park Tickets – They’ll love you forever.
8. Painting/Art Class
9. Clay Cafe Outing – Spend an afternoon creating something together.
10. Tea Party – Dress up and invite some friends!
11. Dinner Date – Precious one-on-one time will always be remembered.
12. Fort Building Day – Have some fun trashing the house!
Gifts of Creativity
Some of these ideas will require a little effort to assemble, but will be well worth it! Plus it’ll be a fun activity to do with them after the party is over and the sugar rush has worn off.
13. Cookie Mix in a Jar – Makes it super easy to enjoy baking together!
14. Mug Decorating Kit with hot chocolate mix – Try this idea using nail polish!
15. Birdseed Ornament Kit – Then you can sit together to watch the birds feast!
16. Costume Pieces – Enjoy watching the kid’s imaginations flourish! It doesn’t have to be fancy either, an assortment of hats and scarves or coats from the thrift store would do the trick! Then you can put on a play together!
17. Assemble a Flower Pot Decorating Kit – include seeds & dirt
18. Assemble a Simple Sewing Project – Perhaps a pillow or pyjamas or stuffie
19. DIY a Case for Art Supplies – Keep all art supplies in one handy location for the traveling artist.
20. Craft Kits – Decorate a race car or a train
21. Build a Birdhouse – They’ll be so excited to see little birdies come to the house they built themselves!
22. Socks – Kids always need socks so find some fun ones! (If you happen to need fun socks for grown ups try here, I guarantee you’ll love the choices!)
23. Personalized Bath or Beach Towel
24. Calendar – Perfect for January birthdays (I’m a January birthday..I still love getting calendars!)
25. Sew up a Monster Laundry Bag
26. Toy Storage – Like colourful bins/baskets or chests
27. Alarm Clock for the Star Wars or Lego fan
28. Room Decor – Perhaps a custom embroidered hoop or silhouette hoop by yours truly?! 😉 (Browse the galleries for ideas!)
29. Travel Games – Like Scavenger Hunt, Travel Bingo, or Guess Who. These are a ‘useful’ gift option mainly because they will help maintain your sanity during car trips.
30. Pipsticks – Everybody loves stickers!
31. Superpower Academy – A STEM mission and social-emotional health box.
32. Kiwicrate – Educational and fun. My son loves getting his boxes! There are different box options based on the child’s age and interests.
Bonus: Think Outside – Full of high quality outdoor gear and family activities that promote the outdoors.
33. Educational App – Something to keep them distracted when you need them to be. My kids love playing Moose Math.
34. Reading Pillow – Pick some fun fabric and add a pouch to stash their book and snack.
35. Piggy Bank with a few coins – Start teaching them the value of saving.
36. Apron with cooking utensils – Like a mini rolling pin or whisk.
37. Tool Belt – And you could add tools like a tape measure and small screwdriver. Then you can give them ‘projects’ to fix around the house!
38. Rock Tumbler – I’ll be honest, I put this in the list because I know my son would loooove it and I don’t want to forget about it for his birthday next year!
39. Chess or Checkers – I’ve never really gotten the hang of chess, but I hear it’s good for the brain!
40. Ugears – For an older child. Super cool models to build.
41. Letter Magnets in a Metal Tin – Helps little ones to learn sight words
Just For Fun Gifts
42. Temporary Tattoos – With lots of glitter!
43. A Movie or iTunes Gift Card
44. Put Me In The Story – I received a personalized book like this as a child, I still have it and it’s still precious to me!
45. Homemade play dough using essential oils– Include some cookie cutters and buttons to ramp up the creativity!
(If your kids like getting messy with DIY ‘goop’, check out my 3 ingredient lemon pie silly putty recipe!)
46. Card Games – Like crazy eights and go fish. Card games are an easy way to play with your kids without having to sit on the floor!
Gifts to Encourage Outdoor Play
These days kids need all the encouragement they can get to play outside and be little explorers!
47. Binoculars – My kids use their binoculars mainly for looking up my nose, but the intention is good!
48. Skipping Rope – A timeless outdoor activity
49. Hanging Ladders & Ropes – Just don’t watch them climb to spare yourself a heart attack.
50. Magnifying Glass – For spying on bugs and other creepy crawly things that kids love.
51. Tent – Plan a night out camping in the back yard!
52. Fishing Poles – Nothing says ‘outdoorsey’ like learning how to fish.
Even as I was writing this list other ideas kept popping in my head! But I’d love to hear from you, what are some non-toy gift ideas for kids you’ve tried?